Who Will Be The Top Teams In The Football League’s Three Divisions This Season?

This weekend sees the start of the Football Season in England with the Community Shield between Manchester City and Liverpool taking place at Wembley on Sunday, but across the country the 72 teams in the Football League’s three divisions will get their seasons underway starting on Friday night with the final game of the weekend played on Monday.

The first weekend of a new football season is always a massive one across the UK and of course, plenty of betting fans will be placing their bets on who they think will win each of the divisions in the football league. We’ll bring you details on who we think will do well in the Premier League next week,  but for this, we are going to take a look at the three divisions in the Football League and bring you our tips for these.

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Let’s begin our preview of each of the three divisions by beginning at the top level of the Football League, The Championship.

Championship Season Preview

I am fully expecting another season of drama in the Championship and this year’s 24 teams is probably the most even selection of teams I can remember in many years. I fully expect there to be some surprises along the way this season and a few surprise names in both the promotion and playoff picture as well as battling the drop.

I can see the likes of newly promoted Barnsley and Luton struggling simply because of the financial situation at both clubs compared to other teams in the division who have benefitted from Premier League parachute payments. I also think Millwall and Preston, who clash on the opening day could struggle, while I am not convinced that Blackburn or Wigan are going to be safe either.

At the top end of the table, I can see the likes of Stoke, West Brom, Huddersfield, Fulham, Cardiff City, Leeds United and Hull City being involved in the battle at the top, while I don’t think Middlesbrough will be too far away. If I have to pick a couple of teams to surprise a few with a good season I’d back Birmingham City and Nottingham Forest to surprise a few with their performances this season.

Opening Weekend

  • Luton Town v Middlesbrough (Fri, 7.45pm)
  • Barnsley v Fulham
  • Blackburn Rovers v Charlton Athletic
  • Brentford v Birmingham City
  • Millwall v Preston North End
  • Reading v Sheffield Wednesday
  • Stoke City v Queens Park Rangers
  • Swansea City v Hull City
  • Wigan Athletic v Cardiff City
  • Nottingham Forest v West Brom (5.30pm)
  • Bristol City v Leeds United (Sun, 4.30pm)
  • Huddersfield Town. V Derby County (Mon, 7.45pm)

Champions – West Bromwich Albion

Also Promoted – Stoke City

Playoff Bound – Nottingham Forest, Leeds United, Fulham, Swansea City

Relegated – Q.P.R, Barnsley, Millwall

League One Season Preview

Two of last seasons promoted teams from League Two meet on the opening day with cash-strapped Bury taking on MK Dons. Lincoln City, fancied by many to do well in this division begin against Accrington Stanley, while playoff champions Tranmere Rovers face a home game against Rochdale.

Other teams expected to do well this season are Ipswich Town who face a tricky trip away to Burton Albion in their opening game, while Sunderland will be hoping to avoid the playoffs and secure automatic promotion this season and they begin their campaign against Oxford United at the Stadium of Light.

Other teams I expect to go well include Rotherham, Peterborough United, Doncaster Rovers and Portsmouth should all be thereabouts come the shakedown at the end of the season.

At the other end of the table Bolton starting the season on -12 points puts them in a serious position before the season even kicks off and Bury and Coventry’s financial situations means they will also be under pressure. I think Wycombe, Bristol Rovers and Southend could also be involved at the wrong end of the table.

Opening Weekend

  • AFC Wimbledon v Rotherham United
  • Blackpool v Bristol Rovers
  • Burton Albion. V Ipswich Town
  • Bury v Milton Keynes Dons
  • Coventry City v Southend United
  • Doncaster Rovers v Gillingham
  • Lincoln City v Accrington Stanley
  • Peterborough United v Fleetwood Town
  • Shrewsbury Town v Portsmouth
  • Sunderland v Oxford United
  • Tranmere Rovers v Rochdale
  • Wycombe Wanderers v Bolton Wanderers

Champions – Sunderland

Also Promoted – Ipswich Town, Portsmouth

Playoff Bound – Peterborough United, Doncaster Rovers, Blackpool, Rotherham United

Relegated – Bolton Wanderers, Bury, Southend United, Wycombe Wanderers

League Two Season Preview

It’s going to be a tough opening of the season for Leyton Orient fans, what should have been a day of celebration following their return to the Football League last season, will be tinged with sadness following the death of their manager Justin Edinburgh shortly after the season ended. Cheltenham Town will be the visitors on what will be a tough day for all at Brisbane Road.

Salford City will kick off their first ever season in the Football League at home to Stevenage Borough, who missed out on the playoffs narrowly last season but who I feel could well struggle a bit this. I fancy both Scunthorpe United and Oldham to have strong seasons and the latter will be tested on the opening day as they face a tricky trip to the vegan-friendly Forest Green Rovers. Scunthorpe have a tough home game against a Swindon side that should be thereabouts the playoffs come the end of the season.

It will be interesting to see how the two Devon-based sides Plymouth and Exeter get on, both have potential to be in amongst the thick of things at the seasons end and Macclesfield fans must be intrigued to see how Sol Campbell, who guided them to safety last season, does in his first full season in control at Moss Rose.

Watch out too for Newport and Mansfield, two physically powerful sides that made the playoffs last season and who meet on the opening day and who both could well be in the shakedown for playoff and promotion at the end of the season.

Opening Weekend

  • Salford City v Stevenage Borough (12.30pm)
  • Bradford City v Cambridge United
  • Carlisle United v Crawley Town
  • Colchester United v Port Vale
  • Crewe Alexandra v Plymouth Argyle
  • Exeter City v Macclesfield Town
  • Forest Green Rovers v Oldham Athletic
  • Leyton Orient v Cheltenham Town
  • Morecambe v Grimsby Town
  • Newport County v Mansfield Town
  • Northampton Town v Walsall
  • Scunthorpe United v Swindon Town

Champions – Mansfield Town

Also Promoted – Scunthorpe United, Oldham Athletic

Playoff Bound – Carlisle United, Newport County, Bradford City, Salford City

Relegated – Stevenage Borough, Cambridge United