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Championship Focus: Promotion favorites Norwich, Leeds win again

Norwich City v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship

NORWICH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29: Teemu Pukki of Norwich City celebrates scoring his sides third goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Norwich City and Derby County at Carrow Road on December 29, 2018 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

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Norwich City and Leeds United have spent the majority of the 2018-19 EFL Championship season battling one another for the top spot, and smart money would have long since been placed on them to finish in two-two and secure automatic promotion to the Premier League.

[ MORE: Man City win, lose KDB | Man United come back, beat Southampton ]

That was before Sheffield United began their current run of six games unbeaten (four wins) and just one loss in their last 12 games (eight wins), to complicate matters. Leeds, on the other hand, have lost five of their last 11 (five wins) and have fallen off their longtime perch atop the table. Norwich’s recent form has been somewhere in the middle of the other two (6W-3D-1L in their last 10), but just good enough to create a two-point advantage over Leeds.

Sheffield United, who will face Steel derby rivals Sheffield Wednesday on Monday, entered the weekend level on points with Leeds, but have since fallen three back after Marcelo Bielsa’s side thrashed West Bromwich Albion 4-0 on Friday. For about 17 hours, Leeds were again top of the Championship.

Norwich then proceeded to win 3-1 away to Millwall on Saturday to reclaim the summit. Golden Boot leader Teemu Pukki bagged his 24th league goal of the season in the process.

The rest of the race for playoff places is, shall we say, an unmitigated disaster zone where absolutely anything can, and likely will, happen. We’ll turn our attention to that in a few weeks when the dozen teams still in the mix begin to, hopefully, sort themselves out.

[ MORE: PL Sunday preview: Merseyside, west London derbies on tap ]

After 34.5 of 46 rounds…

PlaceTeamPointsGD
1Norwich City69+26
2Leeds United67+21
3Sheffield United64+25
4West Bromwich Albion60+20
5Middlesbrough58+14
6Bristol City54+8
7Derby County51+1
8Birmingham City50+8
9Nottingham Forest50+7
10Hull City50+2
11Aston Villa48+8
12Preston North End48+5

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