Tales from not-the Top Flight

In case you’ve been living under a rock recently (or just don’t give a damn about The Championship) arguably the biggest fixture of the Championship took place this weekend as it was the Steel City Derby as Sheffield Wednesday hosted Sheffield United. The match was an absolute corker and really did help us answer the question of who would win a fight between a blade and an owl. The match finished 4-2 to United at Hillsborough so it’s pretty clear that yes blades can, in fact, slash owls. It also proved that newly promoted Sheffield United are in fact a better football team than Sheffield Wednesday so more on that now.

United have adapted to the Championship brilliantly after their barnstorming season in League One and actually find themselves in the top 6 at the moment. Could they do the double and win promotion twice in a row? It seems unlikely but try telling the United fans that after they raced into an early 2-0 lead. Wednesday then made up the ground to take the game back to 2-2 but United were just too good and a finished the game 4-2 up. The Owls had their wings clipped here and while they never tend to start the season well given the amount of money invested in the squad and the fact that Carlos Carvalhal has delivered consecutive play-off place finishes there may be questions over his future.

A special mention has to go to Chris Wilder and Sheffield United. Wilder is definitely one of the best British managers outside the top flight and he breaks a lot of the stereotypes associated with managers in this country. For a start he has consistently played 3-5-2 with United, a formation that is still rare below the Premier League and his side play pretty attractive football too. Even if United aren’t promoted in the near future I’m pretty sure Chris Wilder will be given a chance in the Premier League sooner rather than later.

There were things happening elsewhere in the Championship which deserve a mention. Birmingham earned a point away from home, a vast improvement on the Harry Redknapp era already and Leeds had a thrilling encounter with Ipswich winning 3-2 to keep them at the top of the league. There were also three 0-0 draws, which I’ll do everyone a favor and not talk about. Sunderland continue to struggle as they find themselves in the relegation zone while Aston Villa won again, so there are signs Steve Bruce has finally got through to the players. Oh, and Middlesbrough got a late equalizer so a good weekend was had by all.