Championship Review, Monday 1st March 2021
The fun yet chaotic second tier of English football will continue to be the standard-bearer for unpredictable mayhem as the months go on, and this past weekend gave us encouragement in thinking that’ll be the case after another round of intriguing results.
Derby 1-1 Nottingham Forest
The East Midlands derby ended 1-1 between Derby and Nottingham Forest on Friday night after a dramatic encounter to open up the weekend.
James Garner poked Forest into the lead in the 33rd minute, and it took until the 84th for the veteran Colin Kazim-Richards to secure a point for the Rams.
Cardiff and Coventry await for Derby with Forest taking on Luton and Watford in a jam-packed few days. Get our prediction of Cardiff City to beat Derby here at 11/10
Bournemouth 1-0 Watford
Bournemouth beat Watford 1-0 in a gritty and somewhat ugly game of football on the south coast.
Arnaut Danjuma gifted the Cherries an opening goal in the 61st minute, but even the most niche of betting connoisseurs wouldn’t have predicted Jack Wilshere and Joao Pedro being sent off in the depths of injury time.
Bristol City and Preston will now serve as tough opposition for Bournemouth in the next few days, with Watford needing to bounce back against Wycombe and Nottingham Forest.
Blackburn 1-1 Coventry
Blackburn Rovers were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw against Coventry City over the weekend.
Ben Brereton made it 1-0 with everything seemingly going smoothly for Rovers, but it only took five minutes in the second half for Matty James to level things up. Cov managed to hold on from there even after a late red card for Leo Skiri Østigård.
Blackburn’s next fixtures see them take on Reading and Millwall. Coventry, on the other hand, have two Northern opponents on their hands in the form of Middlesbrough and Huddersfield.
We predict that Blackburn will beat Millwall next week and you can get them at 2/1 here.
Rotherham 0-1 Reading
Reading held on against a spirited Rotherham side to win 1-0 and keep their promotion hopes alive and well.
Michael Morrison was the one and only goalscorer for the Royals as the pursuit for a place in the Premier League continues down in the Championship.
Sheffield Wednesday and Brentford await for Rotherham as Reading host both Blackburn and, ironically, Sheffield Wednesday, too.
Preston 3-0 Huddersfield
Preston North End’s season finally has a glimmer of hope attached to it after a 3-0 success over Huddersfield Town.
Brad Potts, Ched Evans and Scott Sinclair were all at the races and all found the back of the net in Lancashire as PNE look ahead to a more positive end to the campaign – or, so they hope.
Alas, the bookies still probably won’t fancy Preston’s chances against Millwall and Bournemouth this week, and the same can be said for Huddersfield who will play Birmingham and Cardiff in a quickfire double.
Barnsley 2-1 Millwall
After an insane first few minutes, Barnsley managed to dig deep and overcome Millwall in a gutsy 2-1 win.
Cauley Woodrow and Mason Bennett exchanged goals before we’d even hit the seven-minute mark, but it took until the 59th before Michal Helik sealed all three points for Barnsley.
The winning side’s reward will be clashes against QPR and Birmingham, whereas The Den will be a busy place as Millwall host Preston and Blackburn.
Swansea 1-3 Bristol City
Nigel Pearson kickstarted his Bristol City tenure with a bang in a 3-1 win over promotion candidates Swansea City.
Andre Ayew’s penalty actually put the Swans on track for another deserved win, but from there, it all seemed to fall apart. Nakhi Wells and Kasey Palmer turned the game on its head with Antoine Semenyo finishing the job in stoppage time – infuriating those who expected an under 3.5 goals affair.
Stoke and Middlesbrough are up next for Swansea with Bristol City hoping to create some momentum for themselves against Bournemouth and QPR.
Luton 3-2 Sheffield Wednesday
Luton Town just about edged past Sheffield Wednesday in a scintillating five-goal thriller on Saturday.
The mid-table Hatters were actually 2-0 down after a Josh Windass brace but in the second half, everything changed. Kal Naismith, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Elijah Adebayo were the heroes of the day with the Owls being left to wonder what just happened.
Luton have a rare double whammy of away trips now against Nottingham Forest and Norwich, but Wednesday aren’t likely to have it all their own way either when taking on Rotherham and Reading.
Brentford 2-1 Stoke
Brentford’s promotion charge goes on after a nervy 2-1 win over Stoke City at the weekend.
It took less than 60 seconds for Jacob Brown to make it 1-0 Stoke, but the big problem there was that Brentford were given far too much time to get back into it. In the end that’s exactly what they did, to the shock of very few who bet on them to gain promotion at the start of the season, thanks to goals from Vitaly Janelt and Ivan Toney.
Norwich and Rotherham are very different but very hard games for Brentford to contend with now, but Stoke should be feeling confident with back-to-back home clashes against Swansea and lowly Wycombe.
Birmingham 2-1 QPR
Birmingham City went back to the old days with late goals to carry them over Queens Park Rangers in the second city.
Charlie Austin had been able to set the visitors on track for a big win with an invaluable strike just before halftime. Alas, with eight minutes to go, the Blues turned on the style as Kristian Pedersen and Alen Halilovic stunned QPR to give Birmingham the victory.
Two Yorkshire away days now await Birmingham up in Huddersfield and Barnsley, whereas QPR have 50/50 fixtures ahead against Barnsley and Bristol City.
Middlesbrough 1-1 Cardiff
Veteran bosses Neil Warnock and Mick McCarthy shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw between Middlesbrough and Cardiff on Saturday.
Sean Morrison handed the Welsh side a 37th minute lead, but Paddy McNair wasn’t about to let the Cardiff express keep on rolling as he equalised with less than 10 minutes to play.
Two very different away fixtures now sit in front of Boro in the form of Coventry and Swansea. On the flip side, the Bluebirds will meet Derby and Huddersfield between now and the weekend.
Wycombe 0-2 Norwich
Wycombe couldn’t pull off the upset they needed in their bottom vs top clash against Norwich with the Canaries running out 2-0 victors.
Teemu Pukki and Adam Idah sealed the deal for a Norwich side who just can’t stop steamrolling their way towards both promotion and the Championship title.
Next up for Wycombe is Watford and Stoke, and we can’t imagine they’ll be fancied to win in either. Norwich, though, will be the clear favourites when tackling Brentford and Luton at Carrow Road.