(UPDATED) EFL Championship – Week 18 Slate

Championship Week 18 Fixtures/Results

We saw a lot of movement in our Power Rankings after a Week 17 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. Norwich City and Leeds United have really separated themselves from the rest of the league at the top of the league table, and could expand on that lead with positive results this week.

Per usual, the number in parenthesis before each club is where they fell on our Week 18 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.

Saturday, 22 December 2018

3:00pm GMT/10:00am EST
(15) Blackburn Rovers 0-1 (3) Norwich City
(22) Brentford 1-0 (24) Bolton Wanderers   **MATCH OF THE WEAK**
(5) Derby County 1-1 (13) Bristol City
(23) Ipswich Town 1-1 (7) Sheffield United
(9) Nottingham Forest 0-1 (11) Queens Park Rangers
(20) Reading 0-1 (8) Middlesbrough
(17) Rotherham United 0-4 (2) West Bromwich Albion
(19) Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 (12) Preston North End
(10) Stoke City 1-0 (21) Millwall
(18) Wigan Athletic 0-3 (14) Birmingham City
5:30pm GMT/12:30pm EST
(16) Hull City 3-2 (6) Swansea City

Sunday, 23 December 2018

1:30pm GMT/8:30am EST
(4) Aston Villa 2-3 (1) Leeds United   **MATCH OF THE WEEK**

Match of the Week

I have really enjoyed the Championship scheduling this season. While the matchdays are all set in advance, the actual date for the match during the weekend is flexible enough to move individual matches around.

That’s what happened this week with our Match of the Week. Aston Villa and Leeds United have climbed to the top of the league, and they are rewarded with a solo slot on Sunday. The match even kicks off before football begins in America, so true sport fans can spend their Sunday morning watching the most exciting league in England, with two premier teams.

Aston Villa hosts the match from Villa Park, and is currently in the midst of a seven-match unbeaten streak (4-3-0), resulting in a dramatic climb up our Power Rankings (though they are only 8th in the league table). After finishing in fourth position last season – and losing in the promotion playoff – Aston Villa is currently three points behind Middlesbrough for sixth and the final playoff spot this season (and only six points behind West Bromwich Albion for third). Defending their home turf and walking away with three points would be ideal, but even pulling into a draw with Leeds would be a good outcome.

Leeds has truly been among the class of the Championship this season. They’ve lost only three times thus far – their last loss to West Brom was followed by their current five-match winning streak – and they climbed to the top of the league table this week as well as our Power Rankings. They are one point ahead of Norwich City in second, and six points ahead of West Brom in third, so getting at least a point this weekend will be vital to maintaining their automatic promotion position. I’d give them the slight edge despite being on the road, but it should be an exciting match nonetheless.

Matches of the Weak

Our “Match of the Weak” features two of the three worst teams in the Championship, so I wouldn’t blame you for just checking in on this one after results are posted – unless you have the misfortune of being a Brentford or Bolton Wanderers fan.

Though Brentford is currently 19th in the league table, we have them in the 22nd spot of our Power Rankings, primarily because of their recent six match winless streak (0-1-5). Even the win before that stretch didn’t help, as it was to fellow bottom-dweller Millwall. Prior to that victory, they had another winless stretch of eight matches – though with a few more draws thrown in (0-4-4) – which has helped them stay three points out of the relegation zone.

Bolton only fell to 24 (in our Power Rankings) this week after Ipswich Town‘s unexpected win last week, but they are still only four points ahead of the weekly bottom dweller. They haven’t won since September, a 1-0 win over the much higher Derby County that had them in a much more respectable 14th. Since then, however, a 0-3-8 stretch has led to their tumble down the rankings. They finished just out of relegation last season (two points ahead of Barnsley), so they are no stranger to struggling in the Championship. But they need to start to turn things around if they don’t want to experience Barnsley’s fate this season, and a win against Brentford would be a good place to start heading into the turn of the schedule.

Until next time…

Last update: 23 December 2018, 1:35pm EST

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