January 16, 2020

EFL Championship Match Previews – 18th January Saturday

QPR v Leeds

Queens Park Rangers versus Leeds United is a game which promises so much. This is a Saturday lunchtime Championship encounter featuring two very offensively-minded outfits and will only go all-out in search of three points this weekend.

QPR have been up-and-down for what seems like an eternity now. For all that they’ve enjoyed recent 6-1 and 5-1 wins, they’ve also lost 5-3 and 3-1 within that timeframe. If manager Mark Warburton had any hair, he’d probably be tearing it out! Their sheer lack of consistency is ultimately why they’re in mid-table, but it also doesn’t rule them out taking three points against Leeds.

Those mentioned 6-1 and 5-1 victories did arrive for Rangers at Loftus Road, so they’d most certainly love to pose similar questions of their opponents on this occasion. Only Preston and West Brom have netted more Championship home goals this season, but on the flip side QPR have the worst home defence in the division. In fact, only Luton overall have conceded more and that is not a recipe for success, no matter how good you are in attack.

Leeds find themselves in the reality rare situation of having to bounce back from a league defeat, having gone down to Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday last time out. This finished 2-0, having been 0-0 until the 87th-minute. It was a performance where Marcelo Bielsa felt they had enough goalscoring opportunities to win the match, but he was keen not to overreact to the setback.

Seeing Pablo Hernandez back on the pitch was a huge positive and he’ll only aid Leeds in terms of creativity moving forward once again. One worry however is it is now one win in Leeds’ last seven in all competitions, but that does include trips to Arsenal, West Brom and Fulham, and all threat losses in that time were close encounters. Leeds might not without a goal in two, but they remain a big goal threat, and the main difference between them and QPR is that they’re much more reliable defensively.

You get the impression that QPR are the perfect sort of opponent for Leeds at this moment in time. QPR will concede chances; that is an absolute fact. QPR do have a go and will create openings of their own in attack, but this approach is risky against superior teams, even at this level. QPR have played the current top five on six occasions this season, and lost them all. Leeds should relish this type of setup and they’ll be eager to really take advantage of near rivals West Brom also struggling for form. Leeds -0.5 looks the most appropriate play as a degree of naivety will probably let QPR down. Leeds average 16.00 shots per game, and QPR will struggle to handle wave after wave of attack against them.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Leeds -0.5 at 1.830

Sheffield Wednesday v Blackburn

The form guide places both of these teams going in opposite directions, with Sheffield Wednesday enjoying back-to-back victories in away fixtures to Leeds United and Brighton & Hove Albion, whilst Blackburn Rovers find themselves without success in their previous six, and in need of a boost.

It wasn’t too long ago that Blackburn were the form side in the Championship having won four straight games in November/December, but that again further highlights how up-and-down this crazy yet excellent and pulsating 24-team tussle so often is. Sheff Wed had lost three in succession before resuming winning ways, so it goes to show how form can just improve or decrease at any given moment.

Sheffield Wednesday earned their best result of the campaign last weekend when departing Elland Road with maximum points. This was a contest which was level until the very latter stages, and it was a match where Leeds felt as though they should’ve won themselves. Garry Monk will be delighted to see them improve on the road, but the key is now resuming the winning trend at Hillsborough.

I say that because they’ve actually lost their last two in front of their own supporters, and in games to Cardiff City and Hull City; opponents they’d have believed they could and should have probably defeated. It again highlights how up-and-down they are, meaning that for all they’re playing well right now, that can so easily change. Their home record reads W6 D4 L3, and five of those six wins was by a one-goal margin.

Blackburn are out of sorts at the moment in relation to results, but they’re anything but being blown away by opponents. Yes, they’re six without a win, but three of those were draws and the other three defeats was also by a one-goal margin. I think already you may have half an eye which rough area I’m looking to bet on this occasion! The odds have Sheff Wed as odds-on to win, which was also the case for the Cardiff and Hull matches.

Only four teams in the league have lost more away league games than Blackburn’s eight this season. Again, six of those was by a one-goal margin, and whilst it is a concern for them to so regularly come off second best in these tight battles, it really does show that they’re not far away from turning many into draws or potential wins. They’ve netted in all bar two away games this season, and their injury situation is beginning to improve in some areas, but they still miss Bradley Dack.

I just have doubts about backing Sheff Wed in this spot. They will attract plenty of support from two good away wins, but there will be an expectancy for them to blow Blackburn away here and I just cannot see it. Blackburn are too good for this winless run to extend for much longer, and if anything they should be extra motivated to correct matters. Blackburn +0.75 is a good way of keeping them on side, considering the fact they’re so often involved in this close encounters.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Blackburn +0.75 at 1.860

Preston v Charlton

The previous two games we’ve focused on some out-of-form outfits and we have two more on this occasion who are taking to the field. Preston North End have drifted out of the play-off places for now following a run of five Championship fixtures without a win, whilst Charlton have won just three of their previous 22 in all competitions, but are slowly beginning to welcome back some players from injury.

Preston going on this run without a win isn’t much of a surprise considering how for a few seasons now they’ve shown to be capable of going on such runs of form, both positive and negative. For all that they look to be struggling at the moment, that can and so often does change, and Charlton at home is the type of contest for them to potentially bounce back in.

Three consecutive losses overall at home is a bit of a concern however, especially as all three were by a two-goal margin. They haven’t kept a home clean sheet since September, but scoring goals is no issue at all at Deepdale on the basis of them of only West Brom scoring more Championship home league goals this season.

Charlton are another team not to be too reliable about, but at the same time they’re the sort of side to spring a surprise out of nowhere. West Brom were odds-on favourites to beat them last weekend, but that ended in a draw at The Valley. A worry for them is that they have started to become a bit toothless away from home however. They’re ten without a win on the road, losing seven.

In a form table of the last ten league games, Charlton are bottom. Confidence certainly won’t be that high, but travelling to a presentable out of sorts Preston outfit means that they travel without fear. They come off second best in a tight battle earlier in the season, but this is ultimately a game between two out of form teams that will view this as an opportunity to regain the winning trend.

With that being the case, I can see this being more of an end-to-end type of match rather than a cagey and nervy affair. Although Preston’s most recent games haven’t been so high-scoring, nine of their 14 at home has still featured three or more goals. 17/27 of Charlton’s league battles this season has done so too, so the Over 2.5 Goals call has to be the way forward on this occasion.

Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.50 at 1.800

Preview by:@JamesOR1.

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