A team that was playing Premier League football last season, Watford, will play the first game of the new English Championship season. When both sides clash on Friday, it will mark the beginning of what is expected to be a very long season, for players and managers alike.
No thanks to the pandemic, 46 rounds of Championship games now have to be played in the space of eight months! As fans enjoy these games, managers will sweat over player injuries, time for recovery, and the many mid-week games they have to play.
What used to be a gruesome league will now become more gruesome. A nightmare for the players, but it’s bliss for punters. As the season kicks off this weekend, what teams or games should you be on the lookout for?
Before we talk about the games, there’s something you should know about the Opening Day of the English Championship. They usually feature a lot of goals.
In the first round of the 2019/2020 season,
- Nine of the 12 games saw both teams score
- Only three finished with less than two goals on the scoreboard
- Five of the 24 teams scored three goals
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Brentford came agonizingly close to gaining promotion to the Premier League last season. Having fallen short, they will attempt another shot at it this season. They scored the most goals in the league last season and will look to replicate that again, even though they have lost one of their star players.
Cardiff City and Swansea are the two other sides that made the playoffs but fell short. For them, just like Brentford, finishing in the top three spots will be the goal this time around. At least, they can avoid the pain of having to play more games in the playoffs.
Coventry, Rotherham, and Wycombe are the newcomers in this division. Staying up will be chief among their priorities. And they can’t do that if they start off their season on a losing note. Two of them, however, Rotherham and Wycombe, start the season with a game against each other.
Will this be the first win for them?
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While there’s also Stoke City, and Wayne Rooney’s Derby County, the league will also feature Norwich and Bournemouth, two sides that also got relegated from the Premier League.
Norwich’s first game is away to Huddersfield Town. The last six editions of this game have seen a combined 22 goals scored – an average of over 3,5 goals per game. Bournemouth needed a 94th minute winner the last time they faced Blackburn.
Callum Wilson was the scorer of that goal.
But when they face Rovers this weekend, they will have to do it without their striker, who has now joined Newcastle United.
All is set for the first round of Championship games this season. Which team will you be cheering this weekend? Drop your comments below and join the conversation.