Next season’s EFL Championship will be a bloodbath


The 2016-17 season of the rebranded EFL (English Football League) Championship will be one of the most toughest and hardest fought since there are so many clubs aiming at promotion and playoff places.In fact out of 24 clubs participating in the England’s second division 17 are former members of the Premier League and while some of them are looking to avoid relegation into League One,others are looking for an improvement at the table,recently relegated sides are looking an immediate return to the Premier League,while a number of clubs are looking for promotion in the Premier League after years spending in football wilderness.Starting with the two recently relegated sides from the Premier League-Aston Villa and Newcastle United.Aston Villa is looking for an immediate return to the Premier League after last season was a disaster were they collected all season long just 17 points,after the Premier League season ended Randy Lerner sold the club to Chinese businessman Tony Xia who promised an immediate return to the Premier League and Roberto Di Matteo was hired as the manager who should bring the club back to the Premier League while Xia promised to open the funds for necessary squad reinforcements.Newcastle United has been relegated again from the Premier League after six years,Rafael Benitez who oversaw the relegation of Newcastle last season will look for an immediate return of the club back to the Premier League,meanwhile protests against owner Mark Ashley will not slow down since the fans blame him for the club’s poor performance in recent seasons.One of the most biggest candidates for promotion is Sheffield Wednesday who suprisingly clinched the last playoff spot last season and made it to the playoff final where they fell short against Hull City,but under manager Carlos Carvalhal,the club improved last season and made a surprise run into the playoff final.This season are one of the favorites to be promoted back to the Premier League after 16 long years of exile in which they even suffered twice relegation to League One.Under Thai owner Dejphon Chansiri who bought the club in 2014,he made a goal for the club to reach the Premier League in 2017 when the club will celebrate its 150th anniversary.Brighton And Hove Albion is looking for its first season in top flight English football for the first time in 34 years and last season they missed automatic promotion to the Premier League only by goal difference while they were tied with points with Middlesbrough who was promoted instead of them.This season is no different and the Seagulls will be highly motivated to achieve automatic promotion after being eliminated in the playoff semifinals by Sheffield Wednesday.In the East Midlands,Derby County is looking for promotion for the first time since 2008 when after a catastrophic season in the Premier League where they collected only 11 points were relegated and since then they are in the Championship.During the summer break the club hired a person who guided a club to automatic promotion and then after he was fired won the Premier League title,former Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson.Last season Derby finished 5th which was enough for a place in the playoffs where in the semifinal were defeated by Hull City,in the 2016-17 season Derby under Pearson is looking for automatic promotion.Going into East Anglia we have two clubs with two different stories who are no strangers of playing in the Premier League and who are rivals between each other-Norwich City and Ipswich Town.While Norwich is looking to bounce back in the Premier League in its first attempt and it is looking more like a yo-yo club,Ipswich is much different story.The Tractor Boys were relegated from the Premier League in 2002 and in recent years either they missed automatic promotion or were eliminated in the playoff semifinals was the obstacle for the club who won the UEFA Cup in 1981 and which was Alf Ramsey’s first club he managed and led to a league title before he won the World Cup with England in 1966.In the 2016-17 season with the return of Norwich,the Old Farm derby has been revived with more than bragging rights being involved as prize.In Mick McCarthy’s fifth season since he came to the club in 2012,the Tractor Boys look towards promotion and to improve their place on the table which was 7th last season and only by 5 points they missed the final playoff place.Meanwhile the rest of the clubs in the Championship are looking for improving their places on the table.Villa’s city rival Birmingham City which was relegated from the Premier League in 2011 is looking to improve its 10th place last season and to shoot for a place in the playoffs,while Cardiff City who finished 8th and who still have controversial Vincent Tan as owner are looking to improve that and reach the Premier League since they were relegated just two seasons ago.In West London,Brentford is making noises in the last two seasons since they were promoted from League One to the Championship.In the 2014-15 season the Bees finished 5th and which was enough for the playoffs where Middlesbrough beat them in both games of the playoff semifinals,while in the 2015-16 season Brentford finished 9th with 65 points, but the Bees are shooting for a place in the playoffs.Meanwhile Brentford’s West London rivals had mixed seasons.QPR under manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink finished 12th besides the club has accumulated huge debt under reckless owner Tony Fernandes, while Fulham had a catastrophic season and finished under former Watford manager Slavisa Jokanovic 20th which was 2 places above the relegated and mismanaged Charlton Athletic besides that Fulham has Ross McCormack who scored 21 goals last season.Going into Yorkshire the once famous and successful Leeds United had another mediocre season which had less with the club’s performance on the pitch and more with the controversy surrounding owner Massimo Cellino who just in two years hired and fired six managers in total and the club’s fans are furious with Cellino how he is leading the club.For the 2016-17 season former Swansea City manager Garry Monk was hired on a one year contract but since Cellino is unpredictable it is a doubt that he will stay in the club till next summer.Meawhile the other three clubs from Yorkshire who are close to Leeds but not its biggest rivals:Barnsley who was promoted after winning the promotion final against Millwall,Rotherham United who finished 21st which is a place above the relegation place and Huddersfield Town who finished 19th are looking for survival or at least a decent finish at the table.In the Northwest the 1994-95 Premier League champion Blackburn Rovers is looking for an improvement in the Championship after finishing last season 15th under former Villa manager Paul Lambert who left the club in the end of the season and former Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic manager Owen Coyle was hired after spending two seasons in the USA where he coached the MLS side Houston Dynamo.Blackburn’s neighbours Preston North End is looking to improve its 11th place and to make a shot at one of the places for the playoffs and the newly promoted Wigan Athletic who suffered turmoil since they were relegated from the Premier League in 2013 are looking in the first season of the their return to the Championship to achieve survival.Derby County’s most biggest and fiercest rival Nottingham Forest which last time was featured in the Premier League in the 1998-99 season had another disappointing season where they finished only 16th.For the club who won the European Champions Cup in 1979 and 1980,as well the league title in 1978 with its last major trophy the League Cup in 1990 an improvement on the table is must in the 2016-17 season,also to mention there is Wolverhampton Wanderers who after they were relegated in 2012 from the Premier League only to suffer relegation to League One in 2013,but under former Millwall manager Kenny Jacket the Wolves bounced back and last season in the Championship finished at 14th which between Leeds and Blackburn and like other clubs are looking for an improvement at the table.There are in total 46 rounds of the EFL Championship which in the 2016-17 season will be one of the most competitive,toughest and hardest fought for every place in the table and the battle for promotion to the reach the promised land of the Premier League can begin.


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