Ali Rampling picks out the teams riding high and on a low…
Newly-promoted Cadiz are playing in La Liga for the first time in 14 years but have made a flying return to life in the top flight. Having recorded their first scalp of the season when they won at European giants Real Madrid in October, the Andalusian outfit got the better of another Spanish heavyweight on Saturday with a 2-1 win over Barcelona.
Alvaro Gimenez had given Cadiz a 1-0 half-time lead, before defender Pedro Alcala deflected Jordi Alba’s cross into his own net. But Alvaro Negredo took advantage of a mix up in the Barcelona backline just after the hour mark, dispossessing Marc-Andre ter Stegen and rolling the ball into an empty net to secure a famous victory for Cadiz — their first over Barcelona in La Liga since 1991.
Norwich bounced back from a rare Championship defeat against Luton in midweek by taking all three points against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday — but they left it typically late. The Canaries had trailed through a second-half Josh Windass header, but scored two goals in the final nine minutes to secure a comeback victory.
Nineteen-year-old substitute Josh Martin stabbed home three minutes after entering the fray to draw his side level, before Max Aarons finished from close range to wrap up all three points and retain Norwich’s spot at the Championship summit. The Canaries have now collected a total of 15 points courtesy of goals they have scored in the final 10 minutes this season.
Colchester United’s Junior Tchamadeu made a little bit of U’s history on Saturday as he became the youngest ever starter in the club’s history aged 16 years and 348 days. The right-back enjoyed a debut to remember, turning in a performance that manager Steve Ball described as an “absolute credit” to Colchester who ran out 2-1 winners over Grimsby. Tommy Smith and Callum Harriott were on the scoresheet for the U’s either side of Luke Hendrie’s flicked finish to fire the Essex outfit up to ninth — just a point off the League Two play-offs.
Tchamadeu is the sixth academy player to have made his senior debut for Colchester this season, with the club forced into a number of financial cutbacks following the coronavirus pandemic. However, the teenager is not quite Colchester’s youngest ever player — that accolade belongs to Todd Miller, who made his debut from the bench at the age of 16 years and 166 days against Exeter in March 2019.
Sheffield United came within a whisker of getting their second Premier League point on the board against high-flying Leicester on Sunday — but conceded at the death to sink to their 10th league loss of the season — and their 13th defeat in their last 14 league outings.
Oli McBurnie’s first goal of the season had cancelled out Ayoze Perez’s opener, only for Jamie Vardy to race clear and fire home a 90th-minute winner. Just to rub salt into the wound, the Foxes’ forward is a boyhood Sheffield Wednesday fan. The result leaves the Blades rooted to the bottom of the table, six points from safety and without a win in their last 14 top-flight matches — a run stretching back to July 11.
Chris Wilder’s side could be set to equal the club’s all-time winless run of 19 successive games without victory — a record that has stood since 1976 — in addition to QPR’s Premier League record of 16 games without a win from the start of the season.
Bolton entered Saturday’s League Two fixture against Port Vale on the hunt for a fifth successive league victory, while the visitors were aiming to end a run of five straight defeats. Vale did bring their losing streak to an end — and in some style. Bolton enjoyed more possession and registered more shots, yet suffered a 6-3 defeat, with Vale 6-1 up after just 62 minutes.
Six separate scorers found the net for John Askey’s side, with Manny Oyeleke, Leon Legge, Tom Conlon, Cristian Montano, David Worrall and Nathan Smith all on the scoresheet in a ruthless opening hour’s display from the visitors.
It was the first time Vale had scored six times on the road since 1987, and the first time Bolton had shipped six at home since 1996. The side to inflict said defeat on the Trotters 24 years ago was Manchester United — which bodes well for Vale, as the Red Devils went on to complete a Premier League and FA Cup double that season.
The Black Cats are currently on their third attempt at navigating their way out of the third tier — and now they’re on their third manager this season after Lee Johnson replaced Phil Parkinson on Saturday.
Life at the Stadium of Light can be chaotic at the best of times, so the visit of an out-of-form Wigan seemed like the perfect way to ease the new boss into the Sunderland hot seat. Rock-bottom Latics were without a win in 13 in all competitions — a run stretching back to October 3 — and had been dumped out of the FA Cup by non-League Chorley.
Wigan mustered just one shot on target all game, but Kyle Joseph’s 16th-minute effort found the back of the net. It turned out to be the winner, as despite seeing 72 per cent of the ball, Sunderland rarely tested keeper Jamie Jones.
The Black Cats have now gone seven games without a win, are 10 points off leaders Hull and still don’t have a chairman following Stewart Donald’s resignation in July. The lack of a Netflix series this season is a crying shame.
Follow Ali on Twitter @alirampling