Football’s Back: The Championship Returns Tonight!
It seems only yesterday that we were all in the humdrums of the World Cup, singing ‘Football’s Coming Home’ and confident that those brave men wearing the Three Lions upon their chest would bring it home. However, reality has set in, England didn’t exactly bring it home, and tonight marks the start of a whole new season!
The anticipation, expectation and nerves that only football can bring is back this evening, and whilst we may have to wait another week until the Premier League gets underway, the unpredictability of the Championship is on hand to get us in the mood.
Tonight’s offering sees Reading play host to Derby County who will see new boss, England legend Frank Lampard, take his managerial bow. Here at Champions Football Speakers we give a lowdown on what you can expect this season.
The relegated teams from the Premier League are often amongst the favourites when it comes to gaining promotion, but the Potters are perhaps best equipped than any other team in this division. They may have lost star man Xherdan Shaqiri to Liverpool, but their recruitment has been impeccable bringing in striker Benik Afobe, winger Tom Ince, World Cup star Oghenekaro Etebo and defender Ashley Williams on loan from Everton.
All of these players are more than capable at performing at this level and the fact they’ve managed to keep hold of the likes of Joe Allen and (at the time of writing) Jack Butland, bodes well.
After a poor start to last season Boro had a mini-resurgence under Tony Pulis at the back end of last term. With Pulis, they have a manger who is more than capable at achieving an automatic promotion place, and despite it looking likely they will lose Adama Traore and Ben Gibson to the holy land of the Premier League, they still have a strong enough spine to cause opposition problems.
It seems that Forest have been lingering in the Championship bottom half for an eternity, and it is almost unbelievable to consider that this team once won two back-to-back European Cups. However, following the successful model Wolves utilised last season, and with the help of super-agent Jorge Mendes, they could find themselves right amongst it come May.
Their Portuguese revolution includes the acquisitions of Joao Carvalho, Gil Dias and Diogo Goncalves who are all sure to make an impact at the City Ground.
The Ones To Watch
The managerial merry-go-round at Leeds has been in full motion once again this summer. It was goodbye Paul Heckingbottom and hello former Argentina boss Marcelo Biesla in Yorkshire, and this is one that really could go either way. On paper, Leeds could have a squad more than capable at pushing for a top six spot, but the combination of Leeds’ trigger happy owners, and Biesla’s famously volatile behaviour, anything really could happen at Elland Road this year.
When England and Chelsea legend, Frank Lampard OBE, was announced as the Rams’ manager in May eyebrows were raised.
However, if pre-season is anything to go by, he has taken to management like a duck to water. The positive style of play has gone down well with the locals and they have also done well in the transfer market. If Jack Marriott can bring the kind of form he was showing in League One at Peterborough to the Championship he will do well, and they have two very exciting prospects on loan in the form of Mason Mount and Harry Wilson who have came in from Chelsea and Liverpool respectively.
From being one match away from the Premier League, to being at the heart of a financial crisis, Aston Villa now find themselves somewhere in between. Investment from Egyptian and American billionaires got Villa out of hot water, and despite rumours of Arsenal and France legend Thierry Henry taking over, Steve Bruce remains in charge.
The side probably need to add some players to their current squad if they are to really challenge, but with star player Jack Grealish seemingly on his way out for big money, this could provide the necessary funds to invest big.
Who will face the drop?
Having returned to the Championship via the play-offs last season, The Millers are amongst the favourites to make a swift return to the third tier. Paul Warne’s side are thin on the ground when it comes to Championship quality players, but Warne will be hoping his side can dig deep and earn enough points to stay up.
The Trotters have a vastly experienced team with the likes Clayton Donaldson, Adam le Fondre, Craig Noone and David Wheater all still plying their trade in the Championship. Despite this they are missing that special ‘spark’. That player that can change a game on its head isn’t really present in their squad. Sammy Ameobi goes some way to providing it, but this might not be enough to keep them up.
It was only three years ago that QPR were last in the Premier League and managed by Harry Redknapp, but it seems a lot longer than that. Now the side are a lot closer to the bottom than the top of the Championship and this year could see them slip into League One. Their squad isn’t particularly inspiring when you get past Conor Washington and Massimo Luongo, so don’t be surprised if they are drawn into a relegation scrap this season.
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