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2018/19 Championship Predictions: James

Let’s predict the World’s most unpredictable league.

Stoke City v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Let’s run the rule of Bolton’s opponents and see who will be the forces to watch out for and who will whimper to the finish line. This will definitely go swimmingly. So here’s my 2018/19 Championship Predictions:

Champions

I’m going to go for Stoke City, as much as that physically pains me to say. Despite losing some great talent and pedigree in Xherdan Shaqiri, Marc Muniesa and Glen Johnson, Stoke have managed to retain a squad that still contains a frightening array of talent for this division. Mame Biram Diouf, Bojan, Ryan Shawcross, Erik Pieters etc. can all be extremely problematic at this level. On top of that, securing the services of known Championship quantities in Tom Ince and Benik Afobe makes for a scary strike force. Tying Joe Allen to the club was great business as well as he’ll keep that midfield ticking. Lastly, they did extremely well to secure the services of Gary Rowett, who despite being a bit of a knob is a proven manager at this level and with a squad of this quality at his disposal, he could finally make the step up another tier.

Runners up

West Bromwich Albion. Darren Moore looks to be the manager to clean up the devastating mess of Alan Pardew. Not to mention, they’ve also retained the services of a lot of talent like Nacer Chadli, Matt Phillips, James Morrison, Jay Rodriguez who will be tough to deal with. With most of their efforts going to improve from their formerly ancient back line, West Brom will push Stoke close but I just miss out on top spot.

Play-Offs

In no specific order, Middlesbrough, Derby County, Preston North End and Swansea City. Swansea City still enough talent left over to be a serious threat at this level but I’m still on the fence on whether Graham Potter is a good appointment. We all know what Tony Pulis can do so Middlesbrough will definitely be there. Frank Lampard looks to be doing a great job revamping Derby after losing Gary Rowett, bringing in some quality palyers in the area Derby needed them. Lastly, Preston North End will be the team everyone underestimates on their quality. Alex Neil is quietly doing a phenomenal job with Preston and I think he’ll have enough this season to get them back to being the Play-Off whipping boys.

Relegated

Again in no particular order, Rotherham United, Wigan Athletic and Birmingham City. Rotherham have strengthened slightly from the last campaign but still not nearly enough to be escaping the drop again. Wigan will because removing my bias about them being a tin pot club, their squad is strong for League One but will definitely struggle in the Championship. Most of their signings have no experience at this level and a lot of the players who flattered to deceive last time e.g. Grigg, MacDonald, Power are still there and I doubt they’ll storm the League this time. Last is Birmingham City as their club is falling into disarray. Garry Monk is a good manager but even he’ll struggle since Birmingham can’t make any more signings and a lot of the players at the club currently aren’t amazing at this level either. List of clubs who just miss out: QPR, Hull, Reading, Blackburn and us.

Where will Bolton finish?

19th. We’ll have enough quality to stay up in this division but we will flirt with a drop a few times this season. Ultimately though we should have enough to stay up.

League Top Scorer

I’d be tempted to say Britt Assombalonga but he can never seem to stay fit for an full season to justify that prediction. Based of that logic, I’ll go with Lewis Grabban at Forest. He’s surrounded by a much improved Forest squad so he’ll have plenty of opportunity to bag some tap-ins.

Mad Random Event Prediction

Marcelo Bielsa will break the record for amount of times a manager has been sent to the stands in a season. He’s an absolute nutter. Worst part is that he’ll probably be gone by Christmas.