Championship Predictions

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Championship Predictions

Post  Saintjersey on Wed Aug 06, 2008 6:13 pm

My Championship Predictions

1. Birmingham – Boast the strongest forward line in the division, so expect plenty of goals from the Midlanders, who might have to play 3 up front - with such talented strikers as Kevin Phillips, Cameron Jerome, Garry O’Connor and James McFadden; who can also play in midfield. Goals from the middle of the park could come in handy too with the likes of Gary McSheffery and Sebastian Larsson remaining at the club and with the addition of defensive midfielder Lee Carsley, coupled with an already strong defence, the Blues should run away with the title.


2. Sheffield United – Only just missed out on the play-offs last season and that included half a season with highly criticised Brian Robson at the helm. Current boss Kevin Blackwell also has the luxury of plenty of attacking options, with Darius Henderson replacing Rob Hulse who went to Derby, adding to an already strong forward line of James Beattie, Jon Stead and Billy Sharp – who flattered to deceive last season, but is a player I feel can make a breakthrough this season. Blackwell has made some decent signings in Greg Halford and David Cotterill and with an already solid core of Kenny, Naismith, Killgallon and Tonge, I expect Sheffield United to be challenging for a top two position.


3. Reading – Steve Coppell is a manager who can be relied upon to deliver the goods at this level and with a Reading team that hasn’t seen many absentees (only Dave Kitson and the impending departure of Nicky Shorey), they can challenge for an automatic promotion place, but just missing out – Kevin Doyle should net his fair share of goals, but can Leroy Lita and new signing Noel Hunt manage if he gets injured?


4. Wolverhampton Wanderers – For me, Wolves have a strong core in their team, in goal, Wayne Hennessey has been touted as a future premiership star and I can see why, with plenty of clean sheets last season. Richard Stearman has been added to the defence and this should ease Wolves fans ‘worries that they are short in the centre back position. I like the flair that Wolves possess with Elokobi and Foley at full back and Kightly and Jarvis on the wings and up front they have plenty of variety with last season’s top scorer Sylvain Ebanks-Blake providing them with power, pace and finishing, whilst new addition Chris Iwelumo will play as a target man and Andy Keogh will work tirelessly down the channels to get assists for his team mates. I think the squad is strong, but I’m a little sceptical of Mick McCarthy’s ability as manager.


5. Queens Park Rangers – Money, Money, Money. QPR have come into serious money, but I’d dare to say that their signings have been solid, rather than spectacular. Kaspars Gorkks was a star performer in the Blackpool defence last season and should be a decent capture, whilst the signing of Real Madrid “wonderkid” Dani Parejo could prove exciting in midfield along with creative talent Akos Buzsaky. Upfront I wouldn’t call them prolific, but I expect Briatore and co will spend seriously in the January transfer window to catapult the club into the play-offs.


6. Ipswich Town – Their home form was sensational last season and if they can keep that up and prove harder to beat away from home, then they should be challenging for a play off place. Again they have been rumoured to have money, which I think they will spend in January and their most notable signing to date for me, would be Kevin Lisbie from Colchester, who scored plenty in a struggling team last season. Watch out for young forward Danny Haynes as he gets an extended run in the first team.


7. Norwich City – I think Norwich will be the surprise of the season and could challenge towards the top six, but will ultimately miss out. Last season, Glenn Roeder did a great job steering the club from danger and signing some good youngsters on loan. This time around, Arturo Lupoli has signed and could create a good partnership with Jamie Cureton (if he manages to stay injury free unlike last season), whilst they’ve shipped out overpaid pansy Darren Huckerby, they’ve done good business by replacing him with Wes Hoolahan from Blackpool, who is younger, hungrier and equally as creative. In defence, ex-pomp*y player Dejan Stefanovic has joined and his previous teammate at Fulham Elliot Omozuzi has joined on loan – a young defender with good potential.


