Welcome to the third edition of our EFL Championship preview series for the 2019/20 season. We’ll be taking a closer look at two of the key games to take place over the weekend as well as having a crack at predicting the outcomes of all 12 fixtures.
Championship Preview: Matchweek 3
Huddersfield Town v Fulham
This game pits two of the relegated Premier League sides together. Despite being almost as bad as each other on their way down last season, their respective starts to the Championship season have been far from the same.
Rumours swirled on Tuesday night that Huddersfield Town boss Jan Siewert’s job was on the line after his side were dumped out of the Carabao Cup by Lincoln City, and with a win percentage of under 6% while in charge at the Terriers (that’s one win from 18 games), losing at home to a League One side would rightly put him in the firing line.
As such, there’s a sense that he has to get a result in this match. Huddersfield are yet to win this season with a draw and a loss in the league, while Fulham bounced back from defeat against Barnsley to ease past Blackburn Rovers last week.
Get this wrong, and it could be another long season for the Terriers.
Stoke City v Derby County
Another manager potentially on the brink is Nathan Jones at Stoke City. The Potters are bottom of the league with two losses from two in the league, although a Nathan Collins goal perhaps gave Jones some respite as they beat Wigan Athletic in the first round of the Carabao Cup.
Since taking over at the bet365 Stadium in January, Jones has won just four of his 24 matches in charge, something that Potters fans were not expecting upon their Premier League relegation in 2017/18.
A winless start in the league after three games could spell the end for the former Luton Town boss, particularly if there is no performance to match. A League Cup first-round win won’t be enough to save him if Derby are on song.
Huddersfield Town v Fulham
As mentioned above, this is essentially a must-win game for Huddersfield given Jan Siewert’s appalling record. However, Fulham’s squad seems to be far better equipped for the Championship, and it could be a sorry end for the German.
Huddersfield Town 0-2 Fulham
Barnsley v Charlton Athletic
Aside from going out of the cup to Forest Green Rovers, Charlton’s start to the season has been pleasantly surprising. They’ve re-adapted to the Championship well and, even though Barnsley look good enough to avoid the drop too, this time around Charlton look good enough for the points.
Barnsley 1-2 Charlton Athletic
Blackburn Rovers v Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough’s entertaining 3-3 draw with Luton Town on the opening weekend already seems lifetimes ago. Successive losses and with little to shout about in terms of performances since then certainly doesn’t land them in good stead ahead of a trip to Ewood Park, but Blackburn themselves currently sit bottom after two straight losses in the league. Perhaps a point each in this case.
Blackburn Rovers 1-1 Middlesbrough
Brentford v Hull City
Two teams with near-identical record so far. At such an early stage of the season, there isn’t much to separate them. Home advantage could see Brentford dominate the ball and create more chances, but Hull seem good value for a point so far.
Brentford 1-1 Hull City
Bristol City v Queens Park Rangers
The chances of seeing a repeat of the 3-3 cup draw between these two is unlikely, but it does show the attacking capabilities of both sides. League-wise, Bristol City have had a poor start while Queens Park Rangers are unbeaten, but the Robins will start to settle eventually and we’ve got every belief that it will be this weekend.
Bristol City 2-1 Queens Park Rangers
Luton Town v West Bromwich Albion
Luton Town certainly aren’t going to be boring this season. They may concede but their quality up front will always keep them in matches. This is a West Bromwich Albion side who look far less dangerous than last season without Jay Rodriguez and Dwight Gayle, and as such Luton can take advantage.
Luton Town 2-2 West Bromwich Albion
Millwall v Sheffield Wednesday
Despite not having a permanent manager, Sheffield Wednesday currently sit top of the league with two wins from two. Millwall have made a decent enough beginning as well, but we’re tipping the Owls to continue their fine start.
Millwall 1-2 Sheffield Wednesday
Nottingham Forest v Birmingham City
Nottingham Forest are yet to really click under new manager Sabri Lamouchi whereas Pep Clotet’s Birmingham City have been impressive in the early stages. However, they were also soundly beaten by League One Portsmouth in the cup, so it’s clear defending can be an issue for the Blues.
Nottingham Forest 1-1 Birmingham City
Stoke City v Derby County
This is likely to be one of the last chances Nathan Jones will have to kick-start his Stoke career or he risks having to drop down the leagues. The team just don’t look as though they’ve adapted to what Jones is trying to achieve, whereas Derby look as threatening under Philip Cocu as they did last season.
Stoke City 0-2 Derby County
Swansea City v Preston North End
Both have made good enough starts in the league. It’s a tough one to call, but being at home should be enough for Swansea City to take a narrow win.
Swansea City 1-0 Preston North End
Wigan Athletic v Leeds United
Although against League Two opposition, Leeds United will be buoyed by their cup win in the week and against a Wigan Athletic side who have lost two on the bounce, they should have too much for them.
Wigan Athletic 1-3 Leeds United
Reading v Cardiff City
Reading are yet to win in the league so far, while Neil Warnock’s Cardiff City haven’t exactly set the league alight either. Sunday’s match could be a difficult watch.
Reading 1-1 Cardiff City