No games this weekend due to the international break, so time for some early analysis of the season.
At the top Newcastle, Norwich and Brighton remain the favourites to go up, although I’d have to say that Newcastle haven’t beaten any of the teams above them yet and they don’t play Barnsley until next month. I know it’s early days yet, but none of them seem to have hit their strides yet.
Huddersfield and Fulham have also both shortened in the promotion market, but I think that the Cottagers may be the first to be found out. They’ve only played one team in the top half of the table (the surprise win over Newcastle on opening day). Huddersfield have had a far tougher start to the season, have performed well above may expectations and could be a genuine surprise package in 2016/17, but their current form is unsustainable. The Terriers have to face Brighton and QPR in a four day period in the middle of the month.
At the bottom, Preston‘s odds for the drop have been slashed dramatically after a poor start that has seen the Lillywhites lose four of their five opening games as well as the departure of striker Joe Garner: at the start of July they were 14/1 to go down, today they’re 7/2 . Blackburn and Rotherham are the favourites to go down and although Burton have drifted slightly after their victory over Derby last weekend, the bookies don’t fancy their chances over the entire season. However, it’s Blackburn that should be a real cause for concern: they were a poor team last season and so far they’re this season they’re a lot worse.
There have been a couple of intriguing moves further up the table as both Cardiff and Wigan have begun poorly, but it’s a case of ‘wait and see’ for both of them. Wigan are adjusting to a new division and Cardiff have a new manager.
Finally this week, the record transfer fee for a move between two Championship clubs was broken when Jonathan Kodjia moved from Bristol City to Aston Villa for a deal that could be worth £14m for the Robins. City beat Villa 3-1 last week without Kodjia – who hasn’t scored so far this season.
Back to normal service next week.