It was a superb weekend for both the First-Team and the B Team against Reading with The Bees running out 10-1 winners on aggregate over the two games.
On Saturday, a single Lasse Vibe goal in front of 2,866 travelling fans at The Madjeski Stadium secured a fifth win in six league games and moved Dean Smith’s side up to ninth in the Sky Bet Championship. The Dane struck 14 minutes from time to settle matters as The Bees continue to lurk just outside the Play-Off spots.
Then on Sunday, a strong B Team ran riot over their counterparts from Berkshire with Emiliano Marcondes grabbing his first goals in English football in the process. The Dane scored twice, as did Lewis Macleod and Tom Field, with Alan Judge, Zain Westbrooke, and Reece Cole, the others on target.
There was one bit of transfer news this past week with young left-back Ilias Chatzitheodoridis going on loan to Sky Bet League Two side Cheltenham Town until the end of the season.
Sky Bet Championship news
January continues to be a slow-burner transfer wise in the second tier with very few deals concluded over the past seven days. The only club bucking this trend are Norwich City who completed the loan signing of Marcus Edwards from Tottenham Hotspur last Monday before saying goodbye to Cameron Jerome, Russell Martin, and Steven Naismith. The other major moves this week saw former Bees midfielder Adam Forshaw join Leeds United from Middlesbrough, Ricky Holmes swap Charlton Athletic for Sheffield United, and Sheffield Wednesday sign Dutch midfielder Joey Pelupessy from Heracles Almelo.
On the pitch, runaway leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers suffered a shock 2-0 defeat at home to Nottingham Forest on Saturday but their nearest challengers, Derby County and Cardiff City, were unable to capitalise as they both played out goalless draws against Bristol City and Sheffield Wednesday respectively. Aston Villa’s fourth straight win, which included a brace for Scott Hogan, means they are now just three points off second. Wins for Sheffield United, Middlesbrough, Fulham, and The Bees mean that just ten points now separates County in second and Leeds United in tenth.
At the other end of the table, Burton Albion’s 6-0 drubbing at Fulham, coupled with Sunderland’s win at home to Hull City, saw Nigel Clough’s side sink to the bottom of the table. That win over The Tigers wasn’t enough for Sunderland to escape the bottom three but they did leapfrog Birmingham City in the process and are now only in the relegation zone on goal difference. Bolton Wanderers and Barnsley are also deep in trouble with the bottom six covered by just three points.
World Football news
The week started on a sombre note with the death of former England captain and World Cup winner Jimmy Armfield. Armfield, who played a club record 627 times for Blackpool, earned 43 caps for the Three Lions and was part of England's 1966 World Cup winning squad. He went on to manage Bolton and Leeds in a career that also saw him work with the Football Association and BBC Radio.
Four Premier League and EFL managers have lost their jobs over the last seven days with Phil Brown (Southend United), Robbie Neilson (MK Dons), Marco Silva (Watford), and Pep Clotet (Oxford United) all departing.
The major pieces of European transfer news this week have centred around Theo Walcott’s £20 million move from Arsenal to Everton and Leon Goretzka’s pre-contract agreement to move from Schalke to Bayern Munich in the summer which has infuriated those connected with The Royal Blues.
In Spain, Cristiano Ronaldo caused an internet storm last night by using a doctor’s phone to check on his facial injury sustained after a clash with Deportivo's Fabian Schar. The Portuguese forward left the pitch bleeding heavily after scoring his second in the 7-1 win with many fans ridiculing Ronaldo for his on-pitch vanity.