Promotion & Relegation Watch – League One – Version 2

Note: The plan early in the season is to update these standings about every five weeks or so until much later in the season. We’ll try to highlight the important game that most impact the promotion and relegation zones in these pieces, but also take a look at how teams got to that point in the table.
With a break in the top leagues in English football this week, we figure it was time again to take a look at the promotion and relegation standings in the top four leagues in England. Though there isn’t a break this week in League One or League Two, it still seems like a good time to update these standings and take a look at how things have changed since our first look a couple of months ago. We are more than a quarter of the way through the season in most leagues, so now is a good as time as any to update these standings.
In League One, the top two teams are automatically promoted to the Championship, with the third- through sixth-place teams competing for promotion via a playoff. As a reminder, after the last season season, Wigan Athletic (1st), Bolton Wanderers (2nd), and Rotherham United (playoff winner) earned promotion.
The top of the league table currently looks like this:League One Promotion 20181010

New leader Portsmouth has gone 4-2-1 in the two months since the initial look at these standings, and they are a full game up of former top club Peterborough United. Portsmouth has been to the Premier League, their last visit a seven season stay between 2002 and their relegation to the Championship in 2010. After two seasons in the Championship, they were relegated to League One after a 22nd place finish, and again after the following season to League Two. They returned to League One last season and finished 8th, so they seem firmly in position to at least stay up another season, if not see a promotion.
Peterborough has fallen off the top of the heap, but not by much. They were 5-0-0 in our first version, so going 2-3-2 over the past eight games is slightly off that pace. They finished last season in 9th place on the table, so they, at least for now, seem poised to improve on that finish. A promotion to the Championship would be the first since they won the promotion playoff after the 2010-2011 season, and lead to only their 6th season ever above Tier 3.
Barnsley is in an interesting position as they have only played 11 matches thus far on the season, giving them a slight advantage until they get caught back up. Barnsley was relegated from the Championship – along with Sunderland and Burton Albion –  but remains in position to make their stay in League One a short one. As for Sunderland, this is only their second season ever below Tier 2, so you would figure they’d be itching to get back up to the Championship. Early season performance seems to indicate they’ll at least qualify for the playoffs, but there are still a lot of matches left in the season.
On the other end of things, the bottom four teams face relegation to League One. Last year, Oldham Athletic, Northampton Town, Milton Keynes Dons, and Bury were the odd clubs out, and only MK Dons are currently in position to compete for promotion from League Two at this moment.
The bottom of the League One table currently looks like this:
League One Relegation 20181010
Plymouth Argyle (typo in my table) and Oxford United have really separated themselves from the pack, and not in a good way. They have the two worse goal differentials in the league, and their recent form has been less than stellar. Plymouth Argyle has gone 1-2-4 over the past seven matches since our first report, while Oxford United has an even worse 0-3-4 record. If these places hold, Plymouth Argyle would have fallen from 7th place (three points out of the playoff) last season to being relegated. Hopefully they can turn it around.
Burton Albion managed to pull themselves out of the actual relegation zone by going 2-2-2 (they have also only played 11 matches which should help), but they are still in danger of facing back-to-back relegation unless their form improves. They are relatively new to the top tiers of English football, having spent most of their existence below Tier 4. While they appear far away from being able to compete with the clubs in the Championship, they should be able to settle into a nice long run in League One if they can improve on their early season play.
Until next time…
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