good morning everyone! only a few hoddles left until the new year.
We are now halfway through the EFL Championship and we still don’t know much about who will be promoted/relegated.
Burnley and Sheffield United remain the favourites to stay up as they’re really the only two clubs with any consistency. They have an eight point gap over third.
Things get trickier in the playoff spots. Five points currently separate fifth-placed Norwich from 17th-placed Stoke City.
And six points separate Stoke from 23rd-placed Wigan.
For those of you unexcited about Burnley’s seemingly inevitable return to the Premier League, I advise you watch how they play under Vincent Kompany. It’s definitely not Dyche ball.
As for the rest of the pack, it’s a guessing game. QPR’s Michael Beale bolted only a couple months after drumming up how loyal he is. It happened to coincide with the first difficulties his squad encountered all season.
And Norwich City sacked Dean Smith after the Canaries only won 4 of their last 14 games, a run that put the early-season champion contenders well outside of the automatic promotion spots.
In years past the Championship has been so close because there are three or four teams competing for the two automatic spots and a small handful of teams that are jockeying round the playoff positions all year.
That isn’t the case this season.
It isn’t inconceivable that Troy Deeney’s Birmingham could somehow climb all the way up into the Top Six. Or for West Brom to get back there after a miserable start to the season.
It’s a strange season in which the quality of the league isn’t at the level where it normally is. That makes for some exciting matches and end-of-season drama, but will probably result in a promoted club (or two or three) that will immediately fall back down to the English second tier in 2024.
EFL Championship Top Six:
- Burnley (50 Pts, +25 GD)
- Sheffield United (47 Pts, +20 GD)
- Blackburn Rovers (39 Pts, 0 GD)
- Watford (37 Pts, +6 GD)
- Norwich City (35 Pts, + 4GD)
- Millwall (35 Pts, +3 GD)
EFL Championship Bottom Three:
22. Blackpool (25 Pts, -9 GD)
23. Wigan (24 Pts, -14 GD)
24. Huddersfield (22 Pts, - 9GD)
Fitzie’s track of the day: French Boys, by Cate Le Bon
And now for your links:
The Athletic ($$) asks if 2023 will be the year of Dejan Kulusevski
Alasdair Gold’s latest video on Antonio Conte’s relationship with Spurs, the January window and more
Transfer rumours: Pedro Porro and Weston McKennie among Spurs targets
A look at Scottish football’s new heading rules