First round in New Year is promising us a lot of excitement when it comes to Championship football. Leeds United lost their last match, but so did Norwich City, so not much has changed on the top except the gap is smaller now. These are our predictions for the first Championship round in 2019.
Aston Villa vs Queens Park Rangers
There is no question of who has the better attack of these two sides, but Queens Park Rangers is certainly one of the best teams in the league. Aston Villa has the advantage of playing home and they really need a win at the moment, but Queens Park Rangers are not an easy opponent and this game will certainly be a tough challenge for both teams. I would expect both teams to score in this one as this will most likely be a very exciting game, but Aston Villa has a better team and for me they have a better chance to win.
Aston Villa to win: 2-1
Blackburn Rovers vs West Bromwich Albion
West Bromwich Albion managed to get only a point against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, so they will be looking to get all three points here. However, Dwight Gayle is injured and Jay Rodriguez is out due to a red card, so without their best two players it will be hard to get a win against excellent Blackburn side. Although Blackburn Rovers have lost their last three matches, they were playing against Sheffield United, Norwich and Leeds. I believe that both teams will score, but this game will most likely end with a draw.
Brentford vs Norwich City
Brentford is waking up, and we all know that they have an excellent team. They are trying defensive football and it’s working so far. Norwich on the other hand has lost their last game against Derby County although they had a 3-2 lead, so they will be looking to get some easy points against Brentford. I expect Norwich to attack from the start, to create more chances and gain more possession. Teemu Pukki is in excellent form, and I expect him to be a top scorer in Championship after this game.
Norwich City to win: 0-3
Derby County vs Middlesbrough
One of the most interesting matches in this round will be a clash between Derby County and Middlesbrough. They are direct opponents, they have the same amount of points, and if one of these two teams wins, they will have a big advantage. Currently, Derby County seems to be in better form than Middlesbrough, but Middlesbrough has lost only two away games so far. First match between these two teams in this season has finished 1-1, I expect a draw again, but this time I believe that both sides can keep a clean sheet.
Hull City vs Bolton Wanderers
After beating Leeds United away from home, Hull City is definitely a team that is in best form in Championship at the moment. They are unbeaten in last seven matches and they have won their last four. For a long time they were struggling at the bottom, but now they can even think about play-offs with this form. Bolton Wanderers are one of the worse teams in Championship this season, and although they’ve managed to get some good results lately, they can easily get back in relegation zone after this game.
Hull City to win: 2-0
Ipswich Town vs Millwall
Ipswich Town had two good games lately, and now they can get back on tracks with this one. I don’t think that Ipswich is any better now with new managed, but it’s a fact that Millwall is the worst side in Championship when it comes to an away performance, with only three points in 12 away games so far. Both teams are in bad form this season, and although I expect both teams to score in this one, I believe that Ipswich Town can end this game being a better side.
Ipswich Town to win: 2-1
Nottingham Forest vs Leeds United
Leeds United has lost their last match, but they were lucky as their rivals lost it too. Nottingham Forest is struggling lately, and although they were near the play-offs this whole season, they are moving down at the moment. I do know that Nottingam Forest has the home advantage in this one, but Leeds United has been a better side throughout the season. Kemar Roofe has been in excellent form lately, and I am expecting him to continue that form on Tuesday against Nottingham Forest.
Leeds United to win: 1-2
Reading vs Swansea City
Reading has got their first point with their new manager in their last match, now they will certainly go for a win. They are generally good at home, and with new manager they will work hard to start a new year with a win. When it comes to Swansea City, they are constantly dropping their form. They are very inconsistent and they have a problem with finding a back of the net. Although Swansea is struggling to score, I think that both teams will manage to get a goal in this one, but Reading has to be a side with a better chance of winning.
Reading to win: 2-1
Rotherham United vs Preston North End
Rotherham United hasn’t won at home in their last four matches, but here is a chance for them to change that. It’s not only that Preston currently isn’t in their best form, but they have been awful away from home this season. They’ve managed to win only two away games so far and they’ve scored only 9 goals in 12 away matches this season. As I said a lot of times throughout this season, Rotherham United is struggling at the bottom, but their home record has been impressive for a team that’s fighting for survival.
Rotherham to win: 1-0
Sheffield Wednesday vs Birmingham City
Sheffield Wednesday hasn’t been that good this season and their home record is actually quite bad. Birmingham City on the other side has been in excellent form so far and I expect them to be a better side in this one. Garry Monk has massively improved a side that almost got relegated last season and they are currently fighting for promotion. They will certainly try to create more chances as they’ll try to get another away win.
Birmingham City to win: 1-2
Stoke City vs Bristol City
These two teams are basically in same form. They have the same amount of points, they’ve both scored 30 goals so far and Bristol City has conceded only one goal less than Stoke City. However, Stoke City has a better squad and they have an advantage of playing at home, which can be crucial at this point. Both teams will certainly work hard to get a win, and both teams will probably score, but I’d say that Stoke City is having a better chance of getting all three points.
Stoke City to win: 2-1
Wigan Athletic vs Sheffield United
Looking at their form in last five matches, Wigan Athletic is the worst team in Championship. Sheffield United on the other side is getting back on the winning run and they are working hard to start fighting for straight promotion again. They are only 4 points bellow Norwich City and every win is important when you are looking to get promoted to Premier League. So, Sheffield United has to win this one, as they won’t get so many chances to play against the team that has the worst form in the league.
Sheffield United to win: 0-2