EFL Championship Round-Up: Norwich City and Sheffield United Continue to Impress as Reading Maintain Surprise Promotion Chase

Footballer's legs with a ball on stadium

Eight games into the new EFL Championship season, and things are starting to settle in, with the promotion chasers bedding in for the long run and relegation battlers fighting for every point they can garner. 

Everyone knows that the EFL Championship is a marathon, not a sprint, and the hard work is only just getting started, but one or two teams are certainly putting their cases for promotion very much on the table.

Blades Looking Sharp

If you backed Sheffield United in the EFL Championship betting, and many did given the great form that Paul Heckingbottom’s side showed in the closing weeks of last season, the Blades are very much looking like the team to beat.

Having overcome a run of 43 league games without a goal, Scottish forward Oli McBurnie can’t stop scoring (as was predicted by Profit Squad a couple of weeks ago), and he got the opener, and much sought-after midfielder Sander Berge grabbed the second as United won away at Hull City to keep them top of the tree.

It was only Sheffield United’s second away win in 11 trips but shows that Heckingbottom’s side are very much in the running to make it out of the Championship, and they have managed to keep hold of their top talents, such as Liverpool target Berge, and that will hold them in good stead for the long haul.

Dean Smith’s Canaries Starting to Sing

After a faltering start to the season, it appears Dean Smith’s Norwich City are now getting firmly into gear and justifying their position as one of the favourites to win the title. The Canaries eased past Coventry City thanks to goals from Teemu Pukki, Josh Sargent and Kieran Dowell.

The win was Norwich City’s fifth on the spin and is further evidence that they really are a team on the rise. They’ll hope to continue their run going when they face a cracker of a fixture against fellow promotion chasers Burnley on Friday night.

Paul Ince Continues to Impress

Many have felt that Reading’s placement at the top end of the table was something of a quirk and not a sign of a legitimate push for promotion, but Paul Ince continues to get the most out of his Royals side.

Ince may have feared that the 4-0 drubbing at Sheffield United in midweek would have blunted their morale, but a brace from Lucas Joao saw them home past Stoke City to retain their place in the top three.

Joao, who represented Portugal at full international level before switching allegiances to Angola seven years after getting his caps for the European nation, finished last season with 10 Championship goals and already has three to his name and the former Sheffield Wednesday man ran the show for Reading.

Rotherham Proving Hard to Beat

Watford stuttered to a draw away at Rotherham, with defender Richard Wood putting the home side ahead early on before Vakoun Bayo equalized for Watford, who have now drawn four of their opening eight games of the season and aren’t in the form that boss Rob Edwards would expect.

In the Friday night game, West Brom drew with Vincent Kompany’s Burnley side, a result that doesn’t appear to do either side much good.

Meanwhile, Preston, the last team to have an unbeaten record, lost to Birmingham City, with Maxime Colin’s goal being the first that North End have conceded this season, and the result leaves them rooted in mid-table.

Monday’s clash sees struggling Middlesbrough take on a Sunderland side that have genuine promotion potential.