Category: Championship

Championship Season Preview 2018/2019

Championship Season Preview 2018/2019

Yet another interesting Championship campaign is on the horizon. Swansea City, Stoke City and WBA aim to secure a quick return to the English top flight, but that is easier said than done.

Last season the likes of Wolverhampton, Cardiff City and Fulham secured promotion to the Premier League and this time out Stoke City, Middlesbrough and Stoke City are considered main favourites to secure a top-two finish.

Stoke City chiefs did well to keep hold of key players in the summer transfer window, but it has to be noted that Switzerland ace Xherdan Shaqiri joined Liverpool.

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The likes of Ashley Williams, Tom Ince and Benik Afobe signed for Stoke City in the summer and seeing that Joe Allen, Saido Berahino, and Choupo-Moting are still part of the team, it is no surprise the Potters are seen as main candidates for automatic promotion. Gary Rowett will be in charge of the team in the 2018/2019 Championship season.

Middlesbrough did well to make it to the Championship play-offs last term, but they eventually failed to return to the English elite division. Tony Pulis’ men are eager to make amends for the “unsuccessful” season and seeing that the likes of Assombalonga and Downing are still part of the team, the Boro are definitely capable of securing a top-two finish. You should bear in mind that Manchester United product Paddy McNair joined the club in the summer transfer window.

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Nottingham Forest were struggling in the Championship in the last few seasons. The Reds finished the 2017/2018 campaign in 17th place in the standings, but it seems as if the club chiefs now want to bring glory days back to City Ground. The club owners did well to sign several high-profile footballers in the summer transfer window, with the likes of Hillel Soudani, Gil Dias and Lewis Grabban joinining the Reds. Aitor Karanka is still in charge of the team and, no doubt, he is capable of recording a good result with Forest in the 2018/2019 Championship season.

Leeds United, Swansea City, Aston Villa, Derby County, Brentford and Sheffield United could play important roles in the upcoming season as well, whereas Bolton and Rotherham United are seen as main candidates for relegation.

Bolton were having their ups and downs in the Championship last season, but they eventually managed to secured the survival. However, the Trotters will have to be at their sharpest in each and every game in the upcoming season if they are to repeat the success.

Rotherham United impressed in the League One play-offs last term, but the lack of top-class footballers could prove to be the team’s biggest problem on their return to the English second tier.

Wigan Athletic and Blackburn Rovers return to the Championship as well and they will surely be highly motivated when they square off against Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town respectively on the opening day of the season.

The new Championship campaign starts on August 3, 2018, with Reading and Derby County facing each other at Madejski Stadium.

Championship Season Preview 2017/2018 (Second Half)

Championship Season Preview 2017/2018 (Second Half)

We are witnessing yet another entertaining Championship campaign. Wolverhampton are on the right track to finish the season in top position in the standings and it remains to be seen who else will sneak into the top two.

Wolverhampton have been producing splendid showings in the Championship this season. The Wolves are leading the standings ahead of Matchday 27 and they look unstoppable at the moment. Coach Nuno Espirito Santo is doing a great job with the Molineux Stadium outfit, but it has to be noted that he has a number of top-class players to choose from. Thanks to back-to-back wins over Bristol City and Brentford Wolverhampton moved one step closer to securing automatic promotion to the Premier League, but they can’t afford any complacency in the remainder of the season. However, given their current form and seeing that they are 12 points clear of second-placed Derby County at the moment, the Wolves are widely expected to return to the Premier League following a six-year absence.

Aston Villa have been playing below expectations in the 2017/2018 season, but they are still seen as one of main favourites to secure a top-two finish. The Villans made a very slow start to the season, but they have been making progress week by week and we believe that John Terry and Co. will, in the worst case scenario, book their place in the Championship play-offs. Cardiff City suffered a dip in form and, as a result, they are no longer sitting in top two in the table. The Bluebirds impressed in the first half of the season, but, as things stand now, the Welsh team will be more than happy should they happen to make it to the play-offs.

Derby County seem to be on top of their game at the moment and it seems as if the time has come for the Rams to return to the English top flight. Czech attacker Matej Vydra has been scoring goals for fun in the Championship this term and if he remains injury-free, there is every chance Gary Rowett’s men will secure a top-six finish. Bristol City have been impressive at their Ashton Gate Stadium this season, but they need to improve their away record if they are to be promoted to the Premier League.

The likes of Leeds United, Middlesbrough, Preston, Sheffield United and Fulham are eager to book their place in the Championship play-offs as well and we predict that the Cottagers will continue to raise their form. Serbian tactician Slavisa Jokanovic did well to help Watford return to the Premier League and he is likely to repeat the success with the capital club.

As for the relegation battle, many people expected that Bolton, who made a very slow start to the season, would suffer relegation to the League One, but the Trotters are determined to prove the doubters wrong. The newcomers have been in a fine form of late, but they need to continue with fine performances in the remainders of the season if they are to secure the Championship survival. Sunderland are running down a blind alley at the moment and the club chiefs should be very active in the January transfer window if they are to help the Black Cats avoid relegation to the English third tier.

As before, Burton Albion, are fighting hard to survive, but they are on a very difficult quest. Birmingham City and Barnsley are seen as candidates to suffer relegation as well and, taking everything into account, yet another interesting Championship season is on the horizon.

Championship Season Preview 2017/2018

Championship Season Preview 2017/2018

The 2017/2018 Championship season is just around the corner. All Middlesbrough, Hull City and Sunderland are eyeing a quick return to the Premier League, whilst newcomers Millwall, Sheffield United and Bolton Wanderers have big ambitions for the upcoming season as well.

