Championship Opta Stats: Tips for Saturday's fixtures

QPR boss Marti Cifuentes
Marti Cifuentes will be hoping that his side can take another huge step towards safety

Jack Critchley has crunched the numbers and used the latest Opta Stats to select his best bets from the Championship this weekend...

  • Wednesday to slide closer to the trap door

  • Plenty of goals at the CBS Arena

  • Boro to squeak past Swansea

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  • QPR vs Sheffield Wednesday

    R's to prevail at Loftus Road

    Opta Stat:

    "Only Leeds (13), Ipswich (10), Norwich (9) and Coventry (8) have won more Championship games in 2024 than QPR (7), with them winning on each of their last two league outings"

    QPR are slowly pulling themselves out of trouble and plenty of credit must be given to Marti Cifuentes for hauling the unfancied R's to relative safety. Although their strikers have seemingly stopped scoring (you could question whether Lyndon Dykes ever started...), their defenders have been helping out with both Jimmy Dunne and Steve Cook heavily contributing in recent weeks. They possess a 3-2-1 record across the last six games and have conceded just six times during that run of matches. They are in control of games and will fancy their chances of beating the out-of-form visitors.

    Danny Rohl called out his players for the first time on Easter Monday, questioning their poor performance against Middlesbrough at the Riverside. The Yorkshire outfit were sloppy in possession and made a number of mistakes at the back. They must improve their performance levels considerably here.

    Betfair Bet:

    Watford vs Preston

    Hornets to end PNE's faint play-off hopes

    Opta Stat:

    "Preston have lost two of their last four league matches (W2), having only lost one of their previous nine (W5 D3)"

    Watford have been revitalised under Tom Cleverley. The young coach has improved his side's performance levels and they have gone toe-to-toe with some decent opposition since his appointment. They probably should have beaten Leeds and will feel aggrieved to have only taken a point against West Brom on Monday. The Hornets are scoring goals again and they should be able to ask questions of Preston's defence.

    PNE are still in with a shout of reaching the play-offs, but their hopes were dented by a narrow defeat against Birmingham on Monday. Ryan Lowe's side are playing well, but this may just be a game too far for them.

    Betfair Bet:

    Coventry vs Leeds

    Yet another entertaining contest at the CBS

    Opta Stat:

    "Leeds are just the second side in the top four tiers this season, after Notts County, to have three different players reach 20 goal involvements in the league, with Dan James (20 - 13 goals, 7 assists) the third to do so after Crysencio Summerville (25 - 17 goals, 8 assists) and Georginio Rutter (21 - 6 goals, 15 assists)"

    Leeds looked nervy against Hull on Monday night and they may have struggled with the expectation having seen Leicester and Ipswich pick up maximum points earlier in the day. Although they will know the Ipswich result by the time they get going, they are kicking off at the same time as the Foxes and they may find things a little easier being away from Elland Road. Daniel Farke's side have plenty of firepower and despite not being at full capacity over Easter, they still managed to notch five times with Patrick Bamford also missing a huge chance.

    Coventry have an incredibly difficult run of fixtures to negotiate, including an FA Cup semi-final. This may prove to be a distraction in their quest for a play-off spot. They dominated against Cardiff, yet they were undone by set-pieces and aren't keeping enough clean sheets. They do possess in-form strikers and are likely to find a way through.

    Betfair Bet:

    Blackburn vs Southampton

    Rovers and Saints to go for broke

    Opta Stat:

    "Blackburn have won just one of their last nine league games at Ewood Park (D5 L3), while they're without a clean sheet in their previous 14 home league matches"

    Blackburn turned in a magnificant performance against Sunderland on Easter Monday with the division's top goalscorer Sammie Szmodics putting on a leading performance. The good news for Blackburn is that other players chipped in with goals too and that bodes well for this fixture. Rovers have been slowly improving under John Eustace and should have scored against Ipswich on Good Friday.

    Southampton have been up and down in recent weeks and created plenty of chances against Ipswich. Their away matches have been particularly entertaining with their last four containing a total of 18 goals. They should play their part in an absorbing contest.

