Birmingham also beat Brentford 1-0 on the first day of last season. Here’s a weird thing: Blues didn’t win any of their last 15 league matches last season, so they haven’t exactly been world-beaters in recent times, but in their last 10 games against teams whose names also start with the letter B they have won seven and not lost any at all. Big fans of alliteration, are Birmingham.
Final whistle! Birmingham City have beaten Brentford 1-0, their first competitive victory since February.
There has been a 92nd-minute goal at Wycombe, and it’s gone to Rotherham United, for whom Michael Ihiekwe has headed in a corner! The final whistle has swiftly followed, and it’s all over!
Bookmakers make Sunderland favourites for the League One title, followed by Peterborough, who of course have to cope without last year’s top scorer Ivan Toney, who has gone to Brentford. Rochdale are odds-on to be relegated, with Wimbledon and Northampton next in line, making the match between the latter pair the season’s first relegation six-pointer. These are all 3pm BST kick-offs:
Accrington Stanley v. Peterborough
Crewe v. Charlton
Doncaster v. Milton Keynes Dons
Fleetwood Town v. Burton Albion
Gillingham v. Hull
Lincoln City v. Oxford Utd
Northampton v. AFC Wimbledon
Plymouth v. Blackpool
Portsmouth v. Shrewsbury
Sunderland v. Bristol Rovers
Swindon v. Rochdale
Bolton are favourites to go up, followed closely by Salford City, with Exeter the best of the rest. And as it happens Exeter head to Salford this afternoon in one of the day’s key fixtures. Oldham and Morecambe are considered likely to be battling it out at the wrong end of the table come May, but there’s a lot of water to flow under a lot of bridges before that.
Barrow v. Stevenage
Bolton v. Forest Green
Bradford v. Colchester
Cambridge Utd v. Carlisle
Cheltenham v. Morecambe
Mansfield v. Tranmere
Oldham v. Leyton Orient
Port Vale v. Crawley Town
Salford City v. Exeter
Scunthorpe v. Newport County
Southend v. Harrogate Town
Walsall v. Grimsby
Today’s Championship fixtures look like this (all 3pm BST kick-offs unless stated). The early kick-offs have been goal-light so far, but Birmingham look like they might provide the season’s first upset, leading Brentford as they do by a goal to nil with 12 minutes remaining. At Wycombe it’s resolutely goalless:
Bournemouth v. Blackburn
Barnsley v. Luton
Birmingham v. Brentford (KO 12.30)
Bristol City v. Coventry
Cardiff v. Sheff Wed
Derby v. Reading
Huddersfield v. Norwich
Millwall v. Stoke
Preston North End v. Swansea
QPR v. Nottm Forest
Wycombe v. Rotherham (KO 12.30)
Starting lineups: Crystal Palace v Southampton
Crystal Palace: Guaita, Ward, Dunn, Kouyate, Mitchell, Townsend, McArthur, McCarthy, Schlupp, Ayew, Zaha
Subs: Hennessy, Kelly, Woods, Milivojevic, Meyer, Eze, Batshuayi
Southampton: McCarthy, Bertrand, Bednarek, Stephens, Walker-Peters, Smallbone, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Redmond, Adams, Ings.
Subs: Forster, Vokins, Tella, Long, Vestergaard, Djenepo, Obafemi
It might seem like the Premier League has never been away and the truth is: it hasn’t. The opening day of the season is here and what better way to remind ourselves about the English top-flight than watching the teams which finished 14th and 11th respectively last season?
Palace only scored 31 goals last season, so will be desperate to improve on that. The arrivals of Batshuayi and Eze should help with that. Southampton, on the other hand, have bolstered their defence with the permanent arrival of Walker-Peters and Salisu coming in from Real Valladolid.
Further down the pyramid, it’s a big day for Barrow and Harrogate who get to call themselves Football League clubs, so there is plenty to keep an eye on.
Anyway, let’s all enjoy another year of top football action.