Winners & losers from gameweek 35 in the Championship

06 March 2021 09:00

I believe it was Forrest Gump's mother who said, "Life's like the Championship, Forrest, you just never know what you're gonna get!"

She was an extremely wise woman, Mrs Gump.

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And I'm sure she was smiling down on yet another weekend of unpredictable, breathless second-tier action, as the teams at the summit battled it out for those top-six spots, and the stragglers looked to climb over one another in the doldrums.

But with so much action to keep on top of, the weekend's real victors and strugglers can get lost among all the shouting and gloating. That's why 90min has picked out the winners and losers of gameweek 35.

1. Winners - Norwich City

These guys are still in the Championship?! | Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Bad news for those of you who didn't enjoy Norwich City's inclusion in the Premier League last season - they're going to be back up there soon enough. The Canaries are just too good for the Championship, and that's all there is to it.

They strolled to points 74, 75 and 76 on Saturday, beating Luton Town 3-0 to extend their lead at the top to 10 points. Teemu Pukki scored a first-half brace to fire himself to second place in the Championship scoring charts, and Todd Cantwell added a third on 73 minutes to put some gloss on the scoreline.

While three or four sides scrap for that final automatic promotion spot, Norwich are making sure they'll be playing no part in such shenanigans come May.

2. Losers - Middlesbrough

On the losing side this time | Athena Pictures/Getty Images

What a cruel, cruel afternoon for Middlesbrough and Neil Warnock. Boro travelled to high-flying Swansea, but fell behind on 40 minutes thanks to forward Andre Ayew.

The visitors thought they'd equalised through a cracking Marc Bola strike from the edge of the box, but his effort was ruled out for an imaginary foul in the build up.

But in the 90th minute - ecstasy! Sam Morsy's shot found the net, and Boro finally bagged their equaliser. Only, that wasn't the end. A moment of late confusion saw the referee award the Swans an injury-time penalty for the second game in a row, and once again, Ayew made no mistake.

For Boro, the playoffs are now feeling like a fading, distant dream. Tough to take.

3. Winners - Barnsley

Dike was the hero | Alex Pantling/Getty Images

It's impossible not to love this Barnsley team! The Tykes are flying up the Championship table, and playing some brilliant and fast-paced football in the process.

Valerien Ismael's men were not at their best against a compact and resolute Birmingham City side, but they had enough in the tank to edge to a 1-0 victory, thanks to an absolute thunderbolt from Daryl Dike.

Picking up the ball on the corner of the box, he fired an unstoppable missile into the roof of the net, leaving Neil Etheridge with no chance. Those three points, combined with Bournemouth's slip up at Preston North End, stuck Barnsley into sixth place, one point ahead of the Cherries.

A surprise promotion contender? Surely not.

4. Losers - Sheffield Wednesday

Struggling to keep up | Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

"The phone's ringing, Sheffield Wednesday. It's League One, they're excited to make your acquaintance next year."

Yep, the fat lady is warming up her vocal cords, ready to call time on the Owls' miserable final year in the second tier.

Seven points from safety, the marooned strugglers needed a miracle to get past promotion chasing Reading on Saturday, but they received quite the opposite, when Julian Boerner gave away a penalty and was sent off for the visitors on the half-hour mark.

Michael Olise dispatched the resulting spot-kick, and it was effectively game over. Prolific forward (and ex-Sheffield Wednesday star) Lucas Joao confirmed the Royals' victory on 65 minutes and Andy Yiadom made it three, sinking Darren Moore's men further into the mire.

5. Winners - Coventry City

A huge goal in the race for survival | Clive Mason/Getty Images

What a huge win this was! Coventry City have been hanging a bit too close to the relegation zone for their coach's liking, so their 1-0 victory over Derby County will have been the perfect medicine.

Maxime Biamou was the hero of the hour, capitalising on a misplaced pass to race through on goal and coolly slot the ball past Kelle Roos in the Rams' net.

A solid rearguard display saw them keep Wayne Rooney's men at bay, and they even moved level on points with Saturday's rivals, creating a six-point gap between themselves and the relegation zone.

A monumental moment in Coventry's season.

6. Losers - Derby County

A disappointing defeat | Clive Mason/Getty Images

As for Derby, it just wasn't to be. Rooney has done a brilliant job since taking over at Pride Park, but Saturday's clash with Coventry was a bridge too far.

Having once appeared doomed to suffer a drop through the trap door, the Rams are now in a much more comfortable position, but they cannot allow themselves to think the job is done.

The Championship is a bizarre division, and it will always punish those who take their eyes off the prize for even a second. Get to safety and then don the flip flops, lads.

Source: 90min