The Championship is back to playing one match this week (at least in league play), a week after having two matches caused a lot of chaos to the Power Rankings. There will be four Championship clubs (Derby County, Middlesbrough, Norwich City, and Nottingham Forest) playing midweek matches in the EFL (Carabao) Cup, however, which could impact their performance when they return to league play over the weekend.
As always, we’ll try to keep this updated throughout the matches of the weekend, which begin on Friday night and conclude Sunday afternoon. The number in parentheses before each club represents their ranking in our weekly Power Rankings, and home clubs are listed first. Winning clubs will be in bold, and any match that ends in a draw will see both clubs notated in italics.
Friday, 2 November 2018
7:45pm GMT/3:45pm EST
(16) Aston Villa 2-0 (22) Bolton Wanderers
Saturday, 3 November 2018
1:00pm GMT/9:00am EST
(14) Blackburn Rovers 1-0 (11) Queens Park Rangers
(13) Brentford 2-0 (19) Millwall
(4) Derby County 3-1 (9) Birmingham City
(21) Hull City 1-0 (6) West Bromwich Albion
(24) Ipswich Town 1-1 (18) Preston North End
(7) Nottingham Forest 1-0 (1) Sheffield United **MATCH OF THE WEEK**
(23) Reading 3-2 (10) Bristol City
(20) Rotherham United 2-1 (8) Swansea City
(17) Sheffield Wednesday 0-4 (2) Norwich City
5:30pm GMT/1:30pm EST
(15) Stoke City 0-0 (3) Middlesbrough
Sunday, 4 November 2018
1:30pm GMT/8:30am EST
(12) Wigan Athletic 1-2 (5) Leeds United
Our Match of the Week features the Championship club with the best chance of advancing through the EFL Cup this week – Nottingham Forest plays League One club Burton Albion today – and Sheffield United, who returned to the top of the rankings after the results from last week. Forest will be defending their home pitch in this one, which may or may not be an advantage. They’ve captured 12 of their 23 points at The City Ground (3W-3D-1L), with a goal differential of only +2. Meanwhile, Sheff United has had moderate success on the road, capturing only 12 of their 29 points (4-0-3), with the same +2 goal differential.
While Sheffield United has more losses overall on the season (4 versus 2 for Forest), they’ve managed to convert more of their matches to wins, whereas Forest is tied with Birmingham City with the most draws in the league. They hope to grab all three points this weekend, especially if the lower tier matchup in the EFL Cup allows them to get some rest for some regulars, but escaping with a draw against the top team in the league should be an acceptable result as well.
Another top match this week features Derby County hosting Birmingham City. As I’m reminded weekly, Birmingham City has not lost for 11 weeks (5-6-0), including four games in a row. This will be their first match in a while against a club above them in the table, and it will be a good test to see if they will compete for the playoffs this season. Perhaps luckily for Birmingham, Derby plays Chelsea in their EFL Cup match on Wednesday, so they may get a club playing on tired legs, even if they are defending their home pitch. I like Birmingham’s chances in this one, with a fifth-straight win that would probably move them into playoff contention.
Another club on a bit of a hot streak – Queens Park Rangers – goes on the road to face off against the Blackburn Rovers. QPR is unbeaten in 5 matches (4-1-0), which has moved them up to within shouting distance of the playoffs at this early point in the season. But if Blackburn manages to defend Ewood Park and pick up the victory, they too would be on approaching a playoff spot. While there will still be 30 matches left after this weekend, early season points count just as much as those earned in March and April, and Blackburn would like to at least stay up in the Championship following their promotion from League One after last season. QPR just wants to keep their recent run going.
Until next time…
Last update: 4 November 2018, 5:00pm EST