    Betfair Bet:

    Middlesbrough vs Swansea

    Boro to edge another tight game

    Opta Stat:

    "Middlesbrough are enjoying their longest unbeaten streak in the league since October (7 games), having won four of their last six Championship matches (D2)"

    Boro are on a brilliant run of form and they were excellent against Sheffield Wednesday on Monday. As well as creating chances, they have been defending stoutly, which is something that hasn't been the case for the majority of the campaign. They have conceded just twice inside the last month and have kept back-to-back clean sheets at the Riverside.

    Swansea have been staying in games and they haven't been beaten very often. Each of their last eight games have either been drawn or decided by a single goal margin and this contest could follow suit. Luke William's side haven't been the most prolific in front of goal, yet they haven't been shipping many goals either.

    Betfair Bet:

    Sunderland vs Bristol City

    Robins to potentially emerge with another three points

    Opta Stat:

    "Bristol City have won each of their last two league games without conceding; the Robins last won three league games in a row in December, while they last did so without conceding in February 2020 under former manager Lee Johnson (run of four)"

    Sunderland produced a stinker of a performance against Blackburn on Easter Monday. They did create chances, but they were routinely undone at the back and looked weak whenever they came under pressure. It could be tough to face a Bristol City side who have been keeping plenty of clean sheets over the last few weeks.

    Liam Manning has taken time to win over the fanbase and although some are still yet to be convinced, there can be little doubt that the players are carrying out his orders. Manning can organise his side and make them tricky to beat. They've won three of their last four matches by a 1-0 score-line and it wouldn't be a surprise to see this one go the same way.

    Betfair Bet:

    Leicester vs Birmingham

    Attritional affair at the KP

    Opta Stat:

    "Leicester have won their last three league games against Birmingham and are unbeaten in six such matches (W4 D2) since a 2-0 defeat in October 2011"

    Leicester got back on track with a convincing win over Norwich on Easter Monday. The Foxes cannot afford to drop any more points in their quest to return to the top flight and this might not be a completely straightforward assignment.

    Birmingham took maximum points from Preston to give Gary Rowett his first victory since returning to the club. The Blues defended valiantly and restricted their opponents to just four shots. With Krystian Bielik back to his enforcing best in the midfield, they could make this tough for their hosts.

    Betfair Bet:

    Stoke vs West Brom

    Points shared in the Potteries

    Opta Stat:

    "Stoke are unbeaten in their last two games in the Championship (W1 D1); only having a longer unbeaten run under Steven Schumacher in his first five league games (5) between December and January"

    Stoke are slowly edging their way to safety with Steven Schumacher having guided his side to a four point haul across the Easter weekend. The Potters have now lost just one of their last four and have made themselves a little tougher to beat. The players appear to be digging in for the cause and they will roll their sleeves up for this fixture on Saturday.

    West Brom never know when they are beaten and they came from 2-0 down to pick up a point against Watford on Monday. The Baggies have lost just twice since New Year's Day, although they have drawn four of their last seven. Away from home, they have tend to share the points, with four of their last six ending all-square.

    Betfair Bet:

    Cardiff vs Hull

    Tigers to sneak past Bluebirds

    Opta Stat:

    "18 of Cardiff's 45 Championship goals this season have come from corners, more than any other side, while only Ipswich (3), Millwall (4) and Southampton (5) have conceded fewer such goals than Hull's six"

    Cardiff rarely do what is expected of them under Erol Bulut. The Bluebirds have been tough to pin down this season and they weren't expected to beat Coventry on Monday. Liam Kitching's unfortunate double ranks him as Cardiff's joint-seventh top goalscorer for the season and that tells you everything you need to know about their issues in front of goal. If the visitors can keep them at arm's length, they may struggle to create genuine goalscoring opportunities.

    Despite some decent performances, Hull have found winning tough throughout March and Liam Rosenior will be desperate for his side to collect maximum points here. The Humberside outfit undoubtedly have enough firepower to get on the scoresheet at least once.

    Betfair Bet:

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