The EFL Championship returned with a bang on Friday the 2nd of August.
The 2019/20 campaign began at newly-promoted Luton Town who, along with Middlesbrough, treated us to a superb game of football filled with spectacular goals.
That tie ended 3-3, with a draw probably a fair result.
Game-week 2 will kick off on Saturday the 10th of August.
Leeds vs Nottingham Forest
The first game of 2 two sees Leeds United host Nottingham Forest in Saturday’s early kick-off.
After finishing 3rd last season and having a disappointing showing in the play-offs, Leeds were no doubt keen to get this campaign off to a solid start.
And Marcelo Bielsa’s side did exactly that away to Bristol City. They dominated the tie and came away with a 3-1 win.
As for Leeds’ opponents this coming Saturday, Nottingham Forest, their 2019/20 started with a defeat.
Forest hosted West Brom and took the lead inside eight minutes.
However, two goalkeeping errors meant that the Baggies were able to claw their way back into the tie.
With Leeds looking as solid as ever, and Forest’s goalkeeper rather nervous, we could well see another Leeds victory this weekend.
Prediction: Leeds 3-Nottingham Forest 0
Hull vs Reading
Hull City’s 2018/19 Championship campaign ended with them failing to win any of their last five outings.
That poor form continued last weekend, as they lost 2-1 to Swansea, despite the Welsh side losing several key players over the summer.
Like Hull, Reading began their campaign with a defeat.
They took on Sheffield Wednesday and lost 3-1 at home.
Neither side really looked that great during their first games of the new season.
Prediction: Hull 1-Reading 0
West Brom vs Millwall
As mentioned above, West Brom’s campaign began with a 2-1 win away to Nottingham Forest.
While West Brom did get quite lucky with their goals, they looked pretty impressive under Slaven Bilic.
New signing Romaine Sawyers also looks to have been a great buy. He helped the Baggies out a lot in midfield vs Forest.
As for Millwall, while they struggled for form at home somewhat last season, they picked up a 1-0 victory vs Preston at The Den last weekend.
Prediction: West Brom 2-Millwall 1
Derby vs Swansea
With Derby having lost the likes of Frank Lampard, Mason Mount and Harry Wilson this summer, people may have expected the Rams to have a poorer 2019/20.
However, Derby kicked off their new season with a 2-1 win away to recently relegated Huddersfield.
Tom Lawrence scored both of their goals, and both were excellent.
Like Derby, Swansea lost some big players over the summer, including Daniel James and top scorer Ollie McBurnie. Both of the Swans’ stars moved up to the Premier League. Despite this, they still beat Hull 2-1.
However, Derby are much tougher opposition, and Swansea may struggle, especially away from home.
Prediction: Derby 2- Swansea 0
Charlton vs Stoke
Newly-promoted Charlton began their return to the Championship with a 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers.
Charlton’s top scorer from last season, Lyle Taylor, would mark his Championship debut with a goal.
However, Charlton could be set to lose their main man, with Sky Sports reporting that Brentford are interested in signing him.
Brentford are in talks with Charlton to sign striker Lyle Taylor, according to Sky Sources
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) August 6, 2019
There have also been reports that Middlesbrough are looking to complete a deal for Charlton defender Anfernee Dijksteel.
Should Charlton lose both players before Thursday’s transfer deadline, it would be a huge blow for the club.
As for Charlton’s opponents Stoke, they began their season in rather disappointing fashion, with a 2-1 loss at home to QPR.
Prediction: Charlton 1- Stoke 1
Cardiff vs Luton
Cardiff were handed a reality check last weekend in their first game back in England’s second division.
The Welsh side would lose 3-2 away to Wigan, who finished last season down in 18th spot.
Their second game is against a fellow newcomer to the Championship, Luton Town.
While Luton did put on a great showing against Boro last week, they were at home, and their home record played a key role in their promotion last term.
Luton are currently 27 games unbeaten at home. But an away trip to a side as strong as Cardiff may prove too much for them.
Prediction: Cardiff 2-Luton 0
Preston vs Wigan
Preston’s season hasn’t started too well, as they lost 1-0 away to Millwall, who are usually pretty poor at home.
Wigan, on the other hand, looked a much stronger side than last season as they beat recently relegated Cardiff 3-2 last weekend.
Should both sides show similar form on Saturday, a Wigan win looks likely.
Prediction: Preston 1- Wigan 2
Sheffield Wednesday vs Barnsley
Despite not having appointed a permanent boss since Steve Bruce left, Sheffield Wednesday started the season on a bright note with a dominant win over Reading.
Barnsley also looked in top form on their return to the Championship.
They took on Fulham last weekend, who, on paper, have one of the strongest squads in the league.
However, Barnsley were able to keep Fulham’s attack quiet, and come away with a 1-0 victory.
As a result, Wednesday should not take the newly-promoted team lightly when they go head-to-head on Saturday.
Prediction: Sheffield Wednesday 0- Barnsley 1
Fulham vs Blackburn
As mentioned above, Fulham’s promotion push got off to a very poor start last weekend, as they lost to Barnsley.
However, this weekend sees them at home to a Blackburn side that didn’t look too great vs Charlton in the opening round.
So, it is likely that Fulham will earn their first three points of the season against Tony Mowbray’s side.
Prediction: Fulham 3-Blackburn 0
QPR vs Huddersfield
Despite finishing 19th last season, and losing Luke Freeman over the summer, QPR kicked off their new season with a win over Stoke.
Huddersfield, on the other hand, lost 2-1 to Derby, and only found the back of the net due to them being awarded a penalty.
The Terriers struggled for goals in the PL last year, and after failing to strengthen that department too much over the summer, it looks as though they could be plagued with similar problems this season.
Prediction: QPR 1-Huddersfield 0
Birmingham vs Bristol City
Birmingham would beat Brentford 1-0 away from home last weekend.
However, while that seems like a decent result, they did get pretty lucky, having had just one shot all game.
Dear EA Sports. Can you make sure Birmingham’s Kristian Pedersen is rated 99 for heading in the new edition of FIFA?
Because this header from *OUTSIDE THE BOX* is truly obscene 🤯 pic.twitter.com/9ivNH2nFa3
— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) August 5, 2019
Birmingham also had to play on Tuesday evening in the League Cup, meaning some of their players may be slightly tired.
Bristol, on the other hand, are a decent side, but were outclassed by Leeds last Sunday, and will be hopeful of a much better showing this weekend.
Prediction: Birmingham 1-Bristol 2
Middlesbrough vs Brentford
With Middlesbrough now under the management of Jonathan Woodgate, they look much better going forward.
Marvin Johnson and Ashley Fletcher both looked like news players vs Luton, and Lewis Wing was in top form.
The only negative from Woodgate’s new-look Boro side was that they didn’t look that great at the back.
Given the fact that Ryan Shotton was playing at centre-back, and Jonny Howson right-back, it’s not too surprising, as Howson is naturally a central midfielder, while Shotton spent much of last season as a right-back.
However, as referenced earlier in the article, Boro could be set to land Charlton defender Dijksteel, which would certainly improve their back-line.
Brentford, on the other hand, failed to score against Birmingham last weekend, and have now lost top striker Neal Maupay to Brighton.
Prediction: Middlesbrough 2-Brentford 1