Written by Jack Hasler
With the season’s first international break now over, a very busy few weeks for Championship clubs will now begin. The transfer window has also finished so with no loan window, the bulk of teams will have to stick with what they’ve got until the January window.
This weekend there is a full schedule with all 24 teams playing and as always there are a number of big games taking place. Here are three of the most interesting games on match day six.
credit Gareth Williams
Brighton v Brentford
On Saturday afternoon, Brighton will be looking to continue their incredible 12 game unbeaten run at home (won 9, drew 3). The streak stretches back to January making it clear that as many sides hope to do, Brighton have made their home a fortress as they are winning games along with scoring goals and conceding very few. Brentford travel to the Amex Stadium with a poor away run having lost three and won one of their last four away from Griffin Park.
Brentford, who have one of the youngest squads in the Championship have had a fairly average start to the season. They sit 14th on seven points after wins against Ipswich and Nottingham Forest, defeats against Rotherham, Huddersfield and League Two Exeter (in the EFL Cup) along with most recently a home draw with Sheffield Wednesday. On deadline day, the Bees made a couple of signings bringing in youngsters Sulley Kaikai (21) and Rico Henry (19) from Crystal Palace and Walsall respectively with the former signing on a season long loan deal. Though Henry is out for this game, Brentford will hope that the pair will bring more pace to a young squad hoping to mount a push for the play-offs come May.
Brighton made a top quality few additions to an already promotion ready squad, with boss Chris Hughton adding experience and depth to his squad with the additions of Shane Duffy, Oliver Norwood, Glenn Murray and Sebastien Pocognoli. The Seagulls were also able to keep a number of their top players such as Anthony Knockeart, Dale Stephens and Lewis Dunk, all for whom Brighton received a lot of interest from ‘bigger’ clubs. Brighton have picked up where they left off last season as they have scored 16 goals in just 7 games in all competitions, they have also only tasted defeat once this season, losing 2-0 to Newcastle in their last league game. Prior to their defeat at St James’, they had beaten Nottingham Forest, Rotherham, Colchester and Oxford (both in the EFL Cup) putting them on 8 points from 5 in the league as they have tied with Derby and Reading away from home placing Albion 8th in the Championship.
Prediction: Brighton 2-1 Brentford
credit David Locke
Leeds v Huddersfield
On Saturday at 3pm, surprise early league leaders Huddersfield will make the short trip to Elland Road to face Leeds in one of the Championship’s many Yorkshire Derbies.
Away side Huddersfield appear a new team under new boss David Wagner who has made a number of his own additions over the summer after seeing out last season with the previous bosses players. German manager Wagner has made a number of unknown signings over the summer which along with his style of high energy pressing, has worked absolute wonders for the Terriers so far this term. They have beaten Brentford and Newcastle before a draw with Aston Villa which was then followed by wins at home against Barnsley and most recently Wolves which sent Huddersfield top of the pile on 13 points from five games going into the international break.
This week, Leeds fans have been greeted with the bad news that Italian owner Massimo Cellino has taken 100 per cent control of the club. It is because of the owners’ reputation for sacking managers that Leeds boss Garry Monk is coming under pressure from the media after a poor start to the season. Leeds have won only one league game which was against Sheffield Wednesday, they collected their only other point in a home game against Fulham. The only saving grace for ex Swansea boss Monk is the fact that Leeds have won twice in the EFL Cup, sending them into the third round of the competition. On deadline day, Leeds made a very good addition in Bournemouth midfielder Eunan O’Kane who they signed on a two-year deal but in the last few days, defender Sol Bamba has left the club for personal reasons, this has left Leeds very light on options in the centre of defence and with the transfer window now shut they are likely to be ruing the fact that Bamba’s departure didn’t come a week or so earlier.
Prediction: Leeds 1-3 Huddersfield
Derby v Newcastle
Two sides who are currently in a very different mindset meet at the iPro on Saturday evening in front of the Sky cameras.
Newcastle had an incredible transfer window, bringing in a number of top quality players along with getting rid of a few high earners. They were able to sell Andros Townsend, Moussa Sissoko and Georgino Wijnaldum for a total of over £70m, with that money they were able to bring in a number of fantastic players including Matt Ritchie, Mo Diame and Dwight Gayle. After beginning poorly with defeats against the league’s current top two (Fulham and Huddersfield), Newcastle have beaten Reading, Bristol City and Brighton, scoring seven and conceding just one in the process leading the Magpies to nine points and fourth place.
Their opponents Derby have had a very different start, losing twice to newly promoted sides with away defeats against Barnsley (2-0) and Burton (1-0), they have also drawn twice against Brighton (0-0) and Aston Villa (0-0) and won once – against Preston (1-0). With their one league goal this season coming late in a 1-0 win against Preston, it is clear where Derby’s problem lies. After a poor start in front of goal, Derby have brought in strikers James Wilson and Matej Vydra from Manchester United (on loan) and Watford respectively with the latter being a club record fee thought to be around £9 million. The pair along with the addition of £4 million winger Ikechi Anya, who signed on deadline day, will bring much needed pace and hopefully goals to the squad as the Rams look to get some wins under the belt. Incomings meant outgoings for Nigel Pearson’s side as midfielder and academy product Jeff Hendrick left to Burnley for over £10 million after eight years at the club, the Rams also agreed a deal to send striker Chris Martin on loan to Fulham after a poor run of just seven goals stretching over the last year; the deal for Martin will send the Scotland international to Fulham on a permanent deal if the club choose to sign him at the end of the season. Derby also loaned out keeper Lee Grant to Stoke with the experienced Chris Weale coming in as backup.
Prediction: Derby 1-1 Newcastle
Will these three games be the most interesting in the Championship this weekend? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by David Locke