Having looked through the odds, I thought it best to look through all the transfers to see who was where in terms of strength before the season starts. Some sides have lost some key players, and some have added a lot of good players. Never just go off the bookie’s prices, they can often be misleading. Anyway, here is what we think of it all:
Birmingham have added a couple of good loans such as Jordan Ibe and Tom Thorpe, as well as David Edgar and Stephen Gleeson. 15 have been let go or sold, including Nikola Zigic, Peter Lovenkrands and Chris Burke – possibly because of financial reasons – Zigic was on a fair bit of money and was hard to move after relegation. They were stuck with him! I don’t think they will trouble the top 6, maybe a top 12 if lucky and they have no injuries.
Blackburn have also shed some serious wages – Nuno Henrique, Ruben Rochina and David Goodwillie are amongst 10 or so to leave. They have added Alex Baptiste, Luke Varney, Michael Keane on loan, and a few others. They are reliant on Jordan Rhodes for their goals, if he gets injured they could struggle. 14/1 for Relegation is a good price considering how one-dimensional they are. Definitely one that won’t be troubling the top 6 looking at their squad.
Blackpool are really struggling. Over 20 players left, and at one point last month they still had just 8 players on the books and were cancelling friendlies. They have now signed a few, including Vellios from Everton, Nathan Delfouneso, Tomas Cywka and Rob Earnshaw. 8/13 favourite to go down, and 6/4 to finish bottom. Will be lucky to stay up.
Bolton have added a few good players such as Alan Hutton, Dean Moxey, Neil Danns and Dorian Dervitte. Like a lot of teams, they have released/sold over 10, including Zat Knight and Marvin Sordell. Could finish in the top 10.
Bournemouth have added three players, but the key part of the summer was receiving £7m for Adam Lallana as part of the 25% clause in his deal with Southampton. Dan Gosling and Junior Stanislas are two that stand out who have signed, and Lewis Grabban, Miles Addison and Matt Tubbs are amongst those to leave. Good looking team, could threaten the top 8 or so!
Brentford have brought in some good players such as Alan Judge, Odubajo (£1m) as well as Darius Henderson and more. Among those to leave are Clayton Donaldson, Will Grigg and 7 more. Not going to set the league on fire, but will do well to survive. You can get odds of 4/1 for them to be relegated.
Brighton are another who have signed well. Aaron Hughes is an experienced head having played Champions League football with Newcastle 10 years ago. David Stockdale comes in from Fulham, others to come in are Chris O’Grady and a few more. 10 have left, including Matt Upson and Leanardo Ulloa (to Leicester, for £8m). A top 6 finish is not out of the question – 5/2 for that to happen. With Sami Hyypia as manager they certainly have a good chance.
Cardiff have made some top signings and will probably be favourites to go back up. Javi Guerra, Federico Macheda, Adam Le Fondre, Juan Cala, Guiedo Burgstaller and a few others have joined, with 14 leaving, predictably some of the top earners like Gary Medel, Steven Caulker and Frazier Campbell, as well as Jordan Mutch for £6m. A safe bet would be Top 6 finish @ 8/13, or you could have 9/4 on promotion or 8/1 to win the league.
Charlton have signed 12 players, with 17 going the other way. Gudmandsson has come in from AZ, Davide Petrucci has joined on loan from Man Utd and Jonathon Obika has also joined on loan from Spurs. Ben Hamer and Gus Poyet’s son, Diego, are amongst those to leave. They could struggle this season – relegation is 5/2.
Derby will be gutted to miss out on promotion, but have kept most of their best players and are in good shape, adding Ivan Calero from At Madrid, Leon Best, Cyrus Christie and Jonathon Mitchell, among 8 to come in. 11 have left, but nobody huge. I fancy them for promotion this season – Top 6 finish is 4/5, Promotion is 5/2 and Winner is 8/1.
Fulham are an interesting one! £11m spent on Ross McCormack, Tomas Eisfeld from Arsenal, Chihi and Hoogland from Germany, Adam Taggart from the A League and a Bulgarian International in Boturov – a great summer for them. Magath is a big name coach and will want to prove himself in England. I feel they could come straight back up, 3/1 for promotion, and over 10/1 to win.
Huddersfield have just made a few signings – the most impressive is Liverpool’s Conor Coady. May get into the top 10, but I doubt any further. Can’t see them being threatened by relegation either.
Ipswich have made some unknown signings, but kept the majority of their squad, bar Aaron Cresswell. Another that probably won’t trouble the top 6, however could get into the top 10 if they gather momentum during the season.
Leeds have been taken over by Massimo Cellino, a colourful italian character, to say the least. He has brought in a host of Italian players from the likes of Sassuolo, Sampdoria and Cheivo – could they be turning into another Watford? Dounkara is a decent striker, but no Ross McCormack. Mid-table is our guess at where they will end up.
Middlesbrough look an interesting side! Adomah is still there, and they are bringing in some quality players to follow Aitor Karanka – who has managed to get Kenneth Omeruo back from Chelsea, as well as Emilio N’sue from Mallorca, and Kike from the Segunda league in Spain. An outside shot at promotion @ 14/1
Norwich have kept a good deal of their team so far this window, and could reap the benefits of this. They have added Lewis Grabban from Bournemouth, Kyle Lafferty from Palermo and Gary O’Neil from QPR, and only lost a couple of high earners who weren’t doing much good. Top 6 finish looks good @ 11/10.
Notts Forest have lost two key players in the last few days, but got them both back on loan from Newcastle. With that money they have added Britt Assombalonga from Peterborough, who was a class above in League 1 last season. They have made some very good signings elsewhere too, so could threaten the top 6 – odds of 7/4 can be found on that with William Hill.
Reading look like they could struggle. McAnuff, Le Fondre, Carrico and more have gone with nobody in the door so far. Should be clear of relegation, but you never know!
Rotherham are one of the newly promoted teams, and did not get back some top loan players which they had last season. In come Jordan Bowery, Matt Derbyshire and Febian Brandy, as well as a few more low key players. Nobody important, bar the loan players like James Tavernier, have left. Not a great deal of quality in their side so they could be heading back down again. 11/4 with William Hill to go down.
Sheff Wednesday have lost a lot of players and only brought in a couple so far. Kieron Westwood, Sam Hutchinson and Dejan Kelher have come in. They could struggle with it being a very long season, but I doubt they will go down.
Watford look an excellent team! They have signed Matej Vydra who is proven at this level, Daniel Tozser, Belkadem, Lloyd Dyer and Ighalo, amongst many. Their squad is very strong and the foreign players should be nearly fully adapted to the league, with many of them having played last season. A good shout for the Top 6 @ 7/4, and for Promotion 5/1!
Wigan have signed some decent players, and let plenty go. Can’t see them getting promoted or even into the top 6 for that matter. Will nestle safely in mid-table, unless they sign some good players soon to boost the squad.
Wolves have signed Rajiv Van La Parra from Heerenveen, who possesses great pace and skill. He could be a revelation in this league. Tom Rowe is the other to come in They should finish safely in mid-table.
As far as the top 6 is concerned I quite fancy this 6, in no particular order:
- Cardiff (8/13)
- Watford (7/4)
- Notts Forest (7/4)
- Fulham (Evens)
- Norwich (11/10)
- Derby (4/5)
- Cardiff (9/4)
- Fulham (11/4)
- Derby (5/2)
As for the Title:
- Cardiff (8/1)
- Derby (8/1)
- Blackpool (8/13)
- Rotherham (11/4)
- Charlton (5/2)
Anyway – that’s our thoughts on all things-Championship, as always it should prove to be excellent. 5 or 6 teams have the potential to win it, and upto 10 could get promoted! Looking forward to tomorrow evening!
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