There is not too many Championship gameweeks in January, but each one of them is very important as few points less can easily get you out of play-offs. For those that are fighting for a second place, this gameweek can change everything. Cardiff has a chance to get their second spot back as Derby will play against Bristol City at home, and Aston Villa can get closer to second spot too if they find a win against Barnsley.
Derby vs Bristol City
On Friday we’ll get a chance to watch, probably, the most important match in this gameweek. Derby County and Bristol City are direct opponents as both clubs are fighting for a second spot. Bristol City had a bad run recently due to their busy schedule, but now they had time to rest and prepare for their big match on Friday. Derby County is great in every position, their defence is amazing and they don’t concede much, their midfield and attack are full of creativity and they produce a lot of goals. Bristol City, however, is excellent in away games, and although they do concede a few, they are magnificent in attack and stopping them from scoring is a big challenge for any defence.
Aston Villa vs Barnsley
On Saturday, Aston Villa will have a chance to get closer to second spot. They are far better side than Barnsley, and playing at home is a big advantage for them. Scott Hogan scored again against Nottingham Forest last Saturday, and he can easily make a difference against Barnsley too. Robert Snodgrass is once again in great form, and keeping him from scoring or getting an assist will be a hard challenge for Barnsley’s defence. Since Aston Villa is amazing in defence, they can easily keep a clean sheet here.
Aston Villa to win: 2-0
Bolton vs Ipswich
Bolton needs to get away from relegation zone as much as they can, and games like this are the biggest opportunity to achieve that. Ipswich is having a great season, but their away performance has been awful so far. One thing is certain; this game is promising a lot of goals and excitement. Gary Madine is in good form for Bolton, while Martyn Waghorn or Joe Garner can find a back of the net for Ipswich.
Bolton to win: 3-1
Fulham vs Burton
Burton has been great in away games so far. They have signed West Ham’s forward Martin Samuelsen on loan and he can bring some creativity to their game. However, Fulham has been in amazing run recently. They managed to get just one point from play-offs, and they will not miss out opportunity like this. Their squad posses much more quality and this should be and easy game for them. There might not be too many goals, but Fulham is certainly having a better chance of winning.
Fulham to win: 2-0
Leeds vs Millwall
After their loss against Ipswich on Saturday, Leeds needs to win in order to continue their fight for play-offs successfully. They will have to play without Samuel Saiz, but Kemar Roofe and Egzijan Alioski are fit to start and make an impact. Luckily for them, Millwall is not so good in away games so Leeds can play without pressure and try to rely on their attack.
Leeds to win: 2-1
Norwich vs Sheffield United
Norwich is not so great at home this season, and after their FA cup game against Chelsea, they will need to rest some players on Saturday. This is a great opportunity for Sheffield United to get back on tracks and start winning again. Lack of creativity led them to a draw against Sheffield Wednesday in previous gameweek, so now they need a win. Leon Clarke will be a big threat for Norwich’s defence, and keeping him from scoring will certainly be a tough challenge.
Sheffield United to win: 0-1
Preston vs Birmingham
Now, Preston is still in fight for play-offs, and although their home performance has been poor so far, playing against Birmingham is perfect opportunity to change that. Birmingham has won only one away game so far this season, and nothing is suggesting that they can get a good result against Preston on Saturday. Jordan Hugill can make a difference and find a back of the net for Preston, while clean sheet can be big boost for their defence.
Preston to win: 2-0
QPR vs Middlesbrough
Well, if there is a game that doesn’t promise a lot of goals, for me that would be this one. Middlesbrough will rely on their defence and wait for their chance from a counter, while QPR can gain more possession, but scoring against Middlesbrough will be a tough challenge for them. Middlesbrough is certainly having a great attack, so not a lot of chances are needed for them to find a back of the net.
Middlesbrough to win: 0-1
Reading vs Brentford
Reading has been awful at home this season, but their 3-0 win against Stevenage in FA cup can be a big boost for the team. Brentford is having a good season, but they play better at home than they do in away games. They do score a lot, but Reading is just one of those tough opponents that can make it hard for anyone to get a win. Although Brentford is having a better chance for winning, I’ll go with a draw in this one.
Sunderland vs Hull
Sunderland is not having too many chances of getting out of the relegation zone, but a game against Hull is certainly one of those chances. Although they have been poor at home so far this season, they improved their game since Chris Coleman took over. Their defence is quite better now, and they are not conceding as much as they did, and since Hull is struggling to find a back of the net, Sunderland can rely on their attack in this one. Since Lewis Grabban has left Sunderland, this is a good chance for young Josh Maja to prove himself and find a back of the net.
Sunderland to win: 1-0
Wolves vs Nottingham Forest
Nottingham Forest hasn’t managed to find an away win against far worse sides than Wolves. Their away performance has been poor this season, and although Aitor Karanka can try to change that, finding an away win against Wolves this season is a really hard challenge. Diogo Jota and Leo Bonatini will once again be big threat for their opponents as they are in amazing form this season.
Wolves to win: 2-0
Sheffield Wednesday vs Cardiff
Last game on Saturday will be another chance for Cardiff City to get their second spot back. Their squad posses more quality, but their away performance is not as good as it should be. Luckily for them, Sheffield Wednesday is in awful form recently and getting some points from this game would be a tough challenge for them. Cardiff City can be confident ahead of their game on Saturday as their 4-0 win against Sunderland will certainly give them a big boost.
Cardiff to win: 1-2