It’s been two weeks since we last updated our Power Rankings, and we’ve only done that because of the strange schedule in the Championship over that time; last week, only the non-FA Cup particpants played last week, and this week was a full schedule (with four clubs playing on Tuesday), which resulted in all but eight clubs reaching 30 matches on the season.
It will likely be some time before all the clubs have the same amount of matches played now, so we’re not going to wait to update our rankings. As the rankings are more about recent trends and not overall performance – which is why table leaders Norwich City and Leeds United aren’t at the top – only playing once the past two weeks won’t damper their performance in these rankings.
Note: Records presented as W-D-L
Through matches played on 2 February 2019
|Rank||Team||Record||Last Week||Change||Table Pos|
|6||West Bromwich Albion||14-8-7||4||2↓||4|
|12||Queens Park Rangers||11-6-12||12||—||14|
|18||Preston North End||9-10-11||19||1↑||18|
Beyond the Rankings
The Hottest Clubs in the Championship
Bristol City is currently on an 11-match unbeaten streak (7-4-0), vaulting the Robins from a low point of 14th in the league table to 6th and the final playoff position (by goal differential over Derby County). The last five of those matches were wins, with four of those victories being clean sheets and winning by a combined score of 8-1.
The Robins’ hot streak has them within three points of our number one club (and fifth place in the league table) Middlesbrough, who added another win over the weekend to extend their own unbeaten streak to five matches (3-2). And they beat the club directly above them (West Bromwich Albion), and are only behind because West Brom has scored about a million goals more this season.
Finally, a club in the bottom half of our rankings (and the league table) has started to make a move because of their own seven-match unbeaten streak. Brentford spent the first two months in playoff position before losing eight in ten matches (1-1-8) knocked them back to the fringe of the relegation zone. However, a seven-match unbeaten streak (4-3-0), capped by a come-from-behind 5-2 victory on Saturday over Blackburn Rovers, has them