It’s even-steven after Round 24 of the Sky Bet Championship campaign as the top two share the spoils and in-form Saints go marching on.

Stoke City came out swinging on Boxing Day to leave hapless Wayne Rooney on the ropes. There were some Oscar-winning theatrics, too, as the red mist descended at the Deepdale Stadium.

Find out more in the Boxing Day edition of Winners and Losers below.


Southampton’s Dominant Performance in Week 24

Southampton thumped Swansea City 5-0 to leapfrog Leeds United into third and close the gap to second-placed Ipswich Town to five points.

The win saw the Saints extend their unbeaten run to 16 matches as Russell Martin’s side quietly stake their claim for automatic promotion.

After shaking off Leeds United and claiming third place exclusively for themselves, the Saints will now be setting their sights on catching the Tractor Boys while hoping to keep the Whites at bay.

Sunderland’s Climb and Hull City’s Struggle

In recent weeks, Sunderland and Hull City have traded opportunities to occupy sixth place, either through their own efforts or results elsewhere.

On Boxing Day the two sides met in a clash that effectively was a straight fight for the final play-off spot, with Hull City enjoying the advantage of incumbency going into the tie.

The Black Cats prevailed 1-0 to snap a two-match losing streak while condemning Hull City to a second consecutive defeat, dislodging the Tigers from sixth place in the process.

Rotherham’s Surprising Victory

You will be more hard-pressed to find a match that captured the football truism that “the result is secondary to the performance” more aptly than Rotherham’s 1-0 win over Middlesbrough.

Over the whole piece, bottom-of-the-table Rotherham were battered by Boro, whose dominance in all areas was total. And still the Millers emerged victories thanks to Cohen Bramall’s fortuitous goal, an attempted cross that somehow found its way into the back of the net.

It was Rotherham’s first win in 12 matches and only their third of the campaign, snapping a four-match losing streak.

Despite the win the Millers remain bottom of the table, but moved level on points with Sheffield Wednesday in 23rd to give themselves a fighting chance in the battle to stave off relegation.

Stoke City’s Resurgence Under Steve Schumacher

Stoke City beat Birmingham City 3-1 to give new manager Steve Schumacher his first win in his second match in charge. The win extended the Potters’ unbeaten run to four matches since the dismissal of Alex Neil.

Stoke City who were in real danger of being sucked into the relegation narrative, now have a handy seven-point buffer between themselves and the drop zone.

Mixed Fortunes for Huddersfield Town and Millwall

Huddersfield Town and Millwall moved five and six points clear of the relegation zone with respective victories over Blackburn Rovers and Queens Park Rangers.

The Terriers put three unanswered goals past Rovers, while the Lions secured all three points on the back of a 2-0 win over QPR.


Leeds United’s Frustrating Defeat

Never let it be said that Leeds United are not consistent – consistently frustrating.

After handing Ipswich Town a thorough beating in the previous round, the Whites, true to form, slumped to a defeat in the next match.

To be fair, Leeds United were very much in the contest until goalkeeper Illan Meslier was given his marching orders for shoving Milutin Osmajic in the face in an act of retaliation in the face of provocation. Osmajic made a meal of the shove, leaving the referee with no option but to dismiss Meslier.

Even with a player light, Daniel Farke’s side looked destined for a share of the spoils until Preston grabbed a late winner courtesy of Liam Millar’s spectacular strike.

Whereas in the past Leeds United got off lightly and retained their top-three place because rivals failed to capitalise on their slip-up, this time defeat proved costly. The Whites ceded third place to Southampton, who established a three-point cushion over Daniel Farke’s men.

The Ongoing Challenges for Birmingham City and Blackburn Rovers

Wayne Rooney just can’t seem to catch a break. Since the dismissal of John Eustace, the Blues have not managed back-to-back wins, with a draw or win invariably followed by a loss.

The 3-3 draw at Plymouth Argyle last time out was followed by a crushing 3-1 defeat by Stoke City on Boxing Day to invite yet more scrutiny on Rooney and his long-term future at St Andrew’s.

Blackburn Rovers

Blackburn Rovers are in a freefall.  The Ewood Park outfit were condemned to a 3-0 defeat by Huddersfield Town.

It was Rovers’ third loss on the bounce, and fourth in five matches to pile the pressure on manager Jon Dahl Tomasson.

Hull City

In what had become a see-saw battle between the two sides in the fight for sixth place in recent weeks, Hull City surrendered the final play-off spot to Sunderland following a 1-0 home defeat to the  Black Cats.


Ipswich Town and Leicester City: A Balanced Battle at the Top

The top two shared the spoils after a 1-1 draw, a point Ipswich Town merited for their refusal to drop their heads after going down early in the match.

As a consequence, Leicester City missed the opportunity to extend their lead to nine points, but the Foxes will not be too disappointed as the result maintains the status quo at the top.

After the 4-0 drubbing by Leeds United in the previous round, not many expected Ipswich Town to get anything from their top-of-the-table clash with Leicester City.

As they have done all season, the Tractor Boys confounded doubters by earning a creditable draw to end the Foxes’ five-match winning run and stop the league leaders from scampering into the distance on their own.

Oh, Leeds United how I love you


I'm Barrie Jarrett, born in Leeds, lived over a decade in South Africa, CEO And Co Founder of Planet Sport Limited and Planet Bet Limited.

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