The Championship – Race to Promotion

Championship


The third best attended league in the world with the fifth highest wage bill……what can it be? The English Championship of course. One of the most competitive, fierce and unpredictable divisions in any country anywhere in the world. With the ultimate prize of the riches of the Premier League at stake, every game is a dog fight and every point is scrapped for! With 2019 beginning and the table shaping up let us take a look at some of the contenders for the crown!

Leeds United – At the time of writing Leeds are top of the tree and in all fairness have looked the tidiest side all season, with the most consistent performances and the best football on the pitch. Given the investment made in a world class manager and a team he wants, there can be little doubt where the success has came from and Lees are likely to be playing Premier League football next year.

Norwich – Fans may disagree but it is perhaps fair to label Norwich, in the bracket with the likes of West Brom, as a yo yo club who will spend the odd season or two in the top flight before plummeting back to a few seasons in the second tier. It seems their time to rise has come again and consistent performances, genuine goal threats and a solid back line leave them in a steady place to be a real contender for the top 2.

Middlesbrough – See above….a yo yo team who can’t quite find the balance of staying in the top flight for a good stretch. Again, like all the teams at the summit of the championship this year Middlesbrough have a great attacking threat and score goals. The odd slip up here and there perhaps down to some questionable team selections, has saw them slump behind the pace and will probably mean a play off pace is their aim.

West Brom – Can I really use YoYo team a third time? Well I am going to! West Brom are the ultimate modern day YoY o team. For whatever reason it is, they can usually conquer the Championships within a few season and return for a brief stay at the top before the inevitable relegation. What can be done to counter this? Maybe the strong squad they have now will be enough to get them promoted via the automatic places….but I think promotion via the play offs is more likely

Sheffield United – Tough years, relegations, squad battles…but its good to see The blades come out of the other end with a glimpse of the big time. Automatic promotion may just be out of reach but there are no reason they can’t put together the form needed to win via the playoffs!

Derby – The players are there, the coach seems to be working but the results won’t flow as consistently as they would like. For derby to get promoted they need a run of form that will leave them in good stead for the play offs. But perhaps Pride Park faithful may need to wait another season.

Prediction: Automatic  – Leeds and West Brom

Play Offs –Norwich City

Early predictions for Championship promotion

Championship

ChampionshipThe 2016-17 Sky Bet Championship is underway, and predictions as to who is likely to make their way to the promised land of the Premier League come May have been made. Coming into the new season, Newcastle United were considered favourites to reclaim their place in the top flight, with many experts declaring them champions elect before the first game was played.

However, once the season started, it quickly became clear Newcastle won’t have it all their own way, and that they may have some unexpected competition for the automatic promotion places, as well as the title itself.

So, let’s take a look at the main contenders for promotion from the Championship this season.

Newcastle United

The overwhelming favourites, Newcastle United seemingly have everything going for them this season. Having spent more than any other club in the division in the transfer market, and with the most high-profile manager in the league in Rafa Benitez, the Magpies have put themselves in a good position to bounce back to the Premier League at the first time of as king. Industry experts such as 888 Sports believe anything other than winning the Championship title would be failure for the club.

While Newcastle sold and loaned out a number of key players during the transfer window, the acquisition of Matt Richie, Dwight Gayle, Grant Hanley, Ciaran Clark and other has only strengthened the perception that the club is set to dominate this year’s Championship.

Derby County

Derby County have been among the favourites to win promotion to the Premier League for the last two or three seasons, but have flattered to deceive. However, the Rams certainly have the talent on the field in the form of players such as Will Hughes, Ikechi Anya and Tom Ince, and under the direction of new manager Nigel Pearson, they have a decent chance of finding themselves among the frontrunners at the business end of the season.

Norwich City

Considered by many to be the biggest threat to Newcastle United’s Championship title hopes this season, Norwich City will have been boosted by holding on to the majority of their best players, such as Robbie Brady and Timm Klose, in the transfer window.

While the Canaries have not strengthened as much as they would have hoped, many experts still see them finishing in the automatic promotion positions and reclaiming their place in the Premier League following their relegation last season.

Brighton and Hove Albion

Expected to be fighting for promotion from the off this season, Brighton and Hove Albion are seen as contenders for an automatic promotion position after finishing third last season. The leadership of Chris Hughton combined with the return of striker Glenn Murray means the Seagulls have all the necessary tools to make it into the Premier League for the first time.

Sheffield Wednesday

The Championship wild card this season, Sheffield Wednesday will be gunning for a play-off place after finishing sixth last season, but a top-two finish could prove beyond them.

The Owls picked up attacking midfielder Almen Abdi from Watford in the summer, and will look to get more out of Fernando Forestieri after he refused to play against Norwich City earlier in the season as he pushed for a transfer.

With the club having signed nine new players, how Wednesday fare this season will likely come down to just how well their acquisitions gel as a team.

New Premier League Season

So with England long since out of the World Cup, English thoughts are starting to turn to the new football season.

We have re-jigged the Footie Quiz categories to reflect the ups and downs of last season.

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Premier League relegated:

Cardiff City and Fulham went down on the penultimate weekend of the season, and they were joined on the final day by Norwich City.

Championship promoted:

Leicester City were promoted as runaway leaders. Burnley were later promoted as runners-up. QPR beat Derby in the play-off final to earn the third promotion place to the Premier League.

Championship relegated:

Yeovil were the first team to be relegated to League One and Barnsley joined them soon after. Doncaster were unlucky to drop out of the Championship on goal difference on the final day of the season.

League One promoted:

Wolves made an immediate return to the Championship by winning the League One title. Brentford were promoted as runners-up while Rotherham beat Leyton Orient on penalties in the play-off final, clinching the third promotion spot.

League One relegated:

The four teams going down to League Two are Stevenage, Shrewsbury, Tranmere and Carlisle – who went down after losing on the final day of the season.

League Two promoted:

Chesterfield won a three-way tussle for the League Two title on the final day of the season. Scunthorpe and Rochdale also clinched automatic promotion. After winning the play-off final, Fleetwood took the fourth promotion slot and have reached the third tier for the first time in their history.

League Two relegated:

Torquay and Bristol Rovers will both be playing in the Conference Premier next season.

Conference promoted:

Luton Town finally return to the Football League after an absence of five years. Play-off winners, Cambridge United, join them after an absence of nine years.