Friday, February 22, 2019

Championship Review – Matchday 18

Deke Hardman in English Championship 27 Nov 2018

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Championship leaders Norwich City strengthened their grip on the top of the table by thumping Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Canaries were three up inside thirty-seven minutes thanks to goals from Mike van der Hoorn, Emiliano Buendia and Marco Stiepermann, and whilst Daniel James pulled one back for hosts before the break Teemu Pukkiput the result beyond doubt on the hour mark.

That’s now six wins in a row for Daniel Farke’s side, who’s promotion odds have been slashed to 5/4, and who remain two points ahead of Middlesbrough, who won 2-1 at Brentford in the day’s late kick-off.

Chasers

Leeds United remain in third place after easing past Bristol City, while West Bromwich Albion are up to fourth after beating Ipswich Town by two goals to one in Friday evening’s fixture.

Of all those who occupied the top seven ahead of matchday eighteen, Sheffield United were the only side not to win after Rotherham United twice came from behind to earn a point in Saturday’s early kick-off.

Derby County came from behind to win at Sheffield Wednesday while their East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest also had a good day in Yorkshire, beating Hull City by two goals to nil.

Thriller

Aston Villa are up to eighth after they beat local rivals Birmingham City in a thrilling match on Sunday afternoon.

Queens Park Rangers drew with Stoke City, with full-back Angel Rangel both opening and finishing to scoring while Blackburn Rovers suffered a shock defeat to Preston North End, who climb up to sixteenth.

Wigan Athletic drew 0-0 with Reading, while the points were also shared at the Den, with Millwall remaining above the dotted line and opponents Bolton Wanderers on goal difference.

Matchday 19

The action recommences on Tuesday evening, and the top six are all facing teams in the bottom half of the division.

Norwich and Middlesbrough are at Hull and Preston respectively while Leeds, who are the only side at the top end of the division to be at home, welcome Reading to Elland Road.

That means there are away days for West Brom, who go to Swansea; Sheffield United are at Brentford and Derby face former manager Gary Rowett who is now in charge at Stoke.

The two sides just outside the play-offs – Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest meet at Villa Park in what the purists will say is the game of matchday nineteen with the two sides wining three of the four European Cups between 1979 and 1982.

Queens Park Rangers travel to Rotherham United while Blackburn and Birmingham will look to bounce back from their weekend losses at Wigan and Millwall respectively.

Elsewhere, Sheffield Wednesday host Bolton Wanderers and bottom of the table Ipswich Town take on Bristol City.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Deke Hardman


Freelance football writer with a love of the game that goes back to the mid nineties when both his beloved Nottingham Forest and England had genuine hope of acheiving some level of success. A regular contributor to both SoccerNews.com and FreeBetting.com, Deke also dabbles in music journalism with his heart and head still stuck in the latter years of the twentieth century.

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