EFL Championship 2018-19: The make or break period is here
Coming up to the festive period, the Sky Bet Championship has so far been nothing short of thrilling. With a mix of styles ranging from Marcelo Bielsa's fast-paced attacking football to Tony Pulis' organised and structured approach, this season is fast becoming one of the most competitive and exciting campaigns to date. The beauty of the Championship has always been its competitiveness and the way that no team can run away with the league, no more highlighted than in the current season where four out of the top seven teams sit joint on 34 points, with only goal difference to separate them.
However, the busy Christmas period has always been the make or break for many teams in the past, where we begin to see more of a true representation of how the league table may look come the end of the season. With teams such as Aston Villa putting together a great run of form heading into the tight schedule it is likely that one of the favourites to end the period with a large rise up the table could be the team in claret and blue. Dean Smith's rejuvenated Villa side are currently enjoying a terrific run of performances, with eye-catching results such as a 5-5 draw with high-flying promotion contenders Nottingham Forest and 3-0 away victories over Derby County and Middlesbrough it is clear that they are looking to send a message to their rivals after a disappointing start to the campaign.
Furthermore, with Derby unbeaten in December since 2014 and top teams like Leeds United and Norwich also enjoying brilliant spells of results, it is certain to be a festive period to look out for.
On the opposite side of the table, Ipswich Town will be looking to dig in and take advantage of the tired legs among other squads by picking up some much-needed points to help boost their survival bid. With newly-appointed Rickie Lambert now in charge, the championship experience he brings with him could be the key to success as the tractor boys attempt to bridge the current seven-point gap and claw themselves out of the drop zone. In addition, Millwall will be looking for a reaction to their poor start as they attempt to pull together another impressive run identical to last season that could propel them back up the league table.
One thing for certain is that the period between December and the new year will be nothing short of dramatic. With a large number of teams all capable of pulling together an inspiring run of results, consistency and the ability to grind out results will be the key factor in the rise or fall of many Championship teams hoping to be one of three lucky sides that land the jackpot of promotion to the Premier League.