As the Championship campaign reaches it midway point, the table remains comparatively congested with Premier League promotion in sight for a number of challenging clubs.
The second automatic spot is particularly being watched over by the chasing pack, as only three points separate second-placed Swansea City and Reading in fifth.
Premier League Promotion in Sight for Battling Championship Clubs
Canaries and Swans Occupy Automatic Premier League Promotion Places
Norwich City sit at the Championship summit having accumulated 47 points in their opening 23 games. The Canaries sat in pole position, noticed by sport verified prediction sites, at Christmas too and will welcome the fact that nine out of the last ten Championship leaders at Christmas have gone on to active promotion.
Norwich were not a fancied outfit at the start of the season given how they resumed the 2019/20 Premier League campaign, but they have since regained their confidence and have started to win games once more. However, they have not blown teams away this year, winning 12 out of their 14 victories by a single goal. The Norfolk club have also turned Carrow Road into a fortress of late, and are unbeaten in their last ten on home soil.
Superstitious Norwich fans will also be happy to know that their team are on the exact same points at the halfway point, as their Championship-winning campaign just two years ago.
Swansea City find themselves in second and are four points below Norwich. The Swans were another side who were not tipped to achieve much this season after losing key individuals in their backline. Following Joe Rodon‘s and Mike van der Hoorn‘s moves to Tottenham Hotspur and Arminia Bielefeld respectively, followed by the end of Ben Wilmot‘s loan from Watford, defensive responsibilities fell to 20-year-olds Ben Cabango and Marc Guehi. And, it is safe to say the pair have done a brilliant job.
The young duo – who have recently been joined by the more experienced Ryan Bennett – have conceded the fewest number of goals in the entire Championship (13), four fewer than any other club. Like The Canaries, Swansea possess a brilliant home record of late, and are without a loss in their last nine games at the Liberty Stadium.
In Comes the Chasing Pack
Jason Tindall has started his managerial career in a positive manner, with his AFC Bournemouth side sitting in third place. The Cherries enter the second half of the season just a point off Swansea and five off the league leaders, as they continue their efforts to bounce straight back to the Premier League.
Bournemouth are the division’s top goal-scorers and possess the highest goal difference. They have thrashed both Huddersfield Town and Barnsley already this season. The continued development of Dominic Solanke will be particularly impressing Bournemouth fans, with the former Liverpool striker netting ten times and assisting a further six already this season. Either side of the towering forward, David Brooks and Junior Stanislas have also been instrumental in Bournemouth’s progress under Tindall, making eight and nine-goal contributions in the last 12 games respectively.
Brentford are another side who have the potential to rock the boat this season and are now just two points off The Swans in second place. The Bees are the Championship’s most in-form team and are unbeaten in their last 15 games; a run that includes the three teams above them.
The West London side have done brilliantly to shake off last season’s play-off heartbreak, and after a slow start, they have reacted in the best way possible. The signing of Ivan Toney has been a big boost for The Bees and the forward now sits top off the Championship top scorers list. Like Norwich, Brentford are not blowing teams away like they did last season, instead they have found a different, grittier way to win.
Watford and Stoke Could Also Challenge
Ahead of the Championship campaign Watford were the bookmakers favourites to win the league, according to VIP bet prediction. However, the Hertfordshire club start the second half of the season occupying the final play-off spot.
The Hornets are also onto their second manager of the season, replacing Vladimir Ivic with young manager Xisco Munoz. Under their new manager, Watford have already switched from a five-at-the-back formation to a flat-four, and is showing indications that he wants his new side to become more of an attacking force. Strangely enough, The Hornets have the best home record in the league, having picked up 26 points in their 11 games at Vicarage Road. But if they are to mount a serious Premier League promotion challenge, they will need to correct their away form. Watford possess the 16th best away record in the division and have only scored five goals on the road all season.
Despite being in eighth place, Stoke City are another side who will certainly believe they can challenge for promotion this season. The Potters find themselves eight points off the all-important second place position and just two points shy of the play-offs, and with the additions that they have made already, the Staffordshire club will be looking to accumulate more points during the second half of the season.
Stoke have only conceded twice in their last six, but four of those games have been draws. Turning these draws into three points will certainly be the objective as they try to put up a promotion challenge.