As the top three in the Championship, march on and the Saints stumble, the situation is looking pretty dire in Wayne’s world.

So, who has the bit between the teeth as we look at Week 20’s Winners and Losers?


QPR and Sheffield Wednesday

Football has an uncanny knack for reminding us how quickly a team’s fortunes can change.

And just in case we were tempted to draw premature, definitive conclusions about teams’ fates, we got timely reminders that the typical Championship story will have twists and turns before battles at both ends of the table are won and lost.

A couple of weeks ago, both Queens Park Rangers and Sheffield Wednesday looked like no-hopers, dead certainties for relegation. Okay, so they are still in the bottom three despite their improved form, but my word, have they got the bit between the teeth at the moment.

The message of defiance they are sending out to the rest of the division is that they are not going to go down without a fight, if at all they do go down.

QPR made it three wins on the bounce with a 2-0 defeat of play-off hopefuls Hull City to move within two points of safety. That there is still a deficit to safety despite adding nine points to their tally shows how far adrift they were at one stage.

Sky Bet Championship 2023/24

# Team Pl W D L F A GD Pts
20Stoke City2063111928-921
21Huddersfield Town204971932-1321
22Queens Park Rangers2054111930-1119
23Sheffield Wednesday2034131331-1813
24Rotherham United2027111839-2113

Last updated: December 10, 2023 2:57pm

Key: Relegation: 22nd, 23rd, 24th

Sheffield Wednesday, permanent residents at the foot of the table for much of the campaign, moved off the bottom courtesy of a 1-0 win at Stoke City, their second maximum points haul on the trot to extend their unbeaten run to three matches.

For both the Hoops and the Owls, it is impossible to overstate the psychological importance of seeing  their gallant efforts being reflected on the table.

Leeds United

In the battle for promotion, opinion is divided on whether playing first during a game week is an advantage or a disadvantage.

The last time Leeds United played 24 hours before the rest they dropped points, presenting rivals with an opportunity to capitalise.

On Saturday, the Whites got the day’s program underway with an early kick-off at Blackburn Rovers. This time they did the needful, beating Rovers 2-0 to consolidate third place.

On the back of that result, Leeds United temporarily moved within four and five points of Ipswich Town and Leicester City respectively, piling the pressure on the top two ahead of their own fixtures.

Foxes and Tractor Boys

By the time they took to the pitch for their respective ties, Leicester City and Ipswich Town knew what they needed to do to restore their leads over Daniel Farke’s relentless pursuers. That is the advantage of playing after one’s rivals. However, with that advantage comes the pressure to get a positive result.

Ipswich’s response, a 2-0 win at Middlesbrough, was particularly impressive considering the calibre of the opponents. The result further underlined the Tractor Boys’ promotion credentials as Kieran McKenna’s men continued to confound the doubters.

So far, so good for the Championship newbies.

With Ipswich refusing to go away and looming large in their rear-view mirror, Leicester City were keenly aware that any result other than a win over Plymouth Argyle would potentially mean surrendering top spot.

The Foxes forestalled that outcome by savaging Argyle 4-0 to maintain their slender 1-0 lead at the top, preserving the status quo in the top three in the process.


Sunderland catapulted themselves to sixth place with a deserved 2-1 win over West Brom.

Can the Black Cats stake a long-term claim to a play-off place – They face Leeds United on Tuesday December 12?


Birmingham City

Birmingham City have regressed since sacking Paul Wilder and hitching their wagons to Wayne Rooney’s managerial star.

The 2-0 defeat at Coventry City was  the sixth loss of Rooney’s nine-match reign at St Andrew’s.

The Wilder-Rooney comparative stats are quite instructive. Five of the Blues’ six wins this season were under Wilder, who also guided the club to three of their five draws.

The most damning statistic for Rooney is that the new Birmingham City manager has presided over six out of the club’s nine league defeats this season. That’s not what the club owners envisaged when they decided to make a managerial change.

The situation is looking rather bleak in Wayne’s world.

Stoke City

Stoke City are in a freefall. The 2-0 defeat by Queens Park Rangers was their fourth loss in a row, leaving Potters sitting precariously above the relegation zone.

So news that the club had decided to sack manager Alex Neil did not come as a surprise. Once again, we were reminded, lest we forgot, that football is a results business.

West Brom

West Brom’s 2-1 defeat at Sunderland was their second loss in as many games. The back-to-back defeats have slowed down the Baggies’ charge up the table.

