We fought on three fronts in January as the campaign continued at a ferocious pace. It was also the month that saw Covid-19 bite with three games postponed, adding even more to the compacted fixture list we were facing heading into the second half of the campaign.
Spurs too strong in Carabao Cup Semi
Our EFL Cup journey came to an end at the penultimate hurdle as Tottenham Hotspur ran out 2-0 winners in January’s Last Four tie. The game was nowhere near as comfortable as the score-line suggested with Ivan Toney seeing an equaliser disallowed by VAR for the most marginal of offsides before Josh Dasilva was sent off late on. Despite the defeat, the run, which included four Premier League scalps, had certainly captured the imagination.
A disrupted January programme
There wasn’t a chance to build on the momentum of that Spurs performance as Covid-19 played havoc with our fixture programme in January. An outbreak in the Bristol City camp saw our home Sky Bet Championship game on 2 January postponed. Thomas Frank and the First Team coaching staff were then absent from our Emirates FA Cup win over Middlesbrough the following weekend due to an outbreak at Jersey Road. Those positives subsequently saw our re-arranged game against The Robins and our visit to Reading both postponed, leaving us without a league game for three weeks.
January’s ins and outs
It was a busy month in the transfer market for The Bees. Saïd Benrahma’s departure and Saman Ghoddos arrivals both became permanent after initial loans while Halil Dervişoğlu, Ellery Balcombe, Patrik Gunnarsson, and Dom Thompson all agreed to spend the remainder of the season away from TW8. There was also a move for West Ham United’s experienced defender Winston Reid as cover for Pontus Jansson who underwent ankle surgery during the month.
The marathon continues
The re-arrangement of those three games during January meant The Bees now faced seven consecutive weeks of midweek fixtures through to March. Saman Ghoddos celebrated his permanent move with the only goal as we battled past Luton on our return to action. On a snowy Sunday four days later, we were beaten 3-1 by eventual Cup Winners Leicester City in the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round before a controversial late equaliser denied us all three points at The Liberty Stadium against Swansea City on our next outing.
Seven against Wycombe
January ended with us taking our unbeaten Sky Bet Championship run to 18 games as we thumped Wycombe Wanderers 7-2 in TW8. The Chairboys twice levelled during the first-half but once Tariqe Fosu made it 3-2 on 50 minutes their resistance was broken. Three late goals ran up the tally, including Ivan Toney’s hat-trick securing effort, as we hit seven at home for the second time in just over a year.
January Sky Bet Championship Stats
End of Month Position: 3rd