Our football writer previews the English Football League Championship round four action which kicks off on Friday 17 August 2018.
It might be early days in the Championship but if you have a great start, you likely to finish strong. As we head into round three, there are 11 teams without a victory and will be desperate to change that this weekend. Let’s get straight into the thick of the action!
Friday 17 August
Birmingham and Swansea will kick things off at St Andrew’s on Friday evening. The Blues have made a slow start to the new season with a 2-2 draw against Norwich before going down 1-0 at Middlesbrough last time out. There are glimpses of potential and they need to come good sooner rather than later.
Swansea have taken the second tier by storm, with back-to-back wins. The Welsh-based club are looking to make an instant return to the English Premier League and they will need to keep their excellent form up if they are to do just that. However, I feel both sides will give it a go here, so get on the Both Teams to Score – Yes – market at 17/20.
Saturday 18 August
Sheffield Utd 1/1
Following back-to-back defeats, scoring just once and conceding five times, Sheffield United bounced back to winning ways with a hard-earned 2-1 victory away to QPR.
Both Norwich’s matches have been goal fests with their opening game ending 2-2 at Birmingham and then suffering a 4-3 loss at home to West Brom. With that in mind, I’m backing Over 2.5 goals at 17/20.
Aston Villa 1/1
Ipswich are struggling to find their feet after dropping points against two newly-promoted clubs in Blackburn and then Rotherham respectively – not good signs from a team that finished mid-table last season.
Aston Villa have picked up where they left off. The Villains have won two matches on the bounce, scoring three goals in each match – 3-1 at Hull City before ousting Wigan Athletic 3-2. Back the Villians to come away with maximum points.
Bristol City 33/20
The bookmakers are expecting this to be an evenly matched game and I think they got that spot on. Bristol City might have drawn their first two matches but they are capable of much more and I’m sure they will hold nothing back against their opponents on Saturday afternoon.
Middlesbrough might be top of the table but much like last season, they struggled to win games on the road. The Smoggies have won consecutive games at home without conceding but just as they have done for the last three seasons at home, I’m backing Bristol City to get the win against the Boro.
West Brom 13/20
They might have started off on the wrong foot with a shocking 2-1 home defeat against Bolton but West Brom have slowly come right. The Baggies completed a brilliant come-from-behind victory against Norwich, claiming a 4-3 victory. A morale-boosting win that should give them more motivation to see off the R’s.
QPR are bottom of the table with back-to-back losses, scoring once and conceding three times. It’s not looking good for the visitors this weekend and I’m expecting the London club to endure a long and hard afternoon on Saturday. Back West Brom for the win.
Leeds have been outstanding with consecutive victories, scoring seven goals and conceding just twice. New boys on the block, Rotherham, bounced back to winning ways last time out with a 1-0 home win over Ipswich after Brentford thrashed them 5-1 in the opening round.
The hosts are looking good and I think I’m going to ride that wave until I can’t no more. Take Leeds to win on the (-1) Handicap at even money.
Reading are placed second from bottom on the log with two losses from two games. Bolton were impressive in their opening match away from home, edging West Brom 2-1 and they will be looking to make it two in a row on the road.
Reading need to be more solid defensively, while Bolton will be playing a patient game, waiting to take the right opportunities. Expect a dour game of soccer with the Under 2.5 goals market looking appealing at 6/10.
Hull City 13/10
Hull City – like many – have made a stuttering start as they remain winless going into the third round of fixtures with one draw and one defeat. Newcomers, Backburn, are in the same WhatAapp group, drawing both their matches.
The longer a team goes without getting that first victory under their belt, the more desperate they become and when a team is desperate, they take much more risks than the average team. The Totals – Over 2.5 goals – market is there for the taking at 11/10!
Nottingham Forrest 37/20
Wigan kicked off their campaign with a 3-2 victory at home against Sheffield Wednesday before being on the wrong end of that result at Aston Villa last weekend.
Nottingham Forrest began the season with back-to-back 1-1 draws and then it was third time lucky as they edged Reading 1-0 at home. The home side are playing exciting football but need to be more organised when defending. Back the Latics on the win/draw Double Chance at 4/10.
Millwall and Derby will go toe-to-toe at The Den on Saturday afternoon. Millwall were held to a goalless draw at Blackburn last time out, while Derby were smashed 4-1 at home by a rampant Leeds United team.
A cagey contest is on the cards after the Rams were humiliated last weekend. The Totals – Under 2.5 goals – market should be backed at 7/10.
Stoke City 2/1
After two games, Preston have won 1-0 and lost by the same scoreline. That shows me that their defence has been strong but their attacking prowess yet to be determined.
Stoke City lost their opening game against Leeds (3-1) and then held Brentford to a 1-1 draw on home soil. This encounter should go down to the wire but the Potters are tipped to do enough to claim all three points.
Sunday 19 August
Sheffield Wednesday 47/10
Brentford demolished Rotherham 5-1 in their opening match at home and will look to build on that when they welcome Sheffield Wednesday to Griffin Park in Sunday’s only matchup. The Owls managed just six wins from 23 away trips last season and that doesn’t look like improving here. The home win is the way to go.
TREBLE TIPPED @ 56/10
Aston Villa Win 1/1
West Brom Win 13/20