Saturday, December 15, 2018

Championship Preview – Matchday 20

Deke Hardman in Editorial, English Championship 1 Dec 2018

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Matchday twenty in the Championship kicks off with the mouth-watering clash between promotion hopefuls Leeds United and Sheffield United.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side will go top, even if just for a few hours if they avoid defeat while such is the tightness at the top end of the table the Blades could also be in first place ahead of the day’s other fixtures though to do so they will need to win by two clear goals.

Few would bet against Norwich City ending the day where they started it – first place as they host Rotherham United though the Millers will be no pushovers, as they go in to the game on the back of a seven-game unbeaten run.

Middlesbrough also have their eyes on pole position though they will have to keep out an Aston Villa side who have scored nine goals across their last two games.

Solid

Boro do have by far the best defensive record in the division, though they have also scored fewer than nine of the eleven other sides in the top half of the table.

Personally, I see this as one of the hardest games to call in the second tier so far this season with a goalless draw possibly the result I would plump for, and that can be backed at a price of 8/1.

West Bromwich Albion could also rise to first, though they play Brentford on Monday evening, after the rest of the action has been concluded while sixth place Nottingham Forest will look to extend their unbeaten run as they welcome bottom-of-the-table Ipswich Town to the City Ground.

Derby County, who sit below their East Midlands and the playoffs on goal difference host Swansea City while Queens Park Rangers will be keen to return to winning ways after back-to-back 2-2 draws.

Closing in

Steve McClaren’s side welcome Hull City to Loftus Road knowing that victory could see them edge ever closer to the top six.

After three games without victory, Birmingham City returned to winning ways at Millwall midweek with Preston North End their opponents this weekend while, Stoke City look to extend their six-game run without defeat at Reading.

The Royals are outside of the bottom three by virtue of goal difference – as are the Lions who travel to Bristol City in Sunday afternoon’s Championship fixture.

Middling

Blackburn Rovers take on Sheffield Wednesday in a mid-table battle at Ewood Park while Bolton Wanderers will be looking for a positive result as they host Wigan Athletic.

The Trotters, who avoided relegation with victory over Forest on the final day of last season, are second from bottom but are one of four teams tied on seventeen points after nineteen games.

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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