EFL Championship – Week 18 Power Rankings

Week 17 in the Championship is in the books, and the results have led to a lot of changes from last week’s Power Rankings. We have a new club at the top – even though the former #1 didn’t lose – and a new club at the bottom to the rankings as well – even though the former bottom club is still the bottom club in the actual league table.

The action shuffled up the rankings a bit, with only seven clubs staying in the same spot from last week. Per usual, the rankings here try to represent the trends of the clubs from week-to-week, and not give them credit for early season performance that elevated them in the league table (though most clubs have mostly gone to form over the past quarter of the season).

Note: Records presented as W-D-L
Through matches played on 17 December 2018

RankTeamRecordLast WeekChangeTable Pos
1Leeds United13-6-321↑1
2West Bromwich Albion11-6-531↑3
3Norwich City13-5-412↓2
4Aston Villa8-9-548
5Derby County11-5-672↑3
6Swansea City9-5-882↑9
7Sheffield United11-4-752↓5
9Nottingham Forest8-11-397
10Stoke City7-10-51011
11Queens Park Rangers9-4-9121↑13
12Preston North End7-7-8111↓15
13Bristol City8-6-81314
14Birmingham City7-10-51410
15Blackburn Rovers7-10-51512
16Hull City6-6-10193↑17
17Rotherham United4-10-81720
18Wigan Athletic7-4-11162↓16
19Sheffield Wednesday6-6-10181↓18
23Ipswich Town2-8-12241↑24
24Bolton Wanderers4-6-12231↓23

The Biggest Mover

We only had one club that moved more than two spots in either direction, and it was Hull City after their 2-0 victory over Brentford – as well as some losses by the clubs directly above them in last week’s rankings. The Tigers are in the midst of a four match unbeaten streak (2-2-0), their longest on the season.

At this point last season, Hull City was… 5-7-10, so only two points worse than right now. But they did have a four match unbeaten streak at a point last season, but it wasn’t until the tail end of the season after they had pretty much secured a spot in the bottom quarter of the league. If they manage the same results down the stretch this season, they could gain a few places on the table and improve on last season;s results.

A New Number One…

A handful of clubs moved down two spots in the rankings, but the most surprising move was most likely by our former #1 Norwich City. I typically don’t move clubs down when the draw, but when you do it to the club that leads the bottom half of the rankings, you almost have to do it. But their move down was also driven by the results from the two clubs directly behind them.

Leeds United was expected to defeat the Bolton Wanderers, which they did in a 1-0 victory in Bolton.Perhaps not as expected – especially by me – was West Bromwich Albion picking up a come-from-behind win over Sheffield United on Friday night, which helped set the tone for the entire weekend.

While both those clubs looked good in victory, Norwich City needed a score in the last quarter of the game to pull even with Bristol City in a kind of match they have been winning with ease all season. Norwich City is in the midst of a 10-match unbeaten streak, but for one week, they looked eminently beatable. I expect them to return to their dominant form as early as this weekend with a match against another mid-table club. Another draw, however, could find them below the top spot in our rankings for the second week in a row.

…and a New Number 23

I moved Ipswich Town up a spot this week to reward them for picking up their second victory on the season. Had it come to a stronger club than Wigan Athletic – or had been enough to pull them out of the bottom spot in the table – I probably would have elevated them even higher, even if it was only for a week.

However, I fully expect them to find the bottom of our rankings again next week – they host a Sheffield United club coming off that aforementioned loss to West Brom – so it may not end up being a long winning streak for manager Paul Lambert, who took almost two full months to nab his first victory with the club. A long season in Ipswich is probably going to get worse before it gets better, but with the back half of the schedule upcoming, maybe they can find a couple of more victories before the season is out.

Until next time…

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