The Championship is back this week after taking an international break last week, and for the first time in what seems like forever, all the clubs are only playing once! The next round of the EFL (Carabao) Cup isn’t until the last week of October, and there are only four Championship clubs – Derby County, Middlesbrough, Norwich City, and Nottingham Forest – remaining in that tournament anyway. Three of the four will play Premier League clubs, so their stay may be ending soon, but Nottingham Forest plays Burton Albion from League One, so they may play on for another round.
As always, the number in parenthesis before each team in their current spot in the Weekly Power Rankings. Home teams are listed first, and winners will be indicated in bold. In the event of a draw, both teams will be placed in italics.
Our Match of the Week will kick things off on Friday, and the rest of the clubs will kick off on Saturday:
Friday, 19 October 2018
7:45pm BST/2:45pm EST
(9) Sheffield Wednesday 1-2 (4) Middlesbrough **MATCH OF THE WEEK**
Saturday, 20 October 2018
12:00pm BST/7:00am EST
(16) Blackburn Rovers 2-1 (2) Leeds United
3:00pm BST/10:00am EST
(14) Aston Villa 1-0 (11) Swansea City
(5) Brentford 0-1 (15) Bristol City
(23) Hull City 1-1 (20) Preston North End
(22) Ipswich Town 0-2 (18) Queens Park Rangers
(8) Nottingham Forest 1-2 (7) Norwich City
(24) Reading 3-1 (19) Millwall
(21) Rotherham United 1-1 (13) Bolton Wanderers
(10) Stoke City 0-1 (17) Birmingham City
(12) Wigan Athletic 1-0 (3) West Bromwich Albion
5:30pm BST/12:30pm EST
(6) Derby County 2-1 (1) Sheffield United
Sheffield Wednesday has found some stability this season, and it’s probably because they didn’t bring in a whole lot of new players during the offseason. Does that mean they will do the same when the transfer window opens again in January? Probably not, especially if they will be pushing for the playoffs like they are now. We’ll be watching them here as they were recently highlighted in our Darkhorse Chronicles series, and we think that they can remain near the playoff zone even against a Middlesbrough team that is a full game up on them.
Our new #1 atop our Power Rankings also has a bit of a challenging game this weekend, with a journey to Derby to face off against the Rams. The Rams have had an up and down season in the league thus far, and are currently on the outside looking in at the playoffs after competing there last year (they lost to eventual promotee Fulham). But they have had a quality run in the EFL Cup, beating Manchester United at Old Trafford (on penalties) during the last round. They face off against Chelsea next round, so they may be looking for redemption in the league to salve that looming wound, and a win over Sheffield United would be a good start.
Sheffield United is currently on a streak of five matches without a loss (4-1-0), winning the last four. In fact, their eight wins on the season have come in two separate four game streaks, so something is going to give this week. The Blades want the win, but I’m sure they’d be content with the draw, which would keep them in position to compete for the title.
Until next time…
Last update: 20 October 2018, 5:20pm EST
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