The Football League Championship returns this weekend with a full set of fixtures set to take place on Friday and Saturday.
There were a couple of surprises this weekend in the Football League Championship as a dogged Wolves outfit won away at Newcastle while Brentford smashed five past Preston North End at Griffin Park.
Huddersfield Town got back to winning ways while Derby’s torrid start to the season continued as they were held by Bristol City. Week nine presents us with a few interesting fixtures, including a massive Saturday clash between Aston Villa and Newcastle. As always there’s plenty of value in the division, let’s see if we can pick a few winners!
Friday 23 September
Preston 14/10 | Draw 9/4 | Wigan Athletic 37/20
Preston were handed their heaviest defeat of the season so far as they were hammered 5-0 by a rampant Brentford outfit on Saturday at Griffin Park. It could have been all so different had Jordan Hugill’s fantastic first-time effort not been miraculously saved by Daniel Bentley in the Brentford goal. Things are starting to look pretty bleak for the Lilywhites who have only managed two wins from their opening eight games.
They have an opportunity to get back on track when they welcome struggling Wigan Athletic to Deepdale. The Latics did well to hold high-flying Fulham to a 0-0 draw at the DW Stadium. Oddly enough, the draw means that Wigan now hold the record for the longest winless streak against a single club – Wigan have failed to beat Fulham in 16 attempts as they remain rooted in the relegation zone. Neither of these two sides have shown much promise this season and the draw looks likely – 9/4 is good value.
Saturday 24 September
Wolves 23/20 | Draw 47/20 | Brentford 22/10
Wolves pulled off one of the upsets of the season as they romped to a 2-0 win over Newcastle United at St. James’ Park to end Rafa Benitez’s five-game winning streak. Chancel Mbemba put through his own net, following a driven cross from Dadi Bodvarsson – it was the first time that Newcastle had conceded in 525 minutes. They would concede again just 32 minutes later as Helder Costa curled a beautiful effort past Matz Sels in the Newcastle goal. The win was just what the doctor ordered for Wolves after conceding four at home against Barnsley in midweek.
Brentford head into this game on a high following their 5-0 thumping of Preston North End at Griffin Park. The Bees continue to exceed expectations, punching well above their weight as they occupy the final play-off spot after eight rounds of action. Scott Hogan was the hero of the day against Preston as the former Rochdale centre-forward grabbed his first hat-trick for the Bees, following a nightmare 2015/16 campaign in which he damaged his ACL and missed most of the season. While Wolves will be on a high, Brentford have shown more mettle than any other team in the division this season. Take the away win at a generous 22/10.
Derby 6/10 | Draw 11/4 | Blackburn 9/2
A 94th-minute equaliser from Bristol City ensured that Derby’s five-match streak without a win was extended to six. They looked all for money as though they’d done enough to claim the points after Ikechi Anya capitalised on a poor back pass to lift the ball over the helpless Frank Fielding in the Bristol goal. The Rams couldn’t capitalise though as Aaron Wilbraham tapped in from close range to earn a share of the spoils.
The Rams have the ideal opportunity to get back to winning ways when they welcome an out of sorts Blackburn Rovers to the iPro Stadium. The Lancashire club claimed their first win of the season when they beat Rotherham 4-2 in front of a half-empty Ewood Park. Rovers have been poor this season and a win against Rotherham won’t do much for their confidence. Derby should win quite easily here – 6/10 is an absolute gift.
Fulham 11/10 | Draw 24/10 | Bristol 24/10
Fulham have made a solid enough start to the season, however, they’ll need to step it up a notch if they want to compete with the guys mixing it up in the promotion places. Drawing with teams like Wigan simply isn’t good enough for a side that has Premier League ambitions.
Bristol City have made a decent start to the 2016/17 campaign and currently find themselves sitting comfortably in mid-table. That said, they haven’t managed a win since their 3-1 demolition job of Aston Villa three weeks ago and will be keen to spring another surprise at Craven Cottage come Saturday. Fulham are tipped to get back to winning ways here – add them to all weekend multiples.
QPR 14/10 | Draw 21/10 | Birmingham City 2/1
QPR’s winless streak has now been extended to three games thanks to their 2-1 away defeat at the Hands of Huddersfield Town at the weekend. Strikes from Kasey Palmer and Elias Kachunga put the Terriers ahead before Idrissa Sylla pulled one back for the R’s to set-up a nervy finish. Huddersfield would eventually run out victors and cement their place at the top of the standings.
Birmingham City put in a magnificent shift to defeat Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 at St. Andrew’s at the weekend. Having gone behind to a 76th-minute Gary Hooper strike, the Blues rallied before Clayton Donaldson won them a penalty in the 81st minute – he duly converted to level things up. The match was won in the 92nd minute after Lukas Jutkiewicz headed in the winner. This could be too close to call, although QPR have definitely been better in the head to heads of late. As such, I’m going to go with QPR here – albeit rather reluctantly. Maybe one to stay away from this weekend.
