The Championship returned with a bang on Friday night as Luton Town and Middlesbrough kicked off the season under the lights at Kenilworth Road. It was a fitting place to begin the season and set the tone for a wonderful weekend of second-tier football. Our Championship review looks closer at that game and the rest of the action from the division.
EFL Championship Review
Hatters Make Their Mark
In their first match at this level for 12 years, Luton made an extremely positive start to life back in the Championship. Middlesbrough played their part too, though, as both sides produced an entertaining 3-3 draw that went down a treat with both fans and neutrals.
Middlesbrough took the lead after just seven minutes when Ashley Fletcher flicked home, but Luton turned it around in good style through Sonny Bradley’s stunning volley and a header from Martin Cranie. Before the break though, debutant Simon Sluga let a tame effort from Britt Assombalonga through his fingers and Boro were level at the interval.
Jonathan Woodgate’s side then completed their own turnaround when Lewis Wing curled in magnificently from the edge of the area, but the Hatters clawed their way back once more as James Collins’ tap in past Darren Randolph earned them a point.
Both sides made good starts to life under their respective new managers, Graeme Jones making his bow as Luton boss. Hopefully, it has set the tone for things to come this season.
Wednesday Win on the Road
Managerless Sheffield Wednesday sprung perhaps the surprise of the weekend with a 3-1 win away at Reading. The Royals were the talk of social media last week after their extremely positive performance against Chelsea in a pre-season friendly, while Wednesday are still on the hunt for a boss after Steve Bruce departed for Newcastle United.
New signing Kadeem Harris gave the visitors the lead at half-time, but Reading pulled level through Yakou Meite shortly after the re-start. Sam Hutchinson restored the lead two minutes later but it looked as though Wednesday were going to throw it away when goalkeeper Kieren Westwood was sent off for charging out of his area and up-ending Mo Barrow, however a fine finish from Lucas Joao with one of the last kicks of the game sealed the points.
Lee Bullen, who took charge of the away side for the game, says he is ready to take the role on a full-time basis, and looking at that result, they could do a lot worse.
How Did We Do?
Each week we take a crack at predicting the results of each match. How did we get on this opening weekend? Actual results are shown in bold whereas our predictions are in italics.
Luton Town 3-3 Middlesbrough – Luton Town 2-1 Middlesbrough
Barnsley 1-0 Fulham – Barnsley 1-3 Fulham
Blackburn Rovers 1-2 Charlton Athletic – Blackburn Rovers 2-1 Charlton Athletic
Brentford 0-1 Birmingham City – Brentford 2-0 Birmingham City
Millwall 1-0 Preston North End – Millwall 1-1 Preston North End
Reading 1-3 Sheffield Wednesday – Reading 2-0 Sheffield Wednesday
Stoke City 1-2 Queens Park Rangers – Stoke City 1-2 Queens Park Rangers
Swansea City 2-1 Hull City – Swansea City 1-1 Hull City
Wigan Athletic 3-2 Cardiff City – Wigan Athletic 0-1 Cardiff City
Nottingham Forest 1-2 West Bromwich Albion – Nottingham Forest 2-2 West Bromwich Albion
Bristol City 1-3 Leeds United – Bristol City 2-1 Leeds United
Huddersfield Town v Derby County – Game is on Monday, August 5 at 7:45 pm – we went for 1-1
Not a great week for us on this one…
Games to take place on Saturday, August 10. 3:00 kick-offs unless otherwise stated.
Leeds United v Nottingham Forest – 12:30 pm
Birmingham City v Bristol City
Cardiff City v Luton Town
Charlton Athletic v Stoke City
Derby County v Swansea City
Fulham v Blackburn Rovers
Hull City v Reading
Middlesbrough v Brentford
Preston North End v Wigan Athletic
Queens Park Rangers v Huddersfield Town
Sheffield Wednesday v Barnsley
West Bromwich Albion v Millwall