The Skybet Championship is already two games old and it has thrown up a number of surprises in the early stages. None more so than Newcastle who find themselves near the bottom of the fledgling table with zero points after two defeats. A great deal more was expected from Rafa Benitez and a talented squad, but they are failing to deliver so far.
The other relegated sides, Norwich and Aston Villa, have fared slightly better but the competitive nature of this division is evident. Norwich beat Blackburn on their travels on the opening day, but were held to a 0-0 draw by Sheffield Wednesday over the weekend. Villa lost out away at the Owls in their first fixture, but put things right on Saturday with a 3-0 home success over Rotherham. Remarkably that was the Midlands club’s first win in six months, and Roberto Di Matteo must have been breathing a sigh of relief. Nothing breeds confidence like a victory, and the Villains are worth following again on Tuesday night.
Last year’s losing play off semi finalists, Brighton, are also well on track again under Chris Hughton after an opening day draw away at Derby and a 3-0 home win over Nottingham Forest. They’re at home again on Tuesday night when they entertain Rotherham, and another three points are on the cards. Meanwhile Fulham have had the perfect start with a 1-0 victory over Newcastle and a 2-1 away win at Preston, and it’s another trip North to face Leeds for the Cottagers. They were a profitable side to follow last season in terms of goals, and over 2.5 makes plenty of appeal in the Elland Road clash.
Brighton v Rotherham
Betfred stand out with an offer of 31/501.62-1610.62-1.610.62 about a Seagulls home win, and they should make short work of a Rotherham side who look like they will struggle again this year.
The Millers looked dead and buried last term before experienced manager Neil Warnock came in and pulled off a great escape, but he didn’t stay and has been replaced by Alan Stubbs. It looks like being another long hard season as they slug it out at the bottom, and this is not the kind of fixture where they can be fancied to get much.
Brighton had a superb home record last season – which was one of the things that saw them lead the table for so long – and Friday night’s resounding win over Forest suggests it will be more of the same this term. Glenn Murray is having his second spell with Brighton, on loan from Bournemouth, and he scored twice to seal the win. Chris Hughton has retained the nucleus of the squad that performed so well last season, and another push for promotion is well within their grasp.
Brighton are yet to concede a goal this season, while Rotherham have let in eight in three games, and that tells you all you need to know about this one.
Aston Villa v Huddersfield
Villa are 21/202.05+1051.051.05-0.95 with Betfair and BetVictor to beat Huddersfield, and they are fancied to follow up the weekend victory, despite the Terriers good start to the season.
David Wagner has led Huddersfield to two victories in their first two Championship games this year, with the 2-1 home win over Brentford superseded by the excellent 2-1 defeat of Newcastle at St James’ Park. They currently sit in the heady heights of third in the table, but only the most optimistic of fans would expect them to stay there. Nonetheless, it’s a brilliant start and will stand them in good stead as they aim to steer well clear of relegation trouble.
Aston Villa were undone by a goalkeeping calamity in their opening match at Sheffield Wednesday, which led to the only goal in the 85th minute. A 3-1 defeat at Luton in the EFL Cup in which Okore scored an own goal deepened the gloom, but it was all change at Villa Park on Saturday as they put Rotherham to the sword. Cissokho, Gestede, Grealish, Awey and new signing Ross McCormack gives an indication of the quality at Di Matteo’s disposal, and all were involved in the goals in a confidence boosting 3-0 win.
Confidence breeds confidence and it’s a guarantee that the mood around the training ground will be much better in the build up to this game. It would be no surprise to see Villa go on a bit of run now they have the monkey off the back, and a price of evens about a home win is worth snapping up.
Leeds v Fulham
Finally, Over 2.5 goals is a great shout when Leeds host Fulham at 51/502.02+1021.021.02-0.98 with Marathonbet.
Regular readers of this column will know that the Cottagers were a standing dish for the over 2.5 goal line last season, as they combined one of the divisions best attacks and worst defences. A 1-0 win over Newcastle on the opening day bucked that trend, but normal service has been resumed with a 3-2 win over Leyton Orient in the EFL Cup and a 2-1 win over Preston in the league.
Leeds meanwhile, have lost 3-0 at QPR and 2-1 at home to Birmingham, with a 3-2 win over Fleetwood in the Cup sandwiched inbetween. That one came in extra-time after a 1-1 draw in 90 minutes, but it demonstrates the Elland Road club’s ability to score and concede in equal measure.
With zero points on the board Leeds will be looking to get something from this, while Fulham will be aiming to continue their 100% record with another win. That should lead to an open game, and goals are likely to be on the menu.
Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.
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