We have a few big games in Championship this weekend, especially the one between Cardiff and Wolves. Cardiff can easily get a straight promotion, but can they finish first? And if they lose, will Fulham be able to get a second spot from them? After this weekend, some things will certainly be more clear.
Cardiff vs Wolverhampton
Cardiff has a game in hand and this is the perfect opportunity for them to get the first place. However, although they are magnificent at home, they are playing against the best team in Championship. Both clubs will give their best to win; we should expect a real fight from this one. I believe that both clubs will rely on their defence since both managers are having more defensive approach to the game, and although I expect both clubs to score, I think that draw should be the most realistic outcome in this one.
Barnsley vs Sheffield United
Sheffield United almost got a win against Cardiff on Monday, they need a win to get back in play-offs and their next few games won’t be easy. Luckily for them, Barnsley is an easy opponent. They are back in relegation zone and this time it’s much harder for them to get out of there. Leon Clarke and Billy Sharp are both fit for Sheffield United and I would expect them both to play as they need more options upfront. Sheffield United will attack, they will try to win and I believe that they will score more than once on Saturday.
Sheffield United to win: 0-2
Norwich vs Aston Villa
Aston Villa had a win and a clean sheet against Reading, now they can get back on tracks. Norwich is not so good when they play at home, they are struggling to score, but more importantly, they are struggling to defend. Aston Villa is magnificent in attack; they’ve got Robert Snodgrass, Albert Adomah and Scott Hogan who’s been in good form lately. They just needed to organize their defence again, and clean sheet against Reading can be a big boost for their defence. Even if they concede, Aston Villa will probably score more than one and win this game.
Aston Villa to win: 0-2
Birmingham vs Burton
If Birmingham wins this one, they need to keep Garry Monk as their manager. They were almost relegated when he arrived, and now they have a chance to win their fourth game in a row. Burton can be a tough side when they play away from home, but I just can’t see them getting out of the relegation zone this season. Birmingham is playing attacking football now, they will put pressure on Burton’s defence and in some point I am expecting them to score, since Burton is conceding too much this season.
Birmingham to win: 1-0
Brentford vs Ipswich
You just can’t predict what Brentford is going to do. One day they are winning an away game against Bristol City, next day they can lose against Ipswich. But if you look at the facts, Brentford is having a much better season then Ipswich, especially when it comes to the last few months. Brentford is in better form, they are getting better results and they are having a better squad. With a win, they can have a small chance of getting in fight for play-offs again, so Brentford is certainly more motivated to win then Ipswich is.
Brentford to win: 1-0
Derby vs Bolton
Now, Derby County is a mystery lately. They’ve almost lost their play-off spot, and although they are not having a chance of getting a straight promotion, they need a win to stay in play-offs and to get back on tracks. Gary Rowett is an excellent manager, and if they get back on the tracks now, this losing run won’t affect his team when it comes to play-offs. There is no better opportunity to get back on the winning run then a home game against Bolton. Bolton is awful when it comes to an away performance, they are conceding far too many and their defence just doesn’t stand a chance against players like Matej Vydra.
Derby to win: 3-0
Hull vs QPR
Now, this might sound like a boring game, but I would expect a lot of goals from this one. Hull just scored two goals against Wolves in their last game, they’ve managed to get a draw, and QPR concede a lot when they play away from home. I would expect both teams to score, but considering the fact that QPR is not so good when it comes to an away performance, Hull is having a much better chance of winning this one.
Hull to win: 2-1
Leeds vs Sunderland
Can Sunderland get an away win against Leeds? They have to! Sunderland is not having a lot of chances to get out of the relegation zone, their away performance is decent and Leeds is falling apart recently. This will certainly be a tough game, both managers are having a counter attacking style of play, but Chris Coleman has been more successful this season considering the fact that Sunderland is not having such a good squad. I would not expect a lot of goals from this one, but I am expecting a surprise from Sunderland.
Sunderland to win: 0-1
Middlesbrough vs Nottingham Forest
On Saturday, Aitor Karanka will face his former side, Middlesbrough. Nottingham Forest is not having good results lately while Middlesbrough is fighting to stay in play-offs. Middlesbrough is simply having a better squad then Nottingham Forest, they have more options in attack, they are in better form and they play at home. For me, there is only one outcome in this one, Middlesbrough has to win and get back on tracks in order to stay in play-offs.
Middlesbrough to win: 2-0
Millwall vs Bristol City
Here we have the direct opponents again, and although they are in completely the same position, Millwall is in much better form lately then most of their direct opponents. Bristol City had some awful results away from home lately, they couldn’t manage to get a win against Burton and Barnsley, and now they will have to play against Millwall. Millwall is chasing play-offs, their last few games are against the best sides in the league, and they need a win now. Bristol City is conceding a lot, and they are struggling to score away from home, they have been great this season, but they haven’t been good enough lately to get a good result against Millwall.
Millwall to win: 1-0
Reading vs Preston
Another hard task for Paul Clement, but this time Reading will play at home. Preston is one of the best teams when it comes to an away performance, but they’ve lost their last two games and when you play with a lot of pressure you can easily make a mistake. I don’t expect Reading to win, Paul Clement is an excellent manager when it comes to fight for survival, he can rely on his defence and let his team wait for their chance from a counter. That is exactly what Reading will do on Saturday, and although I expect from both teams to score, I don’t think that any side will win this one.
Sheffield Wednesday vs Fulham
If Cardiff loses, Fulham will still have a chance of getting a straight promotion. They are in amazing form, their defence is well organized and their attack is excellent. For me, Fulham is one of the sides that will get promoted this season, but play-offs are always a risk, and if you have a chance of getting a straight promotion, you need to fight until the end. Sheffield Wednesday won their last few games, but they don’t look good enough to compete with clubs teams like Fulham.
Fulham to win: 0-2