February 1, 2019

EFL Championship Match Previews – 2nd February Saturday

Sheffield United v Bolton

It’s a battle of top vs bottom as Sheffield United host the Bolton Wanderers on Saturday at the Bramall Lane for their EFL Championship clash. A victory for Sheffield United could propel them to progress into automatic promotion to the top flight if Leeds United manage to edge past Norwich City on the same day. A win for Bolton Wanderers could see them come out of the bottom three in the table if other outcomes go their way.  

Sheffield United will have the perfect opportunity to return to their winning ways on Saturday when they welcome Bolton. The Blades recently encountered two challenging back-to-back fixtures on the road against Swansea City and Norwich City, bagging only one point from these two matches. Fortunately, they managed to avoid a loss to Norwich after the league’s second top scorer, Billy Sharp, notched a brace. Sharp took his goal tally to 18 when he secured the win for United. That victory also helped them remain at the 3rd place in the standings, just three points away from Norwich. Chris Wilder’s men still have the opportunity of bagging a promotion to the Premier League if they claim a victory on Saturday and also in their future fixtures.

Bolton Wanderers, on the other hand, are having difficulties in claiming victories especially on the road, leaving them at the bottom three in the table. Bolton have been disappointing, both defensively and offensively, notching just two goals in 5 of their previous games. This weekend brings another challenging trip to a side on the opposite end of the table. With just 10 points from 14 matches on the road and failing to win in 12 of their previous trips including five defeats back-to-back, it seemed like the Bolton Wanderers wouldn’t stand a chance.

West Brom v Middlesbrough

It’s 4th vs 5th in a massive clash at the top of the Championship league. Two promotional hopefuls will take on each other in the derby of the round as West Bromwich Albion welcome Middlesbrough at the Hawthorns on Saturday for their EFL Championship clash. Both of these sides are in quite a good form when they enter Saturday’s match, losing just once in 6 of their previous fixtures. Both teams will be looking forward to up their chances of making the automatic promotion to the top flight.

West Brom will be facing their opponents fresh off the back of a comfortable win against Bolton. Before that, they managed to pick up a point against rivals Norwich City, leaving them just four points below Norwich. Their form has been inconsistent though. The hosts are the league’s top scorers; however, their results at home have seen some issues towards their defensive tactics. This was evident when both Aston Villa and Norwich managed to break into the Baggies’ defense. Fortunately, West Brom play well on their home patch so a victory could be in their favour on Saturday.

On the other hand, Middlesbrough are currently on an unbeaten streak of four matches when they enter this match. However, like their opponents, they’ve been having some inconsistency in their form as of late. They drew against Milwall at home even though it was a game they were expected to come out as winners. Middlesbrough were able to notch in six consecutive fixtures on the road, failing to find the only once in 11 of their previous away matches though all competitions. Luckily for them, they will face a side which have been vulnerable in defence as evident in the number of goals they conceded in each of their games so far this season.

Leeds v Norwich

The top two contenders for the promotion to the English top flight will battle each other in a thrilling derby at the Elland Road for their Championship clash on Saturday. Both of these teams will be aiming to secure a victory since the automatic promotion is what’s at stake here. A win would shove Leeds United six points above their main title rivals. However, this would be a big task for Marcelo Bielsa and his men especially since they’ve been encountering some big struggles lately.

Like their rivals, Norwich City are facing some issues recently. Despite this, they’re one of the teams who would certainly make it tough for Leeds’ in achieving their dreams of making it to the Premier League. Although Leeds managed to beat Norwich twice earlier this season, the Canaries have definitely been improving and have become an unrecognizable team since then. Daniel Farke’s men are one of the most consistent teams in the league which propelled them to the top of the Championship table as well as booking a spot in the automatic promotion in the top flight. With their records in recent weeks, they should be ready in facing the Peacocks.

Leeds United, on the other hand, encountered some defeats recently, losing three of their previous five league outings. They were able to come back to their winning ways over the weekend though, but it wasn’t the strong performance that is expected for a team like them. The brace from Mateusz Klich that secured Leeds’ victory against relegation strugglers Rotherham United increase the team’s gap at the top of the table to three points. They need to come out successful though if they want their gap to further escalate.

By @EliaasMJ

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