Tangerine Dreaming – Championship Best Eleven (So far)

As the Championship season reaches it’s halfway stage, TD takes a quick look over the season so far to select a team of players that have impressed with their performances against Blackpool.

Blackpool players have been excluded and only players that TD witnessed playing against Blackpool are included. Given that TD has been close to being a part time fan in the last month or so then some good players may have missed out. Missing the home games against Watford and Birmingham may have taken away two contenders for the team. Watford’s Scott Loach and Birmingham’s Chris Burke both had strong games by all acounts. However, they don’t appear here for the reasons stated previously.

This is entirely subjective, without foundation in fact or deeper analysis, just the performance that was witnessed by TD. No players are in here due to reputation or achievement in other games. If that had been the case then TD’s favourite Championship player, Adam Lallana would have made the side comfortably. So without any further wiffle and waffle, here’s the side of the season so far.

The Best Eleven

1. Goalkeeper – David Marshall (Cardiff City)

A strong imposing ‘keeper and TD can’t add much more than that. He’s well known and is more than capable of playing at a higher level.

2. Right Back – Kieran Trippier (Burnley on loan from Manchester City)

A willing and energetic full back who will probably never make the grade at his parent club due to their ability to recruit world class players, but would be a decent acquisition for any club from the lower half of the Premier League down to the top rungs of the Championship.

3. Right Centre Back – Danny Collins (Ipswich Town on loan from Stoke City)

A basic defender, but you know what you’re getting from him. Decent pedigree and at the time of his game at Bloomfield Road, his first for Ipswich, he looked like he could bind a very weak Ipswich back line.

4. Left Centre Back – Jason Shackell (Derby County)

Similar to above, Shackell is a solid defender who does the basics well. At Bloomfield Road earlier this season he was the experience alongside the young Mark O’Brien helping to shut out Blackpool.

5. Left Back – Andrew Taylor (Cardiff City)

Not many left backs have caught the eye of TD, but Taylor looked tidy and willing to push on when space appeared in front of him.

6. Central Midfielder – Grant McCann (Peterborough United)

Sat in front of the Peterborough defence and looked very assured on the ball and disciplined off it.

7. Right Side Midfielder – Don Cowie (Cardiff City)

Excellent on the ball, can pick a pass and deliver a ball in to the box. As with his goalkeeping colleague (Marshall), really should be playing in the Premier League.

8. Left Side Midfielder – Craig Bryson (Derby County)

Energy personified and tactically disciplined. Functional rather than spectacular. He was at the heart of Derby’s game plan to stifle and frustrate Blackpool and chipped in with the winning goal too.

9. Central Striker – Rickie Lambert ( Southampton)

An excellent target man who is powerful, aggressive and strikes the ball with excellent technique as well as rising to score with powerful headers.

10. Right Forward – Marvin Emnes ( Middlesbrough)

Very lively if a little easy to read at times (let’s ball come on to him before rolling off the defender), very hard to handle when he is running either on or off the ball. Blackpool’s high defensive line was teetering on the brink of collapse on many an occasion he was involved in the attacking play.

11. Left Forward – Robbie Brady (Hull City on loan from Manchester United)

Tricky, pacey wide man. Double footed and hard to read his movement with the ball. He may well break through at his parent club should he get the chance (next season at the earliest), should he not, then he’d be in demand from a multitude of clubs. Questions currently centre on where he will spend the second half of the season.

Moving On

Some genuine quality in that side and talent that can play at a higher level and also three loan players, showing how important those players are to Championship sides. A lot is made of the gulf in class between Premier League and Championship, but it really isn’t that wide at all and there’s potentially a lot of overlap between the top Championship sides and lower Premier League side.

How many of these players will make the end of season side remains to be seen, with twenty three games to go it’s all to play for.