Championship Week 17 Fixtures/Results
We saw a lot of movement in our Power Rankings after a Week 16 that saw a lot of upsets. This week appears to be no different, with a lot of matches between clubs that are within a few spots of each other. But it’s also another week where top clubs Norwich City and Leeds United should remain at the top of the league table, with a potential expansion of their current lead due to many other top ten clubs facing off this week.
Per usual, the number in parenthesis before each club is where they fell on our Week 17 Power Rankings. Home clubs are listed first. We’ll keep this updated throughout the weekend, with winning indicated in bold, while matches that end in draws will have their clubs italicized.
Friday, 14 December 2018
7:45pm GMT/2:45pm EST
(5) Sheffield United 1-2 (3) West Bromwich Albion **MATCH OF THE WEEK**
Saturday, 15 December 2018
3:00pm GMT/10:00am EST
(4) Aston Villa 2-2 (10) Stoke City
(15) Blackburn Rovers 2-2 (14) Birmingham City
(23) Bolton Wanderers 0-1 (2) Leeds United
(19) Hull City 2-0 (21) Brentford **MATCH OF THE WEAK**
(24) Ipswich Town 1-0 (16) Wigan Athletic **MATCH OF THE WEAK**
(11) Preston North End 3-2 (20) Millwall
(12) Queens Park Rangers 2-1 (6) Middlesbrough
(17) Rotherham United 1-1 (22) Reading
(8) Swansea City 2-1 (18) Sheffield Wednesday
5:30pm GMT/12:30pm EST
(13) Bristol City 2-2 (1) Norwich City
Monday, 17 December 2018
7:45pm GMT/2:45pm EST
(7) Derby County 0-0 (9) Nottingham Forest
Match of the Week
We head back to Sheffield for our Match of the Week. Though 5th in our Power Rankings, Sheffield United is third in the league table, and hasn’t been lower than sixth since Matchday 5. This was one of the reasons why we anointed them a Dark Horse earlier in the season, as their early season form was an improvement from last season’s 10th place finish. If Sheff United can make it back to the Premier League after this season, it would be the first time in over a decade (the 2006-2007 season) and only two seasons removed from being down in League One.
West Bromwich Albion is in a similar boat, though they are down in the Championship after spending the previous eight seasons in the Premier League, where they had an average finish of 12th prior to bottoming out last season. They’ve also been super consistent at staying near the top of the table this season, not dipping below 8th since Matchday 3, and spending 14 of the past 17 matchdays in position for at least the playoff. Boasting the highest scoring club has been helpful (44 goals; 2.1 per match), and I expect a lot of goals in this matchup as well.
Matches of the Weak
We have two matches this week that qualify for “Match of the Weak.” As a reminder, this is the match that pits the clubs with the highest combined ranking. This week, that number is 40, achieved in two matches with bottom table clubs.
Hull City v Brentford
After finishing last season in 18th place, Hull City enters this weekend in… 19th place. This is actually an improvement for the Tigers, as they were hanging out in the relegation zone as recently as two matches ago. Scoring has been an issue on the season, with the club tied for third-worst in scoring output at just 1 goal per match. If they were scoring more, they would have probably found more success, as their goals allowed have been league average on the season (30 goals allowed, 1.43 per match).
Just above Hull City in the standings, Brentford has fallen greatly from their 9th place finish last season, as well as their Top 6 position in the league after Match 12. Though there is still plenty of time to return to those lofty heights, struggles on the road have prevented them from performing better. They are winless on the road (0-5-5) on the season, with a goal differential of -6 away from Griffin Park. As we approach the second half of the season, they will need to repeat their performance from the first 12 weeks, not the latest 11, to get back in a spot to compete for a playoff berth.
Ipswich Town v Wigan Athletic
Ipswich Town has been buried in the 24th position in the league since after Matchday 13 (and they spent the prior eight in the relegation zone), so to say that it has been a rough season thus far is quite the understatement. The Tractor Boys finished last season smack dab in the middle of the table in 12th with 60 points! They would have to capture 65% of the remaining 75 points possible over the rest of the season to reach that level, so they may be content, for the time being, with winning their second match on the season.
Unfortunately, Wigan Athletic may not be the club that helps them do that. The Latics finished 1st in League One last season, and have been playing all season like they want to make their visit to the Championship an extended one. They reached a peak during the season after Match 9, settling into third place on the table. A subsequent 1-2-6 stretch pushed them to their low point of 17th a few weeks back, though they have recovered slightly to their current 16th position. Like Brentford (and a lot of other clubs, honestly), the Latics have struggled on the road, with a 1-1-8 record away from the supporters at DW Stadium. They should be able to notch that second road victory this weekend, however, against Ipswich.
Until next time…
Last update: 17 December 2018, 8:35pm EST