Sunday, 5 August 2018

Championship Discussion 2: Brentford, Bristol City, Derby and Hull

If you want an enterprising, lovely football team and then Brentford is the team for you. Dean Smith has put together a vibrant, young team hoping to push for promotion. Dean Smith’s team have finished just outside the play-offs in the last two seasons, but they will hoping this is their year to finally break into the top 6. However, another magnificent trait about Brentford is their ability to replace star performers in their side. This summer has seen them lose John Egan and Florian Jozefzoon and potentially Ryan Woods and Ollie Watkins could also leave but the club still play the same way and remain competitive and that is very admirable. A special season could be on the horizon for the bees of Brentford and the fans will be believe this is their year to shine. Their style is certainly unique, and they can be extremely difficult to play against and they have won plenty of admirers from afar. However, the pressure now is to show they can break into the play-off places with Brentford frequently falling short and Dean Smith knows the lovely football means nothing if they don’t begin to achieve something. There is an array of talent in their side including the likes of Ryan Woods, Ollie Watkins, Romaine Sawyers, Sergi Canos and Chris Mepham. There is a good spirit in the Brentford team and they will be wanting to achieve something this season. Ryan Woods is the beating heart of Brentford’s midfield anchoring the back 4 and starting attacks with his range of passing and it is no wonder why there is interest in the midfielder and Dean Smith will be hoping to keep him at the club. However, Brentford really do need a 20-goal striker in their ranks and maybe Neal Maupay and Ollie Watkins can step up but every successful team needs a regular goalscorer and although both reached double figures, they had large dry spells in front of goal. The Brentford fans will hope their side can break into the top 6 and maybe even dreaming of the Premier League.
I think Brentford could be the surprise package this season and they play some of the best football in the league and this could their year if everything continues to tick on the pitch. Dean Smith has faith in this team and I fancy them to break that top 6

My Predicted Finish: 6th

Bristol City
There would certainly have been some disappointment at Ashton Gate at the end of last season with Bristol City yet again falling short of the play-offs despite being 2nd at Christmas. Lee Johnson will be desperate for Bristol City to push throughout the whole campaign rather than half a season. On evidence there is clear talent at the club with Johnson using young players and utilising the lower leagues and European leagues to find talent. Bristol City have suffered with a lack of consistency in terms of form and if they are going to push the play-offs, they must incorporate this into their game. On their day, Bristol City can beat anyone with their fast paced, nice passing game and the fans will hope to make that big push this season. The club is full of talent with the likes of Joe Bryan, Marlon Pack, Famara Diedhiou and Jamie Paterson. Diedhiou was potent in the last season and his suspension will be a blow in the early weeks of the season but he if gets firing again, he will be vital in City’s push. As will Joe Bryan, the talented full back winning many admirers and Bristol City will be desperate to keep him. Bristol City have become excellent starters and poor finishers, and this must be a huge frustration for anyone associated with the club and the pressure will mount on Johnson once again if this happens for a third straight season. Bristol City have been active in this window and it seems pace has been high on the agenda due to the signings of wingers Hakeeb Adelakun and Marley Watkins. Both players have points to prove for different reasons and Johnson will be wanting to see the best of both them in the colours of Bristol City. However, the loss of Aden Flint will be difficult to adjust to at first due to his strong defensive presence and powerful goal threat however, his replacement Adam Webster will relish the chance to fill his very large boots at the heart of Bristol City’s defence and he will be crucial at the back alongside Nathan Baker. The Bristol City fans will hope this is their season and they can finally break into the top 6 as well Lee Johnson and consistency will be vital for the club to achieve anything this season because they can’t turn up for a half season for a 3rd consecutive campaign.
I think Bristol City have a very good squad that will be competitive all season but, on this occasion, I think they will just miss out on the play-off places once again, but they will give 100% all the way to the end.

My Predicted Finish: 11th

It was a very good season for Gary Rowett at Derby guiding them to the play-off semi finals only to lose out to eventual winners Fulham but now the club gears up for a new era following Rowett’s departure to Stoke. Frank Lampard one of England’s most decorated midfielders leads Derby’s promotion charge this time around and he will hope to go one better than his predecessor and it’s no wonder why the Derby fans are so excited for the new season. However, the Championship will open the eyes of Frank Lampard because it is an extremely difficult league because of its unpredictability in terms of results and Lampard must hit the ground running straight away to have any success this season. Derby’s success last season was built on a solid back 4 which included experienced centre backs Curtis Davies and Richard Keogh. Those two know all about the Championship and Lampard will look to those two to be the experienced men to help his youthful team. Lampard has got the East Midlands club buzzing and he will want success this season. The club boasts last seasons Championship and League 1 top scorers with Matej Vydra and Jack Marriott on their books. Both will hope to score the goals to fire Derby to the Premier League but those two aren’t their only threats with Tom Lawrence and highly rated loan signings Harry Wilson and Mason Mount. Wilson sparkled at Hull and Lampard will be wanting that similar sparkle at Derby. Similarly, young midfielder Mason Mount will hope to showcase his skills in England following a magnificent loan spell in the Eredivisie with Vitesse. The Chelsea loanee will be one to watch this season if Lampard gets him going in the attacking areas of the pitch. Lampard is relishing the challenge and the Derby fans are excited and this could be a brilliant season for the Rams.
I think Lampard is building an exciting, young Derby team that will be challenging for promotion. However, I think they will just miss out on the play-offs this season but make no mistake they will be an exciting team to watch and will push all the way for promotion.

My Predicted Finish: 7th

It has been a tough couple of seasons for Hull. After their relegation from the Premier League, their first season back in the Championship saw them languish in the bottom half for virtually all of the season and they will disappoint all of the Hull fans. The fans are desperate for the Allam family to leave but alas they remain in charge and their relationship with the fans is getting even more distant by the day. However, the appointment of Nigel Adkins would have satisfied some Hull fans because he got them to safety and played some nice football along the way. However, they have lost important players from last season like Abel Hernandez, Harry Wilson and Michael Dawson and the Hull fans will be concerned as to where their season is going. Adkins has flexed his muscle during this window to sign the likes of Reece Burke, Eric Lichaj and Jordy De Wijs and although they may be solid players, the fans will be worried that they may not gel in their defence. Furthermore, the club has yet to replace Abel Hernandez because although he was injured for much of the season, he scored plenty of goals when fit and you just don’t see Nouha Dicko or Will Keane reaching those heights. However, one saving grace from a disappointing season was Hull academy product Jarrod Bowen. He was the gem in a poor Hull team last season and he will be vital to anything Hull do in the new season and he plays with a determination to please his hometown club. Nigel Adkins will hope for improvement on last season’s disappointing finish, but the fans will continue to show their anger towards the owner and this will certainly affect their team and it could be another tough season for the tigers. The fans want a promotion push, but the reality is, their team isn’t good enough and it could be argued Adkins’ replacements for last seasons better players are not good enough either.
I think Hull will be alright in terms of the relegation battle, but they must improve on last season and give their fans, something to celebrate and a mid-table finish seems the most likely destination for Hull this season.

My Predicted Finish: 16th

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