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Championship top six battle heats up with Leicester, Leeds & Southampton in contention

Championship top six battle heats up with Leicester, Leeds & Southampton in contention

The race for the Championship top six took a captivating turn on Matchday 15, including Leeds United’s remarkable victory over Leicester City at King Power Stadium.

The Foxes have been the team to beat this season, but Enzo Maresca’s side suffered defeat for only the second time in 15 games, with Leeds running out 1-0 winners in a pulsating encounter.

Georginio Rutter’s 58th-minute strike proved the point of difference at King Power, earning Leeds a first win over Leicester since January 2021.

Leicester still maintain a four-point lead at the Championship summit, but that margin could narrow to just one point if high-flying Ipswich Town beat relegation-threatened Rotherham United in their upcoming clash.

Leeds’ victory over Leicester propelled them up to third place and could be monumental for their Premier League ambitions, but there is still the small matter of an 11-point gap behind the Foxes and seven adrift of Ipswich.

Daniel Farke’s side will at least be eyeing a second-place finish to avoid the rigours of the play-offs but must navigate the challenge of maintaining their position, as only three points separate them from sixth-placed Preston North End.

Speaking of Preston, they emerged victorious from a thrilling five-goal encounter against Coventry City, overcoming a first-half deficit to snap their seven-match winless streak.

Goals from Duane Holmes, Alan Browne, and Milutin Osmajic secured a remarkable 3-2 comeback victory for Ryan Lowe’s side, consolidating their place in the top six.

There were also wins for West Bromwich Albion and Southampton over Hull City and Millwall, respectively, keeping their hopes of a top-six finish on track.

The three clubs relegated from the Premier League last term are all on course for a swift return as predicted in our Championship preview, but Leicester have positioned themselves as favourites to secure the crown.

The top six race promises to intensify in the coming months, and clubs in play-off positions cannot afford complacency, considering the mere five-point gap between sixth-placed Preston and 13th-placed Stoke City.

The pendulum could shift as quickly as one bad result – such is the unpredictable nature of the chaotic English second-tier division.

Leicester will be looking to bounce back from defeat when they travel to Middlesbrough next weekend, while Leeds take on the struggling Plymouth Argyle.

Meanwhile, Southampton will be determined to preserve their seven-match unbeaten streak when they welcome fellow promotion hopefuls West Brom to St Mary’s.

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