Brighton 13/20 | Draw 28/10 | Barnsley 17/4
One of the more interesting ties of the weekend will see Brighton and Hove Albion welcome Barnsley to the Amex Stadium on Saturday afternoon. It’ll interesting to see how the Seagulls line up in their midweek cup fixture against Reading. One feels that they may well go for the midweek win against a club they’re expected to beat. However, three games in seven days may be just too much for even the fittest professionals in the game. Chris Hughton has a bit of a dilemma on his hands.
The South Coast outfit will have to deal with red-hot Barnsley who will be champing at the bit on Saturday with no mid-week cup obligations. The Tykes sit fourth in the league at the moment following a rather disappointing home loss at the hands of Reading last week. They’ve scored more league goals than anyone in the division and will be keen to knock a few past a leggy Brighton side. We’ve got two attacking sides going head to head here, so take Both Teams To Score at a huge price of 8/10 – yet another one for the weekend multiples!
Norwich 5/10 | Draw 31/10 | Burton Albion 52/10
Norwich have started life in the Championship with aplomb and currently find themselves second in the standings, two points behind current pace-setters Huddersfield Town. They showed tremendous character to come back away at Nottingham Forest at the weekend. Two goals in the second half from Johnny Howson and Graham Dorrans cancelled out Apostolos Vellios’ opener as the Canneries claimed all three points.
Burton Albion – after a barnstorming start to the season – have just started to gravitate toward the lower end of the Football League Championship standings. Draws against Wolves and Fulham were followed by a narrow defeat at the hands of Brighton, has left them in 17th place and nine points after eight games. It’s only going to get more difficult for them from here on out. Norwich are tipped to make things even more difficult for the Brewers at 5/10.
Reading 29/20 | Draw 43/20 | Huddersfield 19/10
Reading are one of a number of Championship clubs who are involved in the League Cup in midweek. The Royals will be playing three games in seven days and I just can’t see them winning all three. They’re coming up against the form team in the division at the moment, and I just don’t see a lead-legged side getting the business done against Huddersfield.
Huddersfield Town returned to winning ways at the weekend, following a disappointing away defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion. Their 2-1 win over QPR put the naysayers in their place after suggestions that they would go into freefall following the Brighton game. They’re tipped to get one over the Royals this weekend at 19/10.
Rotherham 16/10 | Draw 22/10 | Cardiff 17/10
It was always going to be a difficult season for Rotherham after their miraculous escape from relegation last season under Neill Warnock. They’ve not really got the budget or the manpower to cut it at this level and it’s been showing in their results. A 4-2 defeat at the hands of Blackburn – one of the worst teams in the division – speaks volumes.
They may have a chance at claiming a win when they go up against rock-bottom Cardiff City. The Welsh side battled last time out at home against Leeds, conceding two second half goals and ultimately losing 2-0. Neither of these two teams have been particularly good at the back – Both Teams To Score at 8/10 looks an absolute gift!
Leeds United 27/20 | Draw 21/10 | Ipswich Town 2/1
Leeds will be buzzing following their 2-0 victory over Cardiff at the weekend. The win has moved the Yorkshire club up to 10 points and into 15th position. They play host to Ipswich Town who are coming off a goalless draw at home to struggling Aston Villa.
The Tractor Boys have made a solid enough start to the season having won three, drawn three and lost two of their opening eight games and currently find themselves comfortably mid-table in 11th. Grant Ward has started the season like he means to go on – four goals and an assist in 670 minutes of football is a decent return at any level. These two teams are evenly matched, the draw looks likely and 21/10 offers good value.
Sheffield Wednesday 15/20 | Draw 26/10 | Nottingham Forest 34/10
Wednesday have endured an indifferent start to the season. Last week’s defeat against Birmingham City perfectly sums up their 2016/17 campaign thus far. Having taken the lead in the 76th minute, the Owls threw away their lead after conceding in the 81st and 92nd minute.
Forest head into this game off the back of a defeat themselves, having thrown away a one-goal lead to lose 2-1 at home against Norwich City It'll be interesting to see how they get on against such quality opposition without Oliver Burke who has moved to Germany. Both sides have no problem scoring, as such Both Teams To Score is tipped at 8/10.
Aston Villa 7/4 | Draw 22/10 | Newcastle 15/10
The biggest match of the weekend sees Aston Villa take on Newcastle United. Villa have had a bit of a torrid start to their season and currently find themselves in 18th position. They played out to a dour 0-0 draw. One thing is for sure, if Roberto di Matteo’s men don’t buck up soon, they face the prospect of becoming just another piece of Football League Championship furniture.
Newcastle suffered their first defeat in five games as they were comprehensively defeated by Wolves at St. James’ Park last weekend. Rafa Benitez will know that nothing less than a win is required to get their season back on track. This is one of those games that you throw the form book away for. That said, Newcastle are the better team and are tipped on the double chance at 4/10.
Newcastle (Win + Draw) 4/10
Sheffield vs Nottingham Forest (Both teams to score) 8/10
Huddersfield win 19/10
Norwich win 5/10
Quad equates to 9.96/1
Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.