Despite the setbacks, Carlos Corberan’s men remain comfortably in fifth place, eight points clear of Sunderland. However, they will be reflecting ruefully on what could have been had they taken points from their last two games.

West Bromwich Albion: Last Five Results

Date Outcome Match Result
11/11/23 Loss Southampton vs West Bromwich Albion 2 – 1
25/11/23 Win West Bromwich Albion vs Ipswich Town 2 – 0
28/11/23 Win Cardiff City vs West Bromwich Albion 0 – 1
02/12/23 Loss West Bromwich Albion vs Leicester City 1 – 2
09/12/23 Loss Sunderland vs West Bromwich Albion 2 – 1

Hull City

Hull City dropped out of the play-off spots after a damaging 2-0 defeat at Queens Park Rangers, their second defeat on the bounce.

The next few games will determine whether the Tigers have the temperament to arrest the mini slump and reignite their play-off hopes.


The 2-1 home defeat by Swansea City condemned Rotherham to the bottom of the table on goal difference. The psychological impact of that positional change could be massive.


In the context of their promotion hopes, Southampton’s 1-1 draw at Watford was both a setback and a good point earned.

Obviously, the Saints would have wanted all three points to stay on Leeds United’s coattails. They will rue the stumble and the resultant increase in the gap to Leeds United from one to three points.

On the positive side, however, with West Brom losing, the draw saw Southampton increase their lead over the fifth-placed Baggies to six points, consolidating fourth place in the process. In that respect, it was a good point earned.

Sky Bet Championship 2023/24 – Week 20

# Team Pl W D L F A GD Pts
1Leicester City20161338122649
2Ipswich Town20153243251848
3Leeds United20125336201641
5West Bromwich Albion2095631211032
7Cardiff City209382823530
8Hull City208662926330
9Preston North End208572432-829
11Blackburn Rovers2091103233-128
13Norwich City208393436-227
14Bristol City207582122-126
15Coventry City206772623325
16Swansea City206682828024
17Birmingham City206592329-623
18Plymouth Argyle2064103133-222
20Stoke City2063111928-921
21Huddersfield Town204971932-1321
20Stoke City2063111928-921
21Huddersfield Town204971932-1321
22Queens Park Rangers2054111930-1119
23Sheffield Wednesday2034131331-1813
24Rotherham United2027111839-2113

Last updated: December 10, 2023 2:57pm

Key: Promotion: 1st, 2nd (Light Blue) | Play Off: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th (light green) | Relegation: 22nd, 23rd, 24th (Light Red)

Sky Bet Championship Week 21 Fixtures – Thursday 14th December

Date Home Team Score Away Team Status
Saturday 9th December Blackburn Rovers 0-2 Leeds United FT
Saturday 9th December Sunderland 2-1 West Bromwich Albion FT
Saturday 9th December Cardiff City 1-0 Millwall FT
Saturday 9th December Huddersfield Town 1-1 Bristol City FT
Saturday 9th December Leicester City 4-0 Plymouth Argyle FT
Saturday 9th December Middlesbrough 0-2 Ipswich Town FT
Saturday 9th December Norwich City 0-0 Preston North End FT
Saturday 9th December Queens Park Rangers 2-0 Hull City FT
Saturday 9th December Rotherham United 1-2 Swansea City FT
Saturday 9th December Stoke City 0-1 Sheffield Wednesday FT
Saturday 9th December Watford 1-1 Southampton FT
Friday 8th December Coventry City 2-0 Birmingham City FT

Wednesday 12th December

Date Time Home Team Away Team Broadcast
12/12 19:45 Blackburn Rovers Bristol City On Sky
12/12 19:45 Huddersfield Town Preston North End On Sky
12/12 19:45 Rotherham United West Bromwich Albion On Sky
12/12 19:45 Stoke City Swansea City On Sky
12/12 19:45 Watford Ipswich Town On Sky
12/12 20:00 Sunderland Leeds United On Sky

Thursday 13th December

Date Time Home Team Away Team Broadcast
13/12 19:45 Cardiff City Birmingham City On Sky
13/12 19:45 Coventry City Southampton On Sky
13/12 19:45 Leicester City Millwall On Sky
13/12 19:45 Norwich City Sheffield Wednesday On Sky
13/12 19:45 Queens Park Rangers Plymouth Argyle On Sky
13/12 20:00 Middlesbrough Hull City On Sky

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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