Championship Preview – Part 4

QPR

  • Pre-season results: P8 W5 D2 L1 GF22 GA10
  • Last season: 16th

QPR have hit the headlines for the massive settlement with the EFL for their breach of FFP regulations, but fortunately for McClaren’s side their transfer embargo will not begin until January. Despite this QPR have only brought in one player so far this season Toni Leistner on a free from Union Berlin.

The losses of Smithies, Onohua and Robinson will hurt as both played a large amount of games last season, but in McClaren QPR have an experienced manager who will be hoping to replicate his successes with Derby. QPR had a very average season last time around, not standing out stats wise or performance wise as they trundled along to a 16th placed finish.

QPR are one of the youngest sides in the division and McClaren has bought into the young players using them heavily throughout pre-season. If McClaren can get the side firing as he has done with Derby in the past then QPR may be ready to push for the play-offs this season. If McClaren continues his downtrend and his ideas become more and more outdated then it could be a battle at the other end of the table which awaits QPR.

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Derby

  • Pre-season results: P5 W4 D0 L1 GF11 GA5
  • Last season: 6th

I really want to sit here and say ‘don’t believe the hype, Derby are overrated’ unfortunately I can’t go quite that far. Under manager *checks notes* Gary R-rou-row-ett (am I saying that right?) Derby went from looking a certain to be automatically promoted to sliding into the playoffs and losing to eventual winner Fulham. But now they have hired Frank Lampard to give him his first shot in the managerial game and they have recruited well.

Jozefzoon and Wilson look to be outstanding moves. They produced 14 goals and 11 assists in 52 games, averaging a goal or assist every 146 minutes. They have also signed Mason Mount and Jack Marriott who could be good, but there is a long list of attackers from Eredivisie and League One who have failed to replicate their form in the Championship.

Derby under our manager managed to maintain a quite incredible over performance throughout the season. They outperformed their xG for by 8.81 and their xG against by 8.01, they likely would not have been able to maintain this under Rowett for another season so the likelihood of this happening under a new manager is minimal. There is so many unknowns wit Derby this season, but if everything comes together then they should get the promotion they expect.

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Reading

  • Pre-season results: P6 W0 D3 L3 GF5 GA12
  • Last season: 20th

Reading are going to get relegated from the EFL Championship this season. They are bad, so so so bad. Clement came in last season and somehow kept them up, despite points models based on xG saying they deserved virtually no points under him. Since a play-off push under Jaap Stam two seasons ago the wheels have well and truly come off for Reading and Clement isn’t the man to put them back on.

They have made signings that reek of desperation. John O’Shea is looking at a third relegation in three seasons, David Meyler had a fairly good season with Hull but is not a stand out, Sam Baldock has been third choice striker at Brighton for several season and never stood out. So get your tickets to Reading fast, this boring experience may be one Stoke fans will not get a chance to experience for a long time after this season.

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Ipswich

  • Pre-season results: P5 W2 D0 L3 GF4 GA4
  • Last season: 12th

Ipswich will struggle without Mick McCarthy, I have sympathy for their fans being stuck between the rock of ugly football and the hard place of a bad squad under invested squad. And if there is to be any success, and here read not getting relegated, it will be down to Paul Hurst.

There transfer business is the same as ever, cheap moves from the lower division combined with the testing ground for Premier League loanees. One really exciting prospect is Trevor Chalobah, he is one of the better defenders of his age group and could stamp his mark on the Championship this season.

Ellis Harrison, signed from Bristol Rovers, is also an exciting prospect. He tops Statsbombs new metric shots ‘in the clear’ (https://statsbomb.com/2018/08/inside-league-one-teams-trends-and-metrics/) for League One last season and scored a tidy 13 goals. Filling the boots of the almost certain outgoing of Martyn Waghorn will be a test but if he can meet it then this will be a very shroud signing.

Ipswich are again going with the tried and tested formula of quality manager and cheap but well thought out recruitment and it, combined with a handful of genuinely awful teams, will keep Ipswich in the league this season.

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Aston Villa

  • Pre-season results: P6 W4 D1 L1 GF12 GA6
  • Last season: 5th

Aston Villa have had a busy summer, they were about to go bust, then they were about to hire Henry and in the end? Well nothing has happened really. They have made one signing so far this summer André Moreira a goalkeeper on loan from Atletico Madrid, and we go to Portugese expert Tiago Estêvão for a take on him.

Aside from this deal nothing has happened at Villa and this should be worrying for their fans. Grealish has been the focus of the discussion with many suggesting that him staying or going will decide whether Villa have a good or bad season. But their biggest loss stats wise will without doubt be Snodgrass who supplied eight goals and 13 assists last season.

Villa’s money troubles, despite ending in a sense that they will not face winding up orders although FFP still looms, have drastically affected their recruitment. The knock on effect is that Villa will be unable to compete with the teams at the top of the table and are stuck with their aging average squad.

Millwall

  • Pre-season results: N/A sort your website out Millwall
  • Last season: 8th

Millwall had an excellent campaign last time around in their return to the Championship. Neil Harris has made his side tough to break down and they are arguably the closest thing to the stereotype Stoke fans have been expecting. Harris’ Millwall played a 442 every game last season whilst averaging the least possession of any side in the division. Only Ipswich, Barnsley and Burton attempted more long balls and only Cardiff won more aerial duels.

Millwall have been quiet in the transfer market adding only Jiri Skalak, a winger who is anything but a stand out from Brighton, Ben Amos and Murray Wallace. Their transfer business is much like their football, no thrills but effective and is likely to produce the desired results.

Harris will be expecting another strong campaign but the quality at the top end of the table will likely keep them out of the play off spots.

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