The waiting for fans is finally over as the most hard-to-call league in the world returns but the question on everyone’s lips is if things are about to get a little easier to read.
There’s some big clubs in-coming from the Premier League and the smart money seems to be on what went down being able to come straight back up.
That will be music to the ears of fans of Leicester City, Southampton and Leeds United who all fancy their chances of an automatic return to the top flight following May’s heartache. Things in the league, of course, are rarely that simple.
They do take heart from Burnley, promoted back up as stylish champions just ten months after their days were numbered. There’s no question the three who have fallen feel a climb is achievable but when it comes to the Championship it’s always actions that speak louder than the words.
The Foxes – Premier League champions only seven years ago – have returned to the second tier for the first time since 2004 after a wretched campaign in which they had three different managers and lost 22 of their 38 league matches.
Of the sides to drop, they have lost the most talent – James Maddison, Youri Tielemans, Jonny Evans and Harvery Barnes just a few of the departures. But the in-coming are shrewd and Vincenzo ‘Enzo’ Maresca is a tactical master-mind.
Of those in the league last year, it seems Middlesbrough could be the team fit to challenge for top spot. Chuba Akpom is still there and summer signings Rav van den Berg, Alex Gilbert, Sammy Silvera and Morgan Rogers all add the depth that maybe wasn’t there last time.
Coventry City’s hopes of going one better after defeat in the play-off final have been severely hit after Viktor Gyokeres’ exit.
West Brom, Sunderland and Stoke City all look title outsiders, while Millwall
Hull City and Blackburn Rovers want to shove the ‘play-offs at best’ talk down many rival fans’ throats!
Beware the promoted sides, you often hear – surely the team with the best chance of success after their League One season are Ipswich Town, managed by the impressive Kieran McKenna. They will of course lock horns with their old rivals Norwich City, whose odds of a title tilt have been cut in recent weeks after some big business at Carrow Road.
One thing is for certain with the Championship and that is that life is never dull!
|Leicester City||11/8 Bet365|
|Leeds United||13/8 Bet365|
|Norwich City||9/2 Betfair|
They’ve lost a fair few talented players but with Harry Winks and Connor Coady on board, Jamie Vardy staying in attack and money in the bank, they are already looking like the team the others will have to beat.
Our punters.pub bet of the day is Leicester City to get promoted at 11/8
In terms of squad depth, the Foxes look the strongest of all the sides relegated from the Premier League last season and we’re tipping an instant return