The English football season is back and for me, one of the most fascinating races is seeing who can get out of the Championship, and get promoted into the Premier League. The Championship is one of the toughest leagues in the world to get out of, and with some big summer signings, this year looks like being as tough as any we have seen previously.
The three clubs that were relegated from the Premier League, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Hull will all be looking to bounce back straight away this season.
Middlesbrough looks to be in the best position out of those three, having kept a good number of last season’s squad, as well as improving with Championship quality players. A lot of their hopes will rest on the new striking trio of Ashley Fletcher, Britt Assombalonga and Martin Braithwaite, who will be expected to score goals for fun in the Championship.
Looking at the other two clubs, I expect things to be much tougher for Sunderland and Hull, who look like they are using this year to rebuild after their time in the top flight. The plan for these two is to get in a position where promotion is a realistic goal next season, not this, similar to what Aston Villa set out to do.
Aston Villa has made some good moves in 2017, after taking a while to get used to the Championship. They have played the long game, and will be looking to reap the rewards this season. Their squad looks in better shape at the start of this campaign, and any defence with John Terry marshalling it in the Championship should be formidable. Anything less than a top six finish for Villa would be highly disappointing given their plan and who they have signed during 2017.
Rounding off the challenge for the Premier League looks to be Derby, Wolves, Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday and Norwich. All these clubs are very good, top end Championship clubs, who know how tough it is to get out of this division. They have all put together strong squads, building on what they had last season and I expect we will see these clubs challenging for at least a playoff berth this coming season. Wolves especially have spent a lot of money this summer as they look to make the jump back into the Premier League finally. However, given some teams involved, some will face disappointment and head back to the drawing board at the end of this campaign.
The strength in depth is clear for everyone to see, and here we have mentioned nine clubs who all have a realistic chance of promotion to the Premier League this season. It is no wonder many people call the Championship the hardest league in the world and looking at the teams lining up this season it is difficult to argue with.
With less than a week to go until the start of the Championship season, the excitement is certainly building for what should be a fantastic season of football.Tags :