December seems to be a more problematic month for some of the clubs that started this season well. Some others can see this matchweek as a perfect opportunity to finally get their play-off spot back. Aston Villa and Sheffield United are in bad form lately, and now they are playing each other. With a win, Leeds United will get back in play-offs, while Preston and Ipswich are waiting to achieve the same. As much as this gameweek will be hard on some clubs, you can feel the excitement that these weekend’s fixtures are bringing.
Norwich vs Brentford
First game will be played on Friday when Norwich will try to get another good result at home. However, the fact that they are playing against Brentford is telling us that this will be one tough game. Brentford has not been great away from home this season, but they have lost only one of their last five games. For both clubs, this is a big challenge; they both concede a lot, and setting a good defence might be a key to winning this one. However, draw should be the most likely outcome.
Bolton vs Cardiff
Cardiff needs to start winning away games in order to maintain second, and playing against Bolton might be a perfect chance for them to achieve that. Few days ago Sky Sports published a “Top 10 Sky Bet Championship players of the season so far” list, where Sol Bamba took a third place being an only defender in that list. Facts like that are proving how good Cardiff’s defence is, and since Bolton has the worst defence in Championship so far, it shouldn’t be a problem for Cardiff to score and try to keep a clean sheet too.
Cardiff to win: 0-2
Derby vs Millwall
There is no easy game in Championship, but for Derby County, this one should be. Millwall still hasn’t won a single away game, while Derby has been brilliant at home. Although Millwall is not conceding a lot, their defence will have a hard time trying to stop Matej Vydra who has been magnificent for Derby this season. In order to continue their great run, Derby will need a win on Saturday, and playing against Millwall at home should be a perfect way for them to achieve that.
Derby to win: 1-0
Fulham vs Barnsley
Although they’ve lost against Sunderland, Fulham is getting back in form. They have been getting some good results lately, and as much as playing against Barnsley can be a tough challenge sometimes, they are the better side in this one. From their last seven matches, Barnsley took only 2 points, with that being said, Barnsley might be in the worst form in Championship at a moment. So with Fulham having a big chance of getting up, it should be expected from Jokanovic to bring a more attacking line up.
Fulham to win: 2-0
Leeds vs Hull
Now, this game must be a best opportunity for Leeds United lately. It’s simple, if they win – they are back in play-offs again! Hull has won only one game away so far, while Leeds has been magnificent lately. It will be a hard task for Hull’s defence to stop Samuel Saiz, Egzijan Alioski or Kemar Roofe from scoring since those three have been amazing for Leeds this season. It should be expected from Thomas Christiansen’s side to give their best to win this one.
Leeds to win: 2-1
Preston vs Nottingham Forest
Saturday is a great opportunity for Preston too; the only difference is that they are playing against much better opponent. Nottingham Forest has not been amazing away from home this season, but they are in quite good form. A lot of goals should be expected as both sides will enter this game with an aim to win. As Nottingham Forest has been conceding a lot, their defence will have a problem trying to keep Jordan Hugill from scoring. With Preston being in better form, there is a better chance for them to win this one.
Preston to win: 3-1
QPR vs Bristol City
Bristol City has won against Manchester United in Carabao Cup on Wednesday, but since they didn’t have enough time to rest, this game will be much harder for them. QPR has been good at home this season, but playing against such a good opponent can be tough even when you’re playing at home. It is hard to predict what line up will Lee Johnson bring, but it will be hard for Bristol City to win this one too.
Reading vs Burton
Reading has been good at home lately, and Burton is still having a hard time finding a back of the net. Although Jaap Stam is having a big issue with injuries, they will certainly work hard to continue their good run at home. This game is a big opportunity for both clubs, but Reading is in better form currently and their squad posses more quality. Modou Barrow has been magnificent for Reading lately and Burton’s defence will have a trouble trying to stop him.
Reading to win: 1-0
Sheffield Wednesday vs Middlesbrough
Both clubs are on the bad run. Middlesbrough lost three of their last away games and now they are in position where they need a win to continue their fight for play-offs. Sheffield Wednesday has been good at home this season, but they are having a big challenge in front of them. If Britt Assombalonga has a good day on Saturday, Middlesbrough will certainly win, but he hasn’t scored in their last 4 games. A lot of goals should be expected from this one, with Middlesbrough having a slightly better chance of winning.
Middlesbrough to win: 1-2
Sunderland vs Birmingham
In their last game against Fulham, Sunderland has won at home after 364 days. Now they are playing against their direct opponent. Birmingham has been in awful form this season and they lost seven of their nine away games. Chris Coleman is obviously making Sunderland’s season much better. For Birmingham’s defence, it will be a big problem trying to stop Lewis Grabban, who has been amazing for Sunderland this season.
Sunderland to win: 2-0
Wolves vs Ipswich
Although Ipswich will hope for a surprise here, Wolves are almost unstoppable this season. Diogo Jota and Leo Bonatini are maybe the best players in Championship this season, and with Wolves playing the way they are, they already look like a Premier League side. Ipswich on the other side are conceding a lot, especially away from home, so it will be hard for them to get some points from this one.
Wolves to win: 2-0
Aston Villa vs Sheffield United
Looking at fixtures, you can see that this is probably the most important game in Championship this matchweek. Both clubs were in great position before December started, now instead of them fighting for a second place, one of them can easily lose their play-off spot. Although it is expected from Chris Wilder to bring more attacking line up, both clubs will rely on their defence, so it shouldn’t be a surprise if both clubs manage to keep a clean sheet.