Home News championship roundup 26 feb 08

The Great Race for the Premiership: Stoke, Bristol, Watford, West Brom, Plymouth, Charlton or …?



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This is the first of what will become a weekly round up of the events in the English Championship. A chance for me to let everyone know how my beloved Watford are doing, and to let you know how much hair I have left and how much of it has gone grey.

The answers to those questions this week are, crap draw 0-0 at home to the team 22nd, not much and most of it, respectively.

The race for the Premier League this year is as exciting as it has ever been. Whilst there are no particularly outstanding teams in this year’s Championship, apart from Watford, no, not even I can say that, it is a fact that almost any team in the league can beat any other.

The prospect of weekly humiliation in the Premier League like we suffered last season and Derby are suffering now is just too much to turn down. All of us Championship fans want the chance to see Ronaldo, Rooney, Adabayor, Fabrigas, Drogba, Anelka, Torres and Gerrard make our players look stupid.

So who are the main contenders for promotion?

At the moment the two occupying the automatic places are Stoke City and Bristol City. That must make the big four in the Premier League tremble with fear! I must ask Soccerlens’ own Gerry McDonnell what the odds were on these two thrilling sides getting promotion.

The play-off places are occupied by Watford, West Brom, Plymouth and Charlton. The teams below that with a realistic chance are Ipswich, Hull, Burnley, Wolves, Crystal Palace, Norwich and Cardiff.

At this stage you really can perm any three from those thirteen teams.

Last Weekend’s Results

Stoke 1-0 Ipswich
Blackpool 5-3 Charlton
Colchester 1-2 Bristol City
Coventry 2-0 Leicester
Norwich 1-0 Barnsley
Plymouth 3-1 Burnley
QPR 1-1 Sheff Utd
Scunthorpe 1-1 Southampton
Sheff Wed 1-0 Cardiff
Watford 0-0 Preston
Crystal Palace 0-2 Wolves
West Brom 1-2 Hull

This weekend, as you can see, the clubs had contrasting fortunes. Stoke and Bristol City both won, as did Plymouth, Hull, Norwich and Wolves.

Watford got a battling, creditable and enthralling draw, and West Brom, Charlton, Ipswich, Burnley, Cardiff and Palace all lost.

These results sum up this year’s championship really, because as well as Watford failing to beat the team in 22nd, Charlton will be disappointed to lose to Blackpool now 14th but 17th prior to that result. Blackpool had managed only 23 goals in their previous 17 home games but managed to find the Charlton net 5 times. Cardiff will wonder how they lost 1-0 at 21st placed Sheffield Wednesday to fail to become the ninth team to win at Hillsborough this season.

Current Championship League Table

1 Stoke 62
2 Bristol City 61
3 Watford 60
4 West Brom 55
5 Plymouth 52
6 Charlton 52
7 Ipswich 51
8 Hull 50
9 Burnley 47
10 Wolves 47
11 Crystal Palace 46
12 Norwich 45
13 Cardiff 44
14 Blackpool 42
15 Sheff Utd 40
16 QPR 40
17 Barnsley 40
18 Coventry 39
19 Southampton 39
20 Leicester 37
21 Sheff Wed 35
22 Preston 34
23 Colchester 32
24 Scunthorpe 32

Two pieces of news to report. Firstly it looks like Sheffield Wednesday are likely to be subject of a takeover. Let’s hope that this leads to the beginning of the return of the good times for this once proud club.

Neil WarnockSecondly, Shefki Kuqi may well have played his last game for Crystal Palace. When manager Neil Warnock substituted him in the defeat against Wolves, he stormed off and gestured at the crowd.

“I will be transfer-listing him immediately. I don’t accept things like that, so that is the end of the matter. I have told him that I realise he was disappointed, it is not nice at times, but you cannot go off like that.” Warnock said after the game.

It is nice to see that Mr Warnock doesn’t accept bad language, bad behaviour or gestures. It would be interesting to get a reaction to that statement from the referees association or the FA disciplinary committee!

Ian HollowayI’ll leave the last word to the wonderful Ian Holloway who saw his side lose 2-0 at Coventry. His Leicester team have won only two of their last seven matches and have failed to score in four of them. They sit just three points above the drop zone.

“I felt for the boys,” Holloway told BBC Radio Leicester. “We did everything but score but these boys have to believe in themselves more. If they weren’t trying I’d have a go at them but we are where we are and the table doesn’t lie. I think we’re better than it’s going for us at the minute and the boys have to realise that.”

I love an optimist. Anyone know how I can get some of that optimism about Watford?