Who will finish in the top two?
Benjamin Bloom: Fulham and Sheffield United. Post Covid I’m expecting the parachute teams to dominate again like last season and these two are my pick.
Ben HD: Fulham and West Brom. For me, these two will be a level above everyone else this season. Marco Silva and Valérien Ismaël are top managers and the quality in each squad should see them get over the line.
Nathan Spafford: Sheffield United and Middlesbrough. Both of these clubs have Championship promotion gurus in charge, Neil Warnock having moulded this Middlesbrough side into one of his own classic creations, while the Blades have a second-tier cheat code in Slovisa Jokanovic and Championship hot shots Oli McBurnie and Rhian Brewster up front.
Justin Peach: I’ve gone with Fulham and West Brom. Fulham have so much quality and depth, they’re pretty much ahead of everyone. West Brom have Ismael who worked wonders with Barnsley and has a squad capable of achieving top two this season.
Who will finish in the play-offs?
BB: Bournemouth & West Brom are the other two teams with the big broadcast payments, and QPR and Millwall seem to have improved year on year
BHD: Sheffield United, Bournemouth, QPR and Middlesbrough. These sides could all be mixing with the top two this season, but I’m especially excited to see QPR and Middlesbrough in action.
NS: West Brom, Fulham, QPR, Barnsley. The two parachute payment teams will fight it out near the top of the table for obvious reasons, while QPR finished last season in stellar form and have improved the squad yet again. Barnsley to repeat Swansea’s trick of successive play-off campaigns without success.
JP: Sheffield United, Bournemouth, QPR and Cardiff. I think Bournemouth still need one or two players even if key players leave. Cardiff under McCarthy I think will be a danger to teams, they’ve got quality as well.
Who will be relegated?
BB: Derby, Huddersfield & Hull were my bottom three, although knowing the Championship, chaos will ensue at a club we thought was stable.
BHD: Derby, Peterborough and Huddersfield. Posh are an intriguing side going into this season and they could go either way, my only worry for them is that they ship too many goals and get dragged into a relegation scrap.
NS: Hull, Reading, Derby – Reading are coming into the season in bad form and having lost key players, while Hull have bought many players but few who improve the squad and Derby, well, even I’m not crazy enough to suggest they can survive.
JP: Derby, Hull City and Blackpool. Hull lack depth and experience and Blackpool lack Championship experience. A lot of their squad is untried at this level.
Who will be a dark horse?
BB: In a relatively open field below the recent Premier League teams I’ll stick with QPR & Millwall as my ‘dark horses’.
BHD: I have a good feeling about Middlesbrough this season under Neil Warnock.
NS: Blackpool. Neil Critchley is looking set to be one of the Championship’s greatest managers, and where the squad and team lacks quality and depth, his world-class coaching more than makes up for it. No relegation battles beside the seaside for the Tangerines.
JP: I think Millwall could surprise teams and challenge for the top six. They’ve steadily got better over the years and have put together a very capable squad for the coming season.
Who will underperform?
BB: One of the four Bournemouth, West Brom, Fulham and Sheff Utd won’t get promoted….that one’s guaranteed!
BHD: I think Blackburn might end up struggling, especially if the Adam Armstrong saga continues until the end of the window.
NS: Swansea. Russell Martin is a fine appointment. But Swansea have been in freefall all summer and much of the joy around Martin’s managerial qualities come from his style of play rather than results. In the long term, this could be a great appointment, but with this bare-boned side, Swansea will be nowhere near the play-offs for a third straight season.
JP: I think Stoke will disappoint again. A lot of their quality in the final third is pinned on Campbell getting fit which is not always a given.
Who will win the golden boot?
BHD: It’s going to be Mitrovic, isn’t it?
NS: Kieffer Moore had a great debut season with Cardiff City and a full campaign under Mick McCarthy should see the colossal striker improve on his 20-goal haul from 2020-21. Expect Adam Armstrong to struggle to reach double figures, just to embarass myself even more come May.
JP: Kieffer Moore.
Who will be the signing of the season?
BB: Looking forward to seeing players who have stepped up like Jorge Grant, Carlos Mendes-Gomes, and Randell Williams.
BHD: I like the signing of Rob Atkinson, who’s joined Bristol City. QPR getting Charlie Austin and Stefan Johansen back will also serve them well this season.
NS: Alex Mowatt will help bring the Ismael style of play to The Hawthorns, while Levi Colwill to Huddersfield has a shout for the best loan of the summer window. But the likes of Jorge Grant and Carlos Mendes Gomes could thrive at Luton and propel the Hatters towards the upper echelons of the league, so let’s go with the former Morecambe winger.
JP: I’d lean toward Alex Mowatt but it seems too easy. I think Fulham bringing in Harry Wilson is a masterstroke given how well he complimented Kieffer Moore last season. Mitrovic will be a very happy man I think.
We then asked everyone to predict what the table will look like at the end of the season. Here is the average table, calculated from everyone’s predictions:
2. Sheffield United
3. West Brom
12. Nottingham Forest
15. Bristol City
23. Hull City