After another Championship ‘double header’ of games, and now a quarter of the season gone, its time for our regular look and review of the second tier of English football, as the race for the Premier League hots up.
RAMPANT RAMS FLYING UP THE TABLE!
No team is in better form at the moment than Derby County, who notched up their fourth consecutive win at Leeds United on Tuesday – a fine come from behind 2-1 victory at their historical rivals, thanks to a brace from Sam Winnall, who also got the winner for the Rams in their equally as impressive win at Carrow Road, Norwich on Saturday. Rams boss Gary Rowett has got Derby flying after a slow start and with a game in hand on most teams around them, could close the gap even more than their 7 game unbeaten run has done, sitting 6th currently. Reading at Pride Park next up for Derby…very winnable, although this is usually the kind of game that trips Derby up.
DOES ANYONE WANT TOP SPOT?
After Sheffield United captured the top spot over the weekend, on the back of their win at Leeds and Wolves’ surprising loss at QPR, the Blades immediately surrendered the position back to the Molineux men, losing themselves to the inspired QPR, with Wolves seeing off Norwich. The top spot has flipped between Wolves, Cardiff and, more recently, Sheffield United, with no one grabbing control of the position or the Division. This is allowing the likes of Villa, Derby, Middlesbrough and Bristol City to keep in touch with the auto promotion spots and recover from poorish starts. Expect this trend to continue though all season, which could make this one of the most exciting races in recent times.
CRUNCH GAMES UPCOMING!
There is rarely a weekend where there isn’t several mouthwatering clashes that will appeal to most football fans, irrespective of whether you follow the teams involved or not. This weekend sees the clash of fallen North East giants Middlesbrough and Sunderland, whilst there should be goals aplenty as high flying Bristol City entertain Cardiff City. Former Premier League stalwarts Aston Villa take on Sheffield Wednesday at Villa Park whilst there is a crunch basement clash as Barnsley host Birmingham City.
BLACK CATS WOES AND WORRIES CONTINUE
Sunderland’s free fall shows no sign of slowing down – only Bolton have only managed one win all season as well as Sunderland and they could only manage a draw when the two teams clashed, in an albeit exciting game, at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday. With Middlesbrough and Aston Villa away as two of their next three games, with a huge game against Millwall at home sandwiched between those. Whilst Sunderland remain only 2 points behind Birmingham City outside the relegation zone, they are now 5 points behind Barnsley who occupy the place above Birmingham. This is a gap that cannot get much larger or the Stadium of Light may well be hosting Division One games next season.
HALF TIME CRUCIAL FOR THE BLADES
There is no doubt that Sheffield United have been the success story of the season so far. On the back of their runaway Division One win last season, the Blades were expected to go well – but maybe not as well as they are currently showing. But a drill down into their results shows a very simple statistic. If they are winning or drawing at the break…they win the game. If they are losing at the break, they lose the game. Of their fifteen league games so far, all of their 10 wins have come when in front at HT (8) or drawing (2). Yet their 5 losses have all come when behind at the break. So for you in play gamblers….check out the Blades half time result and place your bets accordingly!!
Check back next week for our next review of the Championship!!