Winners & losers from gameweek 45 in the Championship

01 May 2021 07:30

It's been a hard old slog, hasn't it?

With the penultimate gameweek of the regular Championship season done and dusted, there's very little left to be decided in the second tier.

Obviously there's still the play-offs to come, but the only thing riding on next week's final round of fixtures is which two teams will join Wycombe in League One next season. Gareth Ainsworth's side aren't mathematically relegated, though their vastly inferior goal difference means they're essentially down.

Gameweek 45 tied up a couple of loose ends for us, so without further ado here's 90min's winners and losers from the second to last round of matches.

1. Winners - Norwich

Norwich secured top spot in the league | Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Let's be honest, it always looked like being Norwich's title after they managed to brush off their patchy form early in the season, the only surprise is it took them this long to confirm it.

Daniel Farke's side took their foot off the gas a little once promotion was sealed, though they managed to refocus and their thumping 4-1 win over Reading secured them the Championship crown.

See you the year after next fellas.

2. Losers - Derby

Wayne Rooney's side still aren't safe | Michael Steele/Getty Images

They really are leaving this late, aren't they?

Wayne Rooney's arrival at Derby looked to be the catalyst for the Rams moving away from the drop zone, though they soon slipped back into old habits and had won just one of their previous 13 games before they travelled to Swansea.

Tom Lawrence's second-half strike handed the visitors the lead and they were safe for all of about 15 minutes, before two goals in three minutes from Morgan Whittaker and Connor Roberts handed the Swans the three points and Derby now face a final day shootout against Sheffield Wednesday.

3. Winners - Sheffield Wednesday

Kadeem Harris and co. couldn't make the breakthrough against Forest | Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

It felt like a must-win game for Sheffield Wednesday as they played host to a Nottingham Forest side without a win in their previous four games.

The Owls gave it their all but just couldn't find a way past Brice Samba, so how can their 0-0 draw have them down as winners?

Darren Moore's side had the dreaded letter 'R' provisionally placed next to their name on the league table for all of 15 minutes, before Derby bottled their lead and the Owls can now secure survival on the final day if they beat the Rams.

Not the greatest day at the office, but having received a points deduction at the start of the season they can't really complain about having their destiny in their own hands on the final day.

4. Losers - Watford

Watford suffered a 2-0 defeat at Brentford | Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Well, they're hardly losers, but seeing the Championship crown slip away is a bit upsetting.

Before news of Norwich's win had even filtered through to the Watford team they knew their title dreams were dead after a disappointing 2-0 defeat at Brentford.

More than that, the Bees have a decent chance of getting promoted via the play-offs and so could be Watford's rivals yet again next season, and Hornets boss Xisco won't be pleased with his side's display given the psychological boost it could provide Brentford if they meet next season.

5. Winners - Rotherham

Lewis Wing got a late equaliser for Rotherham | James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Rotherham held three games in hand over the teams above them a few weeks ago following a host of coronavirus driven postponements, and so their survival bid looked to have some life left in it - it was fading fast in the last few minutes against Blackburn.

Adam Armstrong's first-half strike handed Blackburn Rovers a 1-0 lead and it looked like being enough to hand Rovers the three points, but Lewis Wing's strike four minutes from time rescued a point for Paul Warne's side.

The Millers still have a lot of work to do to survive, but with a game in hand the ball is very much in their court.

6. Losers - Barnsley

Barnsley suffered defeat at Preston | Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Obviously Barnsley's season as a whole has been a huge success - regardless of how they do in the play-offs - but even the most ardent Tykes fan would struggle to argue they had the best squad of the four teams in the play-offs.

The one thing they did have was momentum, but that's slowly started slipping away from them over the last few weeks.

Valerien Ismael's men went down 2-0 at Preston on Saturday courtesy of goals from Jordan Storey and Ched Evans, and all of a sudden they don't look to be in such sparkling form.

The defeat also meant they missed a glorious opportunity to leapfrog Bournemouth in the table meaning they could have avoided Brentford in the play-off semi-finals.

Source: 90min