8. Bristol City – I can’t see them proving to be one season wonders, as unlike previous examples Luton and Colchester, they’ve managed to keep hold of their better players. One thing that will go against them, is the fact that they are no longer a surprise package, however with Gary Johnson (who I rate highly) in charge and the signing of striker Nicky Maynard from Crewe, I think they have the quality to challenge in and around the top six.


9. Derby County – Have completely changed the squad from last season with a whole host of new signings, which could mean a while in getting used to each other. I think this season will be a season of consolidation for the rams, after their disaster season last year, but the signings of players such as Albrechtson, Commons, Hulse and Ellington, along with the quality of player like Giles Barnes, means that they won’t be far off the top six.


10. Crystal Palace – Neil Warnock is a great manager at this level and did an excellent job last season, but I don’t think he’ll add to his record of getting teams into the playoffs. He has done well to bring in midfielder Nick Carle from Bristol City to replace soon to be outgoing Ben Watson, but with the departure of Clinton Morrison, it is hard to see where regular goals will come from. Watch out for youngster Victor Moses, though.
And the rest...


11. Burnley – Have lost Kyle Lafferty and this could prove to be a big loss, however have bought well in highly rated striker Martin Patterson from Scunthorpe and talented Manchester United midfielder Chris Eagles. I can see them adopting a direct style of play, which could see them doing well in the division this season.


12. Coventry City – Aren’t in a great financial position to bring in players, but the signing of Kieran Westwood is a good one as he proved himself to be on the better goalkeepers outside of the premiership last season, also Clinton Morrison and Freddy Eastwood should get the goals that will se Coventry finish solidly in Chris Coleman’s first full season in charge.


13. Nottingham Forest – Only just promoted from league one, but by no means relegation favourites. They have bought well in Andy Cole and especially Rob Earnshaw – who is proven to score plenty of goals in this division. Guy Moussi is a player I’ve great things about from the Forest fans, so it’ll be interesting to see his effect on the team.


14. Cardiff City – The FA cup finalists from last season have done well to retain the services of highly rated players Joe Ledley and Roger Johnson and despite managing a decent deal to sign Motherwell striker Ross McCormack on a free transfer, I can’t see the team being prolific scorers and may have to play Paul Parry as a make-shift striker, if injuries to McCormack and fellow new signing Jay Bothroyd occur.


15. Charlton Athletic – Alan Pardew is facing a lot of pressure from the fans at the Valley and I can’t see things getting any better for the London side. They’ve had to ship out a few players this summer to help with finances and haven’t really replaced them to my knowledge. That said they still possess a decent enough squad with the likes of Darren Ambrose and Andy Gray to finish in a solid mid-table position.


16. Swansea City – Could do well under the guidance of manager Roberto Martinez. In Ferrie Bodde they have one of the championship’s more sought after players and goals from Jason Scotland and some of the unknown (to most) Spanish players that he’s brought in, could surprise a few people.


17. Watford – Watford are in a bit of a minor crisis at the moment and after losing Marlon King in the January transfer window, they’ve now lost Nathan Ellington, Danny ****tu and Darius Henderson; in a bid to reduce their wage bill. They ended last season poorly and I can see this season continuing their poor form – it’s hard to see where goals will come from, Tamas Priskin as their only recognised striker.

18. Southampton – As a Southampton fan, this is me being at my most pessimistic. A lot of pundits are tipping us for the drop, but I can’t see this happening. We have a new Dutch set-up, which is largely unknown to most English football fans and we’re in financial trouble too. This means we’ll be relying heavily on youngsters this season, however what people may forget is that we have arguably the strongest academy in the division and most of our youngsters have been playing together for 3 or 4 years in a winning team, they know how each other play and this could prove to our advantage, especially as most teams won’t know much about our younger players. The return of Michael Svennson in defence is huge for us and if he can stay fit, this will prove to be like a new signing. Young midfielder Morgan Sneiderlin signed from France and he’s looks very impressive in pre-season and will be pulling the strings at the heart of our 4-2-1-2-1 system. Although we’ve hardly had many departures (Safri and Viafara so far, plus a few others that we’ve released), expect to see Skacel, Saganowski, Rasiak/John to follow, as we look to reduce our wage bill – this could be very problematic in the goal-scoring department as we may rely too much on young striker David McGoldrick. I can see us playing fast paced exciting football, which could see us vulnerable on the counter attack (that should be Ok though as most teams in this division lump it forward anyway and are unaware how to play fast counter attacking football), but our new system and the fact we’ll be playing players who have little championship experience, means that it really is a hard to predict where we will finish and I am being quite cautious at the moment.


