Good evening my friends. Here we are on the second half of the campaign and the spots for promotion/relegation starting to take form. If the teams in top aren’t careful (1 win between the 2 in each of their last 5 games) they will soon be in the promotion playoff as opposed to an auto spot.
Fulham v Middlesbrough
Arguably the hottest team in the championship right now (4 wins out of their last 5), Middlesbrough look to remain in good form and potentially knock Fulham out of their playoff spot (3 clear of 7th place Swansea). They do have double duty this week again, as they square off with Tottenham in the FA cup 3rd round replays. Will this have a hang over effect going in to Friday? Potentially. Combine that with the fact that Fulham is off until Friday, and I think the Cottagers come out on top. Look for a final score of 3-1 Fulham.
Queens Park v Leeds
Remember earlier this campaign when QPR were in a playoff spot? It now feels more likely that they will be fighting to keep out of the relegation zone. Leeds is coming off of a tough loss to Sheffield Wednesday and will be looking to prove something. They are only 1 point behind West Brom for top of the table, and QPR only have 1 win in their last 5. This may spell trouble for the Rangers even though they will be playing in front of their home crowd. I can see Leeda getting the chip off of their shoulder and putting Queens Park down 3-0 and proving that they are deserving of the promotion spot they are currently holding on to.
Derby County v Hull City
Time to face facts. Derby have struggled pretty much all campaign, but may be in the middle of turning things around, as they only have 1 loss in their last 5 and now have Wayne Rooney on their squad with hopefully something left in the tank. Hull City will be looking to avenge their 1-0 loss to Fulham this past Saturday. I am openly biased towards Derby here, but I do feel that the Rams can pull off a win and get themselves a few more spots away from relegation (we aren’t getting promoted this year). Derby County wins this contest with a 2-1 final.
Swansea City v Wigan Athletic
This matchup looks to favor the Welsh side. They are currently tied on points (42) with Sheffield Wednesday while Wigan has 23 points and sits in 23rd position, seemingly doomed for relegation. Wigan has 1 win in the last 5 and Swansea has 1 loss in the last 5. A very large “goal differential gap” (2 for Swansea/ -17 for Wigan) does not bode well for Wigan either. HOWEVER, I am calling an upset this week and here it is. Wigan athletic take the 3 points and get themselves out of relegation with a 1-0 win.
Huddersfield v Brentford
BEES! BEES!!!! SAVE YOURSELVES!!! (Tommy Boy anybody?) Huddersfield recently had 2 seasons in the Premier League, I would say enjoyed, but I would not be telling the truth. They now are 20th in the Championship and are faced with the very real possibility of a second straight relegation. Brentford sits in 3rd place and look to be promotion playoff bound, winning 3 of their last 5. Huddersfield’s fortune will not be turning around this week unfortunately as they will lose at home to the score of 2-0.
Millwall v Reading
Millwall seems to be that team that is either really up (currently 8th and 1 point behind the promotion playoff) or really down (finished 21st last year). Reading didn’t fare much better last year, finishing 20th. This campaign sees them currently in 14th, but they are on their way up the table, losing only once in the last 5. I see this one going 1-0 in Reading’s favor
Birmingham v Cardiff City
Birmingham has had a rough go as of late, losing 3 out of 5. Cardiff has not fared much better, but 3 of their last 5 at least got them 1 point each, and at this stage, every point counts. Both teams enter this weekend with 9 wins each, so they should be pretty evenly matched. Not much action is going to happen in this one, but both teams will get on the board. 1-1 result with Birmingham drawing level after the 75th minute.
Sheffield Wednesday v Blackburn
To show how evenly contested most of the table is, let me point out the following. Sheffield Wednesday sits in 6th place with 42 points while Blackburn sits in 13th with 37. The middle of the table fascinates me the most I think because teams can go from a top 6 squad to the mid teens in a matter of weeks. The owls have shown promise this campaign but are also plagued by games where they don’t look good at all. Blackburn is having a fairly level season (10-7-10 with 0 goal differential). They won’t get relegated this time around, but they also won’t be anywhere near promotion. Given that I love teams playing spoiler, I think Blackburn wins 2-1 and drags Wednesday juuust outside the promotion playoffs.
Bristol City v Barnsley
GUEST SCORE PREDICTOR!!!! So I had the pharmacy student pick this one because I had to go mix an IV. Alex came up with a 2-2 score due to “Bristol City losing 3 of their last 5 and Barnsley dropping only 1 in their last 5”. An interesting take on the contest and I look forward to seeing if her prediction is accurate.
Preston North End v Charlton Athletic
Well, she wrote me 2 score predictions. This one comes as only a little but of a surprise given how both teams have struggled as of late. “I am taking the underdog, Charlton Athletic, with a 1-0 score line”. Between the 2 teams, they are the only one with a win in their last 5 contests. You know what? I agree with the prediction on this one.
Nottingham Forest v Luton Town
I had high hopes for the newly promoted Luton Town, I really did. This campaign has not gone their way at all, and it unfortunately does not look to be turning around any time soon. Last place with 1 draw and 4 losses in their last 5 and the lowest goal differential in the league at -25. Nottingham, on the other hand, have enjoyed a mostly “up campaign”. They sit in 5th place with 3 wins in the last 5. A win here could go a long way to showing teams that they belong at the top of the table. 3 points could see them get as high as 3rd place. Look for them to play at the top of their game and put Luton Town down 3-0.
West Brom v Stoke City
First place v 21st place. Plain and simple, Stoke has been struggling this season and a win this weekend could go a long way towards keeping them out of a relegation spot. Just so happens that they are playing West Brom. These 2 teams have played 147 games against each other all time, with Stoke getting 61 wins and 37 draws. West Brom will get their 50th win all time won against Stoke City this weekend. 1-0 West Brom this weekend as Stoke will put up a surprising effort but ultimately come up short.