Championship 2018/19: Team-by-Team Rundown, Part 4

Championship 2018/19: Team-by-Team Rundown, Part 4
Alex Wrigley
Alex Wrigley
August 2, 2018
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Content Editor at Free Super Tips, Alex was born in the shadow of Old Trafford and is an avid Man Utd fan. After graduating from university he combined his love of football, writing and betting to join FST and now closely follows goings-on in all of the top European leagues.

This is the second instalment of our Championship Team-by-Team Rundown. You can read the rest of the series here: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

The final part of our Championship team-by-team rundown includes teams that will be looking to win the title, and others who will be happy just not to be in the bottom three. In this article, we will be looking at how these teams have got on in the summer, as well as what their fans think about their chances. Read on for all the analysis.

Read More: 2018/19 Season Outright Betting Tips and Predictions

Sheffield United

Position last season: 10th
Key Player: John Fleck
Key Signing: John Egan

What FST Thinks:

In contrast to Reading and Rotherham, we included Sheffield United in the potential list of teams that could be battling for promotion. The team surprised everyone last season, having just been promoted, it was expected that the team would be in the other half of the table whilst their city rivals would be battling for promotion. Things could not have turned out more differently. With an entertaining brand of football under Chris Wilder, the team remained in contention for the play-offs until the final few games of the season and they will be looking to reach them this year.

Whilst the team need to replace midfielder David Brooks who went to Bournemouth, as well as a striker to aid Billy Sharp and Leon Clarke, the signings of John Egan from Brentford and Dean Henderson from Manchester United shows intent. It is highly likely that Sheffield United will be in the top-eight this year but can they make up the extra points to get into that top-six?

What the Fans Think:

Predicted Finish: Top 10

“Would prefer us to make a few higher quality signings to take us to that next level as we lack a bit of pace plus a few players getting on a bit now, got good confidence in the side as we’re not expected to do much but see a top 10 finish as a realistic target.”

Sheffield Wednesday

Sheffield Wednesday

Position last season: 15th
Key Player: Fernando Forestieri
Key Signing: n/a

What FST Thinks:

Last season was a bleak sequence of events for Sheffield Wednesday fans. After finishing in the play-offs in the two seasons prior to the 17/18 campaign, hopes were high for Carlos Carvalhal’s side to repeat the feat, or do even better than that. However, things turned out rather differently. Star player Fernando Forestieri suffered a serious injury early on, whilst poor results meant that Carvalhal left the club in the Christmas period. By the end of the campaign, new manager Jos Luhukay had overseen a mid-table 15th place finish, with not much to enjoy throughout the campaign.

The summer transfer window has not done much to improve the mood. No major signings have been made, whilst talented defender Jack Hunt has moved to Bristol City. Seven youth team players have been promoted to the senior squad and with the skill the manager has with developing youth talent, it will be interesting to see if any can break into the team and drive it up the table. However, this is a risky method to take and on paper, this teams looks set for another mid-table finish.

Read More: Championship 2018/19 Outright Betting Tips and Predictions: Promotion and Relegation

What the Fans Think:

Fan: Declan Ryan

Predicted Finish: Top Half

“No transfers in yet but our first team are mostly back and fit so hopefully we can achieve a top half finish this season. We’re not expecting many, if any, transfers in before the deadline although we are linked with Barry Mckay from Forest.”

Stoke City

Stoke predictions and betting tips

Position last season: 19th in the Premier League
Key Player: Jack Butland (if he stays)
Key Signing: Tom Ince

What FST Thinks:

Stoke are another team we are backing to be around the promotion places. However, unlike Sheffield United who could be around the play-offs, this team will be fighting for the top-two positions. It is a new start for Stoke after a dreadful season in the 2017/18 Premier League campaign, conceding the joint-most goals and simply not getting enough themselves.

There is a new manager in Gary Rowett and a roster of talented players ready to fire Stoke back to the promised land. In particular, Tom Ince has proven with Derby that he can light up the Championship on a regular basis and he should go some way to filling the boots left behind by Xherdan Shaqiri. In addition, the acquisitions of James McClean and Benik Afobe will add to the industry and firepower the team desperately needs. If the team can keep other star players like goalkeeper Jack Butland, coupled with the club’s stable infrastructure, we could see Stoke as potential winners of the Championship.