19. Sheffield Wednesday – Have pretty much the same squad that struggled last season, so I can’t see them drastically improving.


20. Preston North End – Who will score the goals for Preston? (Hang on, I remember saying that before we lost to them 5-1 last season ha-ha) I think they’ve enough in them to stay up, the signing of Ross Wallace on loan is a decent one, but perhaps they should have signed a striker...


21. Barnsley – Again, goals could be a problem, as they rely too much on Brian Howard in midfield. They’ve signed Iain Hume who is a decent capture and I think he can breathe a sigh of relief in May, as he personally avoids a second successive relegation (after last season with Leicester)


22. Plymouth – have lost most of their key players in recent times. After losing Sylvain Ebanks-Blake and David Norris in January, how will they cope a whole season without them? They’ve just lost influential left winger Peter Halmosi too. I can see Plymouth being a surprise relegation team, as a team low on confidence from losing their best players and strike-force of Steven Maclean, Rory Fallon and Jermaine Easter, simply doesn’t deliver the goods. Sorry.


23. Blackpool – They did well last season, but it’s hard to see where they can push on, especially after losing Wes Hoolahan and Kaspars Gorkks. They’ve also signed Jermaine Wright and Adam Hammill (Saints fans will know what I mean!!). Sorry.


24. Doncaster – Did well to get promoted, but I simply don’t know enough about Doncaster to make an educated prediction on where they’ll finish. I think they will go down, but only have them bottom as I can’t think of anyone else realistically finishing bottom. Sorry


Please feel free to create predictions for any other leagues.
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Saintjersey
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Re: Championship Predictions

Post  spurs@heart on Wed Aug 06, 2008 9:32 pm

That is pretty comprehensive Saintjersey... Some good predictions in there but im tipping Doncaster to do well and finish around 15th and safe from the drop. As for Southampton - should finish top of the table Smile
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Re: Championship Predictions

Post  jawlk on Tue Aug 26, 2008 3:33 am

Nice list there Saint. However I must comment on 9. about Derby County. Im my opinion Giles Barnes isn't all that great of a athlete and I believe that County won't make it to the top 6, not far off maybe, but they definitely won't be in the top 6.
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Re: Championship Predictions

Post  Nostromo on Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:46 am

A pretty fair summary I think - Birmingham have done well to keep the side together which can sometimes be a struggle following relegation. After all, most players would rather be playing in the top flight at least for the good of their careers if not the obvious financial benefits. Reading and Sheffield United would at least be in my top four finishers - They've got good squads, decent managers and experience from playing top flight football which should give them that bit more determination and ambition to do well.

I'd like to see Doncaster stay up, it's always difficult for newly promoted clubs as it's inevitably a big step. Their squad probably isn't strong enough for the Championship yet and one or two injuries to key players could put them in a precarious position. Having said that, for me it's all about survival this year and picking up points where they can will be crucial. Their defence was reasonable last season so if they can keep it tight at the back and create even a few goals up front, they should be able to do enough to avoid going straight back down.

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Re: Championship Predictions

Post  sportscrazy on Sun Aug 31, 2008 12:04 am

hmmm its early to say abt champianship... but we can give some prediction that Doncaster will do well and finish around 10th and will save themselves from the drop. As for Southampton - should finish top of the table most probaly.

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