Championship predictions: Burnley look good to beat Boro
The Championship got properly back up and running last weekend and there are nine more English second-tier matches this Saturday – here are our top selections from those fixtures.
Burnley vs Middlesbrough (Saturday, 3pm)
After seeing Blackburn slip up last weekend, table-topping Burnley now find themselves eight points clear of third place and in excellent shape to earn an immediate return to the top tier.
Vincent Kompany's men resumed their Championship campaign with an impressive 3-0 win at QPR – handing the west London side their heaviest defeat of the season.
That victory made it eight wins in 10 league games for the Clarets, who have been impressive at home to the top teams, winning all five Turf Moor meetings with sides from the top half of the table.
Middlesbrough have lost five of their six away trips to teams in the top half of the Championship and of the four away wins picked up by Michael Carrick's 12th-placed Boro, three have come against clubs in the bottom four.
Kompany will have been delighted to see his team hit top gear upon the resumption of the domestic campaign, as the World Cup break had the potential to disrupt their impressive pre-hiatus form.
Burnley had been frustrated by a series of draws in the early rounds of Championship fixtures but it always felt like only a matter of time before things clicked given the Clarets' dominance in most of those stalemates.
A run of eight wins and just one defeat in their last 10 matches show the quality of this team and they look a great bet at odds-against when facing a Middlesbrough side whose own five-match unbeaten run owes much to a lack of quality in four of those opponents.
Coventry vs Swansea (Saturday, 3pm)
Only three Championship teams have collected more points than Coventry in their last six games and the Sky Blues will be confident of building on that form against a Swansea side who are winless in their last six matches.
The Swans sit five places above Coventry but are only two points better off and Mark Robins's men have two games in hand with which to overhaul the side from south Wales.
Coventry made a dreadful start to 2021-22 but seven wins in their last 10 outings have seen the Sky Blues rise from rock-bottom to a relatively comfortable mid-table position.
Last weekend's away defeat at Reading was a setback but only a minor one as manager Robins was justified in bemoaning his team's luck in Berkshire.
Coventry had more possession, more shots, more shots on target, a higher expected goals rating and hit the woodwork but failed to get the rub of the green in a 1-0 defeat.
Preston vs QPR (Saturday, 3pm)
Preston started the season as one of the most conservative teams in the Championship, with five of their first six matches ending 0-0 and their first 12 matches seeing a total of just eight goals.
Things have changed dramatically since a change in formation, however, and last weekend's 4-1 victory over Blackburn was a continuation of form that has seen North End's last 10 matches produce a massive 35 goals.
Results have improved, too. Ryan Lowe's men have won five of their last seven games.
QPR sit just three points behind Preston but the two teams are moving in opposite directions, with Rangers having taken just one point from their last six outings – even losing at home to rock-bottom Huddersfield in that run.
Preston look a team transformed since Lowe swapped a defensive midfielder for an extra attacker.
And while that does make North End more vulnerable defensively, they have the firepower to mask that weakness on most occasions.
Three of their last four wins have come in matches that their opposition have scored in and five of their last six games have seen three goals or more.
QPR supporters have seen plenty of goals recently, too, but most of them have been going in the wrong net.
Although the visitors could be lifted by having a new man in the dugout in Neil Critchley, it still looks wise to back Preston and over 2.5 goals at 3/1 with LiveScore Bet.