The new year is often a great time to take stock of league tables – and the Championship is no exception. With around half the season already played (we know, time flies!), those in and around the top spots tend to be pretty much guaranteed at least a play-0off spot, barring any disasters. So, who looks set for Premier League promotion come the end of the season, and what odds can you get? We’ve taken the standings from before the last matches of 2020 to take a look.
The canaries flying high
Despite relegation from the Premier League last season, Norwich kept faith with manager Daniel Farke – and the German looks to be repaying the Canaries with results, and Norwich ended the year as table-toppers. Going into the last games of 2020, Norwich had won more matches than any of their rivals in the league – 13 out of 21, scoring 29 goals in the process. Finnish finisher Teemu Puuki, who got off to a flying start in his first Premier League season in 2019/2020, has bagged 10 of those goals, with a 58% shot accuracy.
Those stats all stack up to Norwich being favourites to top the Championship table at the end of the season. 888Sport has the Canaries at 7/2 to be crowned champions and 13/20 to get an automatic promotion by finishing in the top two.
A tight selection
Right behind Norwich is a whole clutch of clubs separated by hardly any points. And this is where it gets really interesting. Swansea, Bournemouth, Brentford, Watford and Reading are all right in the mix as we enter the start of 2021.
Swansea were relegated from the Premier League in 2018 after seven seasons in the top flight. Now they have got their eye on a return to the top table. But despite sitting second going into the last games of the year, 888Sport has the Swans down in the betting table, at 16/1 to be crowned champions and 6/1 for a top two spot. Instead, it looks like 888Sport thinks the Swans will end up in the top six, where they are priced 2/5.
Cherries on top?
Relegated from the Premier League alongside Norwich last season, Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth are also flying high in the Championship this season – and have a game in hand over their rivals.
Key for the Cherries, though, might be keeping hold of their players come the January transfer window. Welsh winger David Brooks is just one of those being eyes up by other clubs, as is striker Joshua King. But if they do keep the squad together, the club looks in a good position and has the experience to push for a Premier League return. 888Sport thinks so too. They have the Cherries as 5/2 to win the Championship and 3/4 for a top two automatic promotion spot.
The battles between the clubs in and around the top six spots should prove crucial come the end of the season. Here are some of the key fixtures in the next month:
- Reading v Brentford – January 16
- Norwich v Bristol City – January 20
- Swansea v Brentford – January 23
- Stoke v Watford – January 23
- Reading v Bournemouth – January 29
- Norwich v Middlesbrough – January 30