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