The Sky Bet Championship is back.
Sixty-one days have passed since Nottingham Forest beat Huddersfield in the play-off final at Wembley and finally returned to the Premier League.
Twenty-two days before, Marco Silva’s Fulham ended a tumultuous regular season with the title, Bournemouth finishing second in Scott Parker’s first season and Peterborough, Derby and Barnsley relegated to League One.
The break between seasons has been a week shorter than usual – due to this year’s World Cup in Qatar – but the Sky Bet EFL season resumes on Friday night, when Huddersfield host Vincent Kompany’s new-look Burnley at the John Smith’s Stadium, in a live game Sky Sports Football.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the long-awaited curtain-raiser for the 2022/23 season…
Weekend opening schedule
friday july 29
Saturday, July 30 (every 3 p.m. KO unless otherwise specified)
Sunday July 31
monday august 1st
Prutton Opening Weekend Predictions
Who is David Prutton in the lead for victory in the opening weekend of the 2022/23 Sky Bet Championship season?
Kompany returns to English football
Vincent Kompany spent 11 years in England as a player, making over 350 appearances for Manchester City during a period of transformation for the club and undoubtedly earning legendary status at the Etihad along the way.
After retiring in August 2020 following a fairytale return to Anderlecht in his native Belgium, the 36-year-old spent just under two years in charge of the Constant Vanden Stock stadium, leading the club to fourth and third places in the Jupiler Pro. League completes its two full seasons in charge.
In June he was named Burnley manager, succeeding Sean Dyche – who left Turf Moor in April after a decade in charge – as the Clarets prepared for their first season back in the Championship after six consecutive seasons in Premier League.
“Burnley Football Club are a truly historic English team and it’s an honor to be appointed first-team manager,” he said after becoming the first Belgian to manage in England.
“I look forward to working with the players and creating a positive and winning team for our fans when we return to Turf Moor. I have been impressed with the board’s vision for the club which aligns with the mine and I look forward to playing my role as we enter an important season.”
Team turnover has been high since that day. Permanent members of the team over the years including Nick Pope, James Tarkowski and Ben Mee have moved on to new pastures, Wout Weghorst has joined Besiktas on loan and the team has a more youthful look, with the additions from Scott Twine and Luke McInally, among others.
At Anderlecht, Kompany has earned a reputation for trusting youth and succeeding in doing so – and he appears to be trying to bring the same ethos to his new role.
He didn’t go so far as to promise instant success – and the fact that Burnley weren’t named title favorites early on certainly relieves any pressure – but the Clarets’ new look will be looking to get on track when their first competitive race on Friday. curtain up against Huddersfield.
Is the race for promotions more open than ever?
In fairness, it goes without saying, but there are a significant number of teams who will see this season as an opportune time to seal a return to the Premier League this season, especially as only Burnley have had a long spell at the top of the table. during the last years.
Norwich have won the Championship in two of the last four seasons but have twice been sentenced to immediate relegation, while Watford’s comeback last year proved short as neither Claudio Ranieri nor Roy Hodgson were able to bring their experience to bear and keep them away from the fall as the club posted their lowest points yield in half a century.
Huddersfield lost the play-off final to Nottingham Forest at the end of May and will be ready to avenge that disappointment but without Carlos Corberan at the helm, while Sheffield United and West Brom have been hard at work trying to secure a comeback recently with little success . .
If that wasn’t enough, Middlesbrough knocked on the play-off door last season, with Stoke and Cardiff making significant changes to their squads over the summer in a bid to end their four-and-three second-tier spells seasons respectively.
Unlike last season, when Fulham blew several opponents out of the water with their ruthlessness – leading Aleksandar Mitrovic to set a new Championship goalscoring record of 43 – there seems to be a more even term. On paper, at least.
Golden Boot contenders
The 2021/22 campaign has been unique on the goalscoring front.
Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic broke Ivan Toney’s league goals record of 31 well before the end of the season and found himself with 12 more on top of that tally, setting a new precedent that may never be broken .
Bournemouth’s Dominic Solanke hit 29 which would have won him the accolade in 15 of 18 seasons since the second tier rebrand in 2004 and Blackburn sensation Ben Brereton Diaz defied the 1000/1 odds to overtake the 20 goal mark.
Only the latter remains in the division, with Rovers having managed to retain their prized asset for the time being, with Sky Bet offering significantly reduced chances of the Chile international to top the goalscoring charts in 2022/23.
The big favorite is Teemu Pukki from Norwich. The Finland international is a different animal in the Championship as opposed to the Premier League, with his two second-tier seasons producing 54 goals combined, compared to 22 in his two in the top flight.
It’s a similar story for Dwight Gayle, who has scored 59 goals in 100 league games, compared to 26 in 145 in the Premier League. His six-year spell at Newcastle ended in the summer, with Stoke hoping the 32-year-old will lead them to success.
Meanwhile, there’s certainly a case for Swansea’s Joel Piroe and Daryl Dike. Former Netherlands U20 international Piroe, 22, scored 22 times in his first season in the EFL, while injury has so far prevented West Brom’s Dike from replicating the form of 2019/20, when the American helped Barnsley stun many to reach the Championship play-offs. semi-finals.
Championship 2022/23: Sky Bet odds
To win the title: Norwich 4/1, Watford 11/2, Middlesbrough 7/1, Sheffield United 7/1, West Brom 8/1 Burnley 9/1
Being promoted: Norwich 5/4, Watford 13/8, Middlesbrough 2/1, Sheffield United 2/1, West Brom 5/2, Burnley 11/4
to be relegatedRotherham 6/4, Birmingham 13/8, Reading 13/8, Wigan 9/4, Blackpool 10/3, Bristol City 10/3
To win the Golden Boot: Teemu Pukki 6/1, Joel Piroe 9/1, Ben Brereton Diaz 10/1, Daryl Dike 14/1, Dwight Gayle 16/1
Odds correct as of 5 p.m. Thursday, July 28
Can Burnley bounce back under Kompany?
What can Burnley expect from new manager Vincent Kompany and can the Belgian inspire an immediate return to the Premier League for the Clarets?
Championship: 25 under 25
We take a look at 25 of the biggest talents under 25 playing in the Sky Bet Championship in 2022/23…
Sunderland’s four-year stay in Ligue 1 reviewed
As Sunderland prepare for their long-awaited return to the Championship, we examine the agony and ecstasy of their four-season battle to escape the clutches of League One.
Championship kits for 2022/23
Find out what the teams will be wearing throughout the season…
Championship transfers: Club by club
The transfer merry-go-round is back, so who’s moving through the league this summer?
Key dates for the EFL 2022/23 season
July 29 – The season starts with Huddersfield v Burnley
w/c August 10 – Carabao Cup First Round
November 12/13 – Last games before the break for the 2022 World Cup
December 10 – The championship resumes
January 8/9 – FA Cup Third Round
February 26 – Carabao Cup Final
May 6 – Sky Bet EFL season ends
May 27 – Ligue 2 play-off final
May 28 – Ligue 1 play-off final
May 29 – Final of the championship play-offs