The likes of Middlesbrough, Hull City and Sunderland failed to impress in the 2016/2017 Premier League campaign and, as a result, they dropped to the English second tier and the end of the season. Key attacker Alvaro Negredo left the squad earlier this summer, but the likes of Martin Braithwaite and Britt Assombalonga joined the Riverside Stadium outfit and, no doubt, the club chiefs have big ambitions for the upcoming season. Experienced midfielder Stewart Downing is still part of the team, but it remains to be seen if new coach Garry Monk is capable of helping Boro return to the English top flight.

Sunderland dropped to the Championship after ten years in the Premier League and, as a result, several first-team regulars left the club. Last season’s top scorer Jermain Defoe is a new Bournemouth attacker and many people believe that he is going to be sorely missed in the 2017/2018 Championship season. Aiden McGeady, who impressed with Preston last term, joined the club and the pacey winger is likely to play an important role in Simon Grayson’s team in the upcoming season.

Hull City failed to secure the Premier League survival, with the team finishing last season in 18th position in the standings. The Tigers were having their ups and downs in the 2016/2017 season and despite the fact that the club owners added several top-class players in the January transfer window they suffered relegation. Hull City aim to return to the English elite division as soon as possible and it has to be noted that the club management managed to keep hold of Grosicki, Hernandez, Meyler and Diomande in the summer transfer window. A number of first-team regulars left the club, but new boss Leonid Slutsky has faith in new signings and it remains to be seen if he will help the Tigers regain their Premier League status.

Slavisa Jokanovic was doing a great job with Fulham last season, but the Cottagers failed to impress in the Championship play-offs and, as a result, they did not secure promotion to the Premier League. The Serbian tactician is still in charge of the team and seeing that he will count on his key players for the upcoming season, the capital club have good chance of finishing the 2017/2018 Championship campaign in top two.

Norwich City, Sheffield Wednesday and Derby County are seen as contenders for promotion as well, whereas many football experts believe that the time has come for Aston Villa to return to the Premier League. Chelsea legend John Terry is the club’s biggest signing this summer and the experienced footballer is likely to help the Villans improve defensively. The likes of Elmohamady and Samba joined the club as well and it is no surprise the Villa Park outfit are considered No. 1 favourites to secure promotion to the English top flight.

Newly-promoted teams Sheffield United, Bolton Wanderers and Millwall will give their best to secure the Championship survival and, taking everything into account, yet another entertaining Championship campaign is ahead of us.

Championship 2016/2017: Hectic and Entertaining

Championship 2016/2017: Hectic and Entertaining

Yet another Championship season has come to an end. As expected, Newcastle United secured a quick return to the Premier League, whilst Brighton are back in the English top flight after 34 years. The likes of Blackburn Rovers, Wigan Athletic and Rotherham United dropped to the League One, but still remains to be seen who will win the Championship play-offs.

No surprise

Newcastle United chiefs did well to keep hold of key players in the summer transfer window and many people expected that the Magpies would finish the season in top position in the Championship standings. The St. James’ Park outfit were one point behind Brighton ahead of the last day of the season and thanks to a 3-0 victory over Barnsley Rafa Benitez’s troops won the Championship. Dwight Gayle scored a late goal in the triumph over Paul Heckingbottom’s team, with the former Crystal Palace man putting icing on the cake on a very successful season. Gayle scored 23 goals in 32 appearances for Newcastle United in the 2016/2017 Championship campaign but he would certainly add more goals to his account if it had not suffered a couple of serious injuries. Anyhow, the Magpies deserved to secure automatic qualification to the Premier League, but the club owners will have to be very active in the upcoming transfer window if they are to be competitive in the elite division next term. Brighton, who return to the English top flight after 34 years, will have to reinforce the squad as well if they are to avoid relegation to the Championship next season. 

Shocking relegation

Despite recording a 3-1 win at Brentford on the last day of the season, Blackburn Rovers eventually dropped to the League One. Wins for relegation rivals Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City condemned the Riversiders and it has to be noted that they dropped to the English third tier 22 years after they won the Premier League. The English giants will be contemplating life in the League One next season and, no doubt, the club chiefs will give 100% to secure a quick return to the Championship. The Indian chicken company Venky’s took over in 2010 and back then Blackburn were sitting in the middle of the Premier League table and the fans must be disappointed in the club management. The Riversiders are now ready for a new beginning and it remains to be seen if current coach Tony Mowbray is going to keep his job. 

27 goals – not enough 

Over the years Chris Woods has established himself as one of the best attackers in the Championship. The New Zealand international impressed in the 2016/2017 season, with the Leeds United scoring no less than 27 goals in 44 league appearances for the Whites. Wood finished the season as the Championship top scorer and, no doubt, he will be on the Premier League clubs’ radar this summer. His goals, though, did not help Leeds United book their place in the play-offs as they failed to find their best form in the season finale. The Whites finished the season in seventh place in the standings and, as a result, many football predictions suggest that Chris Wood is going to seek a summer move away from Elland Road. Leeds fans expect him to stay with the Whites, but the New Zealand striker is surely hungry for the Premier League football.

Interesting play-offs battle

Even though general football predictions were pointing towards the likes of Derby County, Norwich City and Leeds United booking their place in the Championship play-offs, the trio failed to secure a top-six finish. A place in the Championship play-offs final will be at stake when Reading and Fulham face each other in the two-legged tie, whilst Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield Town meet in the other semi-final. The teams seem to be evenly matched and, no doubt, entertaining encounters appear on the cards. 

Taking everything into account, it is more than obvious that Championship has established itself as the best second-tiered league in the world and it will certainly bring us a lot of joy next season. Both Sheffield United and Bolton Wanderers returned to the Championship, whereas Millwall and Bradford will be fighting for the last qualification spot available. You can find our Championship play off predictions easily by using the navigation on our homepage!