Ah, EFL Championship, it’s good to have you back.
The world’s most topsy-turvy league stayed firmly on script on the opening weekend of the season as it threw up more than the odd surprise.
Sheffield Wednesday secured the perfect start to their recovery mission at the bottom of the table with a 2-0 win at pre-season play-off hopefuls Cardiff City, while Reading brushed off a chaotic pre-season to run out surprisingly comfortable 2-0 winners at Derby County.
All three relegated Premier League side continue to head up the Championship outright betting, and confidence in the trio won’t have been knocked after the opening weekend. Watford, Bournemouth and Norwich City all came through their first tests unscathed but two of those sides face tricky away journeys this weekend.
It’s time for our latest set of Championship football predictions as we continue our mission to unpick the most unpredictable league in world football…
EFL Championship Predictions
Coventry City lit up League One last year with an attractive brand of football, but they were handed a rude awakening on their return to Championship level as Bristol City cut them apart after only one minute.
A 2-1 defeat means the Sky Blues are still looking to open their account, and they have an ideal opportunity in front of them on Friday night as they host QPR. Mark Warburton’s side brushed off the Eberechi Eze-shaped hole in their midfield to record an impressive 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest but could find Cov tough to break down at St Andrews. Mark Robins’ side lost just once at their home from home in 2019/20.
Forest boss Sabri Lamouchi badly needs to catch a break as his side go up against Cardiff City in Saturday’s early kick-off. Both teams are looking to move on quickly from opening day defeats, but the Forest’s manager’s needs look greater after last season’s late collapse.
Blackburn Rovers were eventually overpowered by relegated Bournemouth last time out in an entertaining ding-dong battle at the Vitality. Tony Mowbray will be spying an opportunity for a quick rebound against Championship rookies Wycombe Wanderers, while Brentford manager Thomas Frank will be looking to claim a first ever league win for the Bees at the Brentford Community Stadium against a Huddersfield team still adapting to Carlos Corberán’s overhaul in style.
Luton Town’s reinvigorated love affair with Nathan Jones showed little signs of waning last week as the Welshman ensured the Hatters started the 2020/21 campaign with momentum with an away win at Barnsley. They welcome Derby County to Kenilworth Road on Saturday with the Rams aiming to avoid damaging back-to-back defeats to start the season.
It’s the Championship’s wiliest campaigner against one of its youngest pretenders at the Riverside. Neil Warnock’s Middlesbrough host a Bournemouth side that made winning start under Jason Tindall, while Norwich City wiped away memories of their lengthy Premier League losing streak last week with a first day win at Huddersfield. The Canaries take on former boss Alex Neil as Preston North End make the long journey to Carrow Road this weekend.
Could Reading be this season’s surprise packages? The Royals radically changed gear in the build-up to this campaign by bringing in former Chicago Fire manager Veljko Paunović to the club, but the Serbian supervised a confident away-day display as Reading downed Derby on his league bow. He’ll be hoping to prove that wasn’t a case of beginner’s luck as they entertain Barnsley.
We’re one game into the season and Rotherham Utd are already breaking new ground. The Millers’ 1-0 win at Wycombe reportedly saw the ball in play for just 35 minutes and 50 seconds, thought to be a new Championship record. It may not always be pretty to watch, but it might just be effective for their survival bid. Saturday’s canny opponents Millwall may have the nous to cope with it.
It’s just the nine points Sheffield Wednesday now need to amass to get back into positive territory after a morale-boosting win against Cardiff. The Owls will look to claw back that deficit further by consigning Watford to a first defeat in five years at this level at Hillsborough this weekend.
Saturday’s action rounds off in South Wales with Swansea City and Birmingham City both putting their unbeaten starts on the line at the Liberty Stadium, while in Sunday’s televised game, Michael O’Neill’s improving Stoke City will be out to prove season-long relegation battles won’t be on the agenda in 2020/21 as they chase their first win of the season at home to Bristol City.
Championship Score Predictions – Gameweek 2
Friday 18th September, 19:45
Coventry City 1-0 QPR
Saturday 19h September
Nottingham Forest 2-1 Cardiff City
Blackburn Rovers 2-0 Wycombe Wanderers
Brentford 2-1 Huddersfield Town
Luton Town 1-1 Derby County
Middlesbrough 1-0 AFC Bournemouth
Norwich City 2-1 Preston North End
Reading 1-0 Barnsley
Rotherham Utd 0-1 Millwall
Sheffield Wednesday 2-2 Watford
Swansea City 1-0 Birmingham City
Sunday 20th September, 14:00
Stoke City 2-1 Bristol City
Our Predicted Championship Table For 2020/21
1. NORWICH CITY
3. CARDIFF CITY
4. DERBY COUNTY
6. STOKE CITY
7. SWANSEA CITY
8. NOTTINGHAM FOREST
11. PRESTON NORTH END
13. BLACKBURN ROVERS
15. BIRMINGHAM CITY
16. LUTON TOWN
17. HUDDERSFIELD TOWN
18. BRISTOL CITY
21. COVENTRY CITY
22. ROTHERHAM UTD
23. SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY
24. WYCOMBE WANDERERS