Before I address the fixtures for this weekend, let me be the first to acknowledge that the Championship is more than ever a division that is hard to predict right now. Some teams, like Southampton and Brighton have had blistering starts to the season much to my surprise; whilst other teams such as Leicester and Ipswich will feel bemused by their current positions after their opening three games. In fact I’m starting to think predicting the results in this division is somewhat of a poison chalice, but yet one which I am still happy to attempt to drink from.
The fourth round of fixtures in the Championship certainly seems to have produced some intriguing matches, particularly in regards to where the participants currently find themselves. One of the pick of the ties has to be the East Midlands derby between Nottingham Forest and Leicester City. Both sides have had what can best be described as stuttering starts to their campaigns, occupying 13th and 17th place respectively. When some Leicester fans saw this fixture they must have had visions of being top of the pile after a perfect start and relishing going to The City Ground and giving their near neighbours a classic hiding. Similar sentiments would likely have been held by Forest and their supporters optimistic of a decent start, especially with home advantage. Bookmakers seem to be making Forest the slight favourites for this one and perhaps they are right to do so, but I personally I feel a draw seems a much more realistic prospect for both sides and perhaps given Leicester’s recent poor form a welcome boost of a result for Sven and his side.
Another enticing game in prospect would seem to be the clash between West Ham and Leeds at Upton Park. Leeds have finally found a bit of form after a poor first two games in the league and the win over Hull certainly seems to have helped re-install some confidence amongst their fans. West Ham have made a solid start to life back at this level and of the relegated clubs they currently sit highest although both Blackpool and Birmingham will feel they are within touching distance realistically. Perhaps this will come down to which side gets the lucky break as both sides seem to have the confidence to start churning out some decent results and ensure a good league position. West Ham’s huge win away at Watford in midweek will certainly have helped and they are favourites to win this clash on Sunday; however Leeds also won big in midweek and I have a sneaky feeling said momentum may well carry and Simon Grayson could be celebrating back to back wins.
Further still Southampton will be hopeful of continuing their bright and perfect start in the league against an ever dangerous Millwall side that seem to have started well; whilst fellow promoted side Brighton, also with maximum points, entertain a Blackpool side who will be looking to get their campaign back on track after a disappointing midweek defeat at home to Derby.
Brighton 2 Blackpool 2
Bristol City 1 Portsmouth 2
Burnley 3 Cardiff 1
Coventry 2 Watford 1
Derby 2 Doncaster 0
Hull 1 Crystal Palace 1
Middlesbrough 1 Birmingham 1
Nottingham Forest 2 Leicester 2
Peterborough 1 Ipswich 2
Reading 2 Barnsley 1
Southampton 3 Millwall 1
West Ham 1 Leeds 2
Thanks for reading and I will be back in midweek to review the weekend’s action.
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