EFL Championship – Week 17 Power Rankings

After occupying five days last week, Week 16 in the Championship was a relatively succinct affair, with a single match on Friday and the rest of the slate played on Saturday.

The resulting action shuffled things up in the middle of our Power Rankings, with 14 clubs on the move from last week. Per usual, rankings here are determined based on recent action and not necessarily the season on the whole, which is why some clubs might be a few spots higher or lower than their spots on the league table.

Note: Records presented as W-D-L
Through matches played on 8 December 2018

RankTeamRecordLast WeekChangeTable Pos
1Norwich City13-4-411
2Leeds United12-6-322
3West Bromwich Albion10-6-535
4Aston Villa8-8-551↑8
5Sheffield United11-4-672↑3
7Derby County11-4-692↑4
8Swansea City8-5-8113↑12
9Nottingham Forest8-10-345↓7
10Stoke City7-9-5122↑10
11Preston North End6-7-8143↑15
12Queens Park Rangers8-4-9102↓14
13Bristol City8-5-8163↑13
14Birmingham City7-9-586↓9
15Blackburn Rovers7-9-51511
16Wigan Athletic7-4-10133↓16
17Rotherham United4-9-81720
18Sheffield Wednesday6-6-91817
19Hull City5-6-101919
23Bolton Wanderers4-6-112323
24Ipswich Town1-8-122424

Beyond the Rankings

The big move up this week was courtesy of the league’s singular Welsh club, with Swansea City holding on to defeat Brentford 3-2on the road. The Swans snapped a three-match losing streak that had pushed them down to the middle of the table (as well as our Power Rankings). After coming down from the Premier League – swapping spots as the singular Welsh club in the top tier with Cardiff City –the Swans were hoping that their visit to the Championship would be a short one.They were in position for the playoff after Matchday 11, only to lose six of their next nine. Hopefully this win will be the first of a positive streak for the club and they can reach the top six before the season is over.

A couple of other big wins for lower ranking teams helped move them up the rankings as well this week. In the biggest upset – based on pre-game rankings – Bristol City defeated Birmingham City 1-0 on the road. Bristol City had been on a tumble of their own – losing four matches in a row before winning two of their last three (2-1-0). Strong early season form had them in third place after a 4-2-1 start, but they have gone4-3-7 since, moving them back to the middle of the table. If they can continue their recent string of results, they should be able to improve on last season’s11th place finish.

Finally, Preston North End moved up a few spots by defeating former #4 Nottingham Forest 1-0 (on the road) to end Forest’s seven match unbeaten streak. Preston has had an up and (mostly) down season, even spending six weeks in the relegation zone during a 10-matchstretch without a win (0-3-7). They’ve since been a little more consistent in picking up three points, taking 20 points out of a possible 33 since that winless streak. For a club that finished just two points out of the playoffs last season, they had to have been hoping for similar results this season. Perhaps they have figured it out and are now on their way.

Moving on Down

The biggest moves down this week were felt by two of the losing clubs mentioned previously; losing at home to lower-ranked clubs can have that effect. Nevertheless, the clubs have had strong performance on the season prior to those losses and should be able to return to their winning ways in no time.

The biggest mover was Birmingham City, dropping six spots after that loss to Bristol City. I have faith in the Blues, however, even if they’ve only taken seven of a possible 18 points since November started. They remain in 9th place on the league table due to a strong 11-match unbeaten streak (5-6-0) that ended with a 3 November loss to Derby County. There’s really no reason to think they won’t enter the new year positioned to threaten for the playoff.

Nottingham Forest’s tumble was to be expected, as they were riding that seven-match unbeaten streak towards the top of the table. They still only have three losses on the season – they’ve had an uncanny ability to turn losses into a league-leading 10 draws – and remain only two points behind Middlesbrough for the final playoff spot. I expect them to continue to play well enough to be in the mix for the rest of the season, though some of those draws will need to start turning into wins if they want to compete for promotion.

Until next time…

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