A summer of mad spending has seen former Liverpool target Ruben Neves join a club that was nowhere near promotion last season, relegated Premier League sides spending big, and a former England captain leave the Premier League champions to join a mid-table Championship side. This could be an interesting season...
Here are my predictions for The Championship in 2017/18.
For me, it’s between two big-spenders, but I’m going to go with Middlesbrough to come out as Champions. have blown £30 million on three strikers in Britt Assombalonga, Martin Braithwaite and Ashley Fletcher, which in addition to the players remaining from their Premier League campaign should see them be major challengers this season. They’re solid at the back and the added strikepower should see them be more of a goal threat than they were last season. So I think I’ll take a bet on Middlesbrough to come out on top.
In second place, Wolverhampton Wanderers have gone all out this summer. The Jorge Mendes-inspired madness has seen last season’s mid-table dwellers somehow manage to attract Porto wonderkid Ruben Neves to the club for a cool £15 million, as well as bringing in the loan signing of Diogo Jota from Atletico Madrid - who scored against Leicester City in the Champions League for Porto last season. In addition to the likes of former Monaco man Ivan Cavaleiro and additional loanees from Porto and Monaco, Wolves should be right up there at the end of the season.
Pushing the top two close should be the likes of Sheffield Wednesday, who should challenge again after losing out to Huddersfield in last year’s play-offs, and Leeds United, who I think have strengthened well in pre-season. You have to expect Aston Villa to be right up there, but I’m unconvinced by the signings of John Terry and Christopher Samba, so I’m going to back Fulham to go one better than last year’s seventh placed finish and I’ll go for Norwich City to follow in Huddersfield Town’s shoes and reach the play-offs under the tutelage of a wily German manager. As for who’ll taste victory at Wembley, I’ll back the outsider and go for Fulham.
It’s difficult for me to look beyond Bolton Wanderers right now. We have a weak, thin squad and we don’t have a single player who has consistently scored goals at this level in recent seasons (Adam Le Fondre scored 15 in 2013/14 and 11 in 2014/15) - which has long been our biggest problem. I think Burton Albion’s lack of finances and general lack of quality will catch up with them this season, and they’ll be joined by Sheffield United - just because I don’t like them very much and I want them to go down with us. Sunderland are a decent shout to struggle too, but I can see them finishing mid-table.
Where will Bolton finish
It’ll take a miracle for us to finish 21st, and frankly I can’t see a single team in the league that’s ‘an easy three points.’ Unfortunately, I think we’re going to be propping up The Championship in 24th position.
League Top Scorer
If Villa get it right then Jonathan Kodjia could be the guy to watch out for. You have to fancy Jordan Rhodes to deliver on the £10 million that Wednesday shelled out on him and Patrick Bamford is a decent outside shout if he can rediscover his form at Boro. Chris Wood scored 27 league goals last season, so he’s likely to be right up there among the top scorers again.
Mad Random Event Prediction
John Terry. Teammates’ girlfriends. Chris Samba. Take your pick.
Wolves and Villa to implode from the big-spending madness and sack their managers by Christmas.