Championship Roundup: Norwich Continue to Lead the Way as Sheffield Wednesday Lose Further Ground

17 December 2020 09:00

It's been yet another gameweek of thrills and spills in the Championship, and with the world's most unpredictable league (that's a fact - don't @ us) nearing the 20-game mark, the table is beginning to take shape.

That being said, you could still throw a blanket over most of the division, with any team capable of stringing together a run of results and being well in the promotion mix having once looked destined for a relegation dog fight - oh how we love the Championship!

If you've been too busy to keep up with the goings on in the second tier this week, then we've got your back - here's our roundup of all the midweek matches.

1. Barnsley 2-1 Preston

Barnsley picked up a great home win against Preston | George Wood/Getty Images

There's something about Barnsley and a 2-1 scoreline, and more often than not they're finding themselves on the right side of that scoreline, as well.

The Tykes have now secured three consecutive 2-1 wins, with Victor Adeboyejo's late strike sealing all three points against a Preston side renowned for their stellar away form.

Valerien Ismael's men now sit just four points outside the play-off spots, with Preston slipping down to 16th after back-to-back defeats.

2. Blackburn 2-1 Rotherham

Blackburn look to be back on track after a few rocky weeks | Visionhaus/Getty Images

After a solid start to the campaign, Blackburn have endured a bit of a rocky patch having gone three without a win. However, in fairness they've faced some pretty good sides in that time, and Wednesday's 2-1 win over Rotherham sees them back to winning ways.

Tony Mowbray's men did the hard way coming from a goal down, with prolific marksman Adam Armstrong notching a late, late winner in the 98th minute to send the Millers home empty-handed.

3. Bournemouth 1-0 Wycombe Wanderers

Bournemouth have started the season strongly | Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Many tipped Bournemouth to struggle once their relegation was confirmed, with the spine of the team being ripped out and manager Eddie Howe leaving the club.

However, Jason Tindall has done a superb job of helping the Cherries regroup, and Tuesday's gritty 1-0 win over Wycombe is exactly the kind of result which sees them sitting pretty in the automatic promotion places.

For Gareth Ainsworth's men, it's beginning to look ominous. A leaky defence and a toothless attack is a worrying combination in any league, and if they don't pick up a few wins soon they could be cut adrift once the hectic Christmas schedule is over.

4. Bristol City 0-2 Millwall

Millwall picked up an impressive away win | Harry Trump/Getty Images

Bristol City just can't seem to string a run of results together. Their sporadic form saw them go down 2-0 to struggling Millwall on Tuesday night, and having looked well set in the play-off race they're beginning to look more like mid-table languishers.

For the Lions, it was an important three points, ending their dismal run of ten without a win as Tom Bradshaw and Mason Bennett helped secure their fourth away win of the campaign.

5. Cardiff 3-2 Birmingham

Aitor Karanka is beginning to feel the heat at Birmingham | Tony Marshall/Getty Images

While we'd all like to watch our team play flowing football every week, if they're grinding out results we're not too bothered - unfortunately, Aitor Karanka is providing neither style nor substance at Birmingham.

The former Middlesbrough boss is under increasing pressure after his side slipped to yet another defeat on Tuesday.

Birmingham had looked well set after they took a 2-1 lead midway through the second half, but late goals from Harry Wilson and Sean Morrison saw them slump to back-to-back defeats, with Cardiff continuing their revival by picking up their fifth win in six.

6. Coventry 0-0 Huddersfield

Huddersfield battled their way to a point at Coventry | Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Y'know how sometimes you can just look at a game and immediately predict the final score? Yeah, that.

If ever a game looked like a 0-0 it's this one, and so it proved. Though in fairness, the point isn't a bad result for either side, with Coventry stretching their unbeaten run to eight games and Huddersfield banishing the memories of their wretched 5-0 defeat to Bournemouth at the weekend.

Both sides sit comfortably out of the relegation zone and can be pleased with their efforts for the season so far.

7. Derby 2-0 Swansea

Wayne Rooney has got Derby back to winning ways | Tony Marshall/Getty Images

It doesn't matter how good a player you are, the management game is a completely different kettle of fish - well, Wayne Rooney's making a mockery of that suggestion.

The interim co-manager (or whatever ridiculous title he's been given alongside Liam Rosenior) has overseen Derby keep four clean sheets on the bounce after the Rams' impressive win over Swansea, and they're now unbeaten in six.

Colin Kazim-Richards (yes, him) put the home side into an early lead before Kamil Jozwiak's superbly taken strike ensured Rooney would be celebrating come the final whistle, with Swansea's promotion push enduring a minor setback.

8. Middlesbrough 1-0 Luton

Neil Warnock's Middlesbrough have enjoyed back-to-back wins | George Wood/Getty Images

From one man just beginning his management journey, to another who has just about seen it all.

Neil Warnock's Middlesbrough have taken maximum points from their last two outings after Chuba Akpom's second-half strike secured a 1-0 win.

There was a nervy moment for the Teessiders after Sam Morsy was adjudged to have handled in the area. James Collins stepped up and did the honours from the spot, leaving Warnock apoplectic with rage on the touchline, insisting to the linesman that the Luton striker had struck the ball twice as he slipped.

With no VAR to in operation in the second tier, Warnock resorted to just shouting in the ear of the linesman for as long as possible until he crumbled - which he did! A bit harsh on the visitors, but the correct call in the end.

9. Nottingham Forest 2-0 Sheffield Wednesday

Keeping Sheffield Wednesday afloat could be Tony Pulis' biggest job yet | Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images

The battle at the bottom.

Sheffield Wednesday were handed a golden opportunity to kickstart their season on Tuesday, knowing a win would take them within a point of survival before Wednesday's fixtures - but they blew it.

Goals from Yuri Ribeiro and Lewis Grabban handed the home side the win, with the Owls now beginning to look like a lost cause, sitting seven points from safety.

If Tony Pulis is to keep Wednesday in the Championship then he's got a huge job ahead of him, while Chris Hughton continues to weave his magic at the City Ground.

10. Queens Park Rangers 0-0 Stoke

Stoke were unable to break the deadlock at QPR | Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Stoke have been contemplating a promotion push for a while now, and it seemed a few weeks ago that they'd decided they fancied it - but now it looks like they're not too bothered.

Alright, so it's not quite that simple. An injury to top scorer Tyrese Campbell might have a little bit to do with the Potters' sudden downturn in form, and Tuesday's draw against struggling QPR was exactly the kind of game that proves how key he is to their play.

The home side actually shaded it over the 90 minutes and could have easily taken all three points, but ultimately the spoils were shared.

11. Reading 1-2 Norwich

Daniel Farke's men are in fine form | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

This may sound a bit weird, but Norwich being absolutely dire after Project Restart seems to have been the making of them this season.

Having lost their final ten games of the season - scoring one goal in the process - suddenly the interest in the likes of Todd Cantwell and Emiliano Buendia wasn't so great. And having kept hold of their biggest stars, they're now tearing the Championship apart.

Wednesday's gritty win away at fellow-promotion chasers Reading was exactly the kind of performance you need if you're going to end a 46-game season in the top two, and Daniel Farke can be delighted with his side's displays so far this season.

Teemu Pukki proved to be the matchwinner at Reading, after Michael Olise had cancelled out Buendia's opener.

12. Watford 1-1 Brentford

Watford couldn't overcome a spirited Brentford side | Clive Rose/Getty Images

It was a tale of two penalties at Vicarage Road, with Troy Deeney putting his side 1-0 up from the penalty spot, before the Championship's top marksman, Ivan Toney, levelled from the spot just three minutes later.

Thomas Frank's side can be pleased with the point having played the best part of the second half with ten men following Ethan Pinnock's dismissal, with both sides sitting in the play-off spots and looking well set for a promotion tilt.

Source: 90min