What the Fans Think:

Fan: Jack Wagstaff @TheRealWago

Predicted Finish: 5th

“Transfer business has been frustrating. Although we have made a few signings, namely Ince and Etebo, who looked good at the World Cup, can’t help but think we need quite a few more. If we could get Bojan firing we would arguably have the best player in the league on our hands – but it doesn’t look as though he fits in to Rowett’s 433. We are still heavily linked to Ritchie, so with him and a new centre half we should at least manage the play-offs”

Swansea City

Swansea vs Everton

Position last season: 18th in the Premier League
Key Player: Alfie Mawson (if he stays)
Key Signing: Joel Asoro

What FST Thinks:

Swansea City’s relegation to the Championship was the culmination of a lost identity and several years of bad choices when it came to transfers and managerial appointments. From starting their stay in the Premier League with an exciting passing game under Brendan Rodgers, the club descended into a style of play that was simply dross under Carlos Carvalhal, who despite having a good start lost his way and has been replaced with Graham Potter. Potter will need to instil an identity into this team quickly.

However, the clubs transfer activity has once again been below-par. Star player, goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, has been sold and although some of the poor choices the board made in transfers have been resolved, such as the sale of midfielder Roque Mesa to Sevilla, the club have only brought in one player, 19-year old Joel Asoro. Whilst the team on paper could do well in the Championship, Potter is unproven at this level, and if more key players go with inadequate replacements, Swansea will struggle to even reach the play-offs.

What the Fans Think:

Fan: Mike Bevan

Predicted Finish: 10th

“We have Sold/selling the clubs best players to cut the wage bill and are bringing in unknowns and championship standard players which is no surprise. On the positive the recruitment team has been replaced but it all depends if Potter can do what he did at Ostersunds and the owners back him. There’s always a risk of relegation but I think we’ll be fine however any transfers in & out have to be resolved quickly, unlike the Sigurdsson saga last year. Pre season results have been terrible. One win I think..”

West Bromwich Albion

West Brom predictions

Position last season: 20th in the Premier League
Key Player: Oliver Burke
Key Signing: Sam Johnstone

What FST Thinks:

West Brom had the season from hell last year, not winning for a dismal 20 games across the campaign and generally playing some awful, awful football. Despite this, rather ironically, we are backing them to be around the top-two this year. There is a fresher feel around the club, with Darren Moore now in charge of the club following an inspired run as caretaker manager towards the end of last season, which added gloss to the turgid campaign.

Their activity in their transfer market has been positive as well. Sam Johnstone has been brought in after a great year at rivals Aston Villa to replace Ben Foster, whilst Kyle Bartley has been added to fill the void left by Jonny Evans. In addition, youngster Harvey Barnes, on loan from Leicester, has been in great for pre-season and the hope is he will adapt to the Championship quickly. If these players can perform to their expected level, coupled with the stay of star players like Jake Livermore and others who should have done better such as Oliver Burke, then West Brom will be right up there come the end of the season.

What the Fans Think:

Fan: Ash Chambers

Predicted Finish: 4th

“Good pre season but still lack of investment, we struggled to score goals last season yet haven’t really addressed this issue. Gayle has been mentioned and I could see that working out well, but I still feel an attacking minded midfielder is needed Sawyers/Freeman maybe.

I respect Darren Moore a lot and want nothing more than for him to succeed, but I feel he was the cheap option to go for by the board. I think he needs a good assistant by his side, he’s not picked one yet hopefully his choice could help him and the team as a whole.”

Wigan Athletic

League One - Doncaster v Wigan

Position last season: 1st in League One
Key Player: Will Grigg
Key Signing: Callum McManaman

What FST Thinks:

After storming to the League One title last season, Wigan will be hoping to finally cement a place in the Championship after years of bouncing between the two divisions. They come into this season after scoring almost twice a game, keeping clean sheets in 59% of games, and only losing six times all season, with just two of those being at home. They will have to replicate that form in order to remain in the Championship.

Their transfer activity has been positive, with promising players in goalkeeper Christian Walton and defender Reece James coming from Premier League teams and looking to make their mark in this division. In addition, explosive winger Callum McManaman has been re-signed and after years of injury troubles, could provide the spark Wigan need to move away from the relegation zone. We think they can do this, and expect a lower mid-table position for the team in the coming season.

What the Fans Think:

Fan: Jonathan Smith @jonatha32619113

Predicted Finish: 14th

“We have signed a couple of players so far, Reece James from Chelsea looks good and bought Leonardo Lopes from Peterborough for a decent fee. Christian Walton is back on loan who is a very good young keeper.

We desperately need a left back as we are weak in that area. Finished last season well and everyone is behind Paul Cook who is doing a good job. Projected takeover should go through by end of August. We need a season of consolidation this year and establish at this level again, if we can keep our better players, Powell/Byrne/Burn/Morsy then I would hope we can finish around mid table.”

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