Championship preview 2017/2018

The new Championship campaign is underway. According to Jimmy Ward, expert predictor at All contenders for promotion seem to be evenly matched, meaning that yet another entertaining season is on the cards.

Aston Villa are no longer considered main favourites to secure promotion to the Premier League. The club chiefs did well to reinforce the squad in the summer transfer window and everybody expected that experienced centre-back John Terry would help the Villans improve defensively. However, Villa have conceded nine goals in five league fixtures and it is no surprise they sit in the danger zone in the Championship standings. Aston Villa struggle in front of goal as well and, no doubt, Steve Bruce’s men will have to make a great progress if they are to return to the English top flight.

Cardiff City made a flying start to the season, with the team recording a win in each of their five league games. The Bluebirds are high on confidence, but they need to keep on raising their form if they are to secure promotion to the Premier League. Anyhow, seeing that they have already outplayed fellow promotion-chasing teams Aston Villa and Wolves, I am positive that the Welsh outfit are going to (at least) book their place in the Championship play-offs.

Wolverhampton chiefs were very active in the summer transfer window. The likes of Ryan Bennett, Barry Douglas, Ruben Neves, Will Norris, Phil Ofosu-Ayeh and Roderick joined the club and the Wolves have been producing fine performances at the start of the 2017/2018 Championship campaign. Nuno Espirito Santo’s team seem to be well balanced and seeing that they defeated the likes of Middlesbrough, Derby County and Hull City in the first three games of the season, it is no surprise they are considered No. 1 favourites to secure automatic promotion to the English elite division.

Fulham have been producing splendid showings in the Championship ever since Slavisa Jokanovic took over the reins. The Cottagers did well to make it to secure a top-six finish last term, but they eventually failed to go all the way in the Championship play-offs. The club owners managed to keep hold of key players in the summer transfer window, but Fulham have yet to find their best form in the 2017/2018 Championship campaign. Anyhow, a 2-0 win at Ipswich Town could be the turning point for the capital club, and, no doubt, they are capable of making it to the play-offs for the second consecutive season.

Middlesbrough aim to secure a quick return to the English top flight, but they have been having their ups and downs at the start of the season. Summer signing Britt Assombalonga, who has already netted two goals in the 2017/2018 Championship campaign, could prove to be the key to the team’s success this time out and given the quality of Garry Monk’s squad, there is every chance Boro will secure a top-six finish at the end of the season.

Leeds United saw key attacker Chris Wood leave the club in the summer transfer window and I do not believe that they are capable of finishing the season in top two. Taking everything into account, the Whites would be more than happy with a top-six finish.

When it comes to the battle for survival, the likes of Bolton Wanderers, Burton Albion and Barnsley are considered main favourites to drop to the League One at the end of the season. Capital clubs Millwall and Queens Park Rangers could struggle in the English second tier this term as well. Make sure you keep track on the latest Championship Predictions here by reading different analysis on each game.