Slow start for ante-post title favourites

IT was a bad start for the ante-post Sky Bet Football League favourites after none of the three market leaders were able to make a winning start to the campaign.

Middlesbrough, heavily backed into favouritism in the summer following a sustained spending spree, failed to fire in a 1-0 loss at Wolves.

Garry Monk started three of his new forwards – Britt Assombalonga, Martin Braithwaite and Ashley Fletcher at Molineux – but it was Wolves debutant Leo Bonatini who settled the contest.

There was a subdued start from the three beaten Championship playoff outfits after Fulham were pegged back late on by Norwich in a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage. Sheffield Wednesday and Reading lost at Preston and QPR  respectively.

League One favourites Blackburn have been pushed out to 5-1 after a 2-1 defeat at Southend. Rovers were made to pay for a poor first-half showing at Roots Hall, while Wigan were cut to 7-1 thanks to a 1-0 triumph at MK Dons.

League Two market leaders Mansfield twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at Crewe and Luton’s stunning 8-2 demolition of Yeovil saw them cut to 5-1 joint-favourites alongside the Stags.

New Hatters signing James Collins marked his debut with a hat-trick and there was also a three-goal haul for Coventry’s Jodi Jones in their 3-0 victory over Notts County at the Ricoh.

Match in Focus

20:00 Mo 18Dec SKY

Malaga v Real Betis

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Betis have not won any of their last seven games.
Expert verdict
Malaga have been much more competitive in recent weeks and can pick up their fourth league win of the season by beating fellow strugglers Real Betis at La Rosaleda. Michel's outfit climbed off the basement with a 2-0 triumph at Sociedad last Sunday and can follow up with a victory over Betis, who haven't won since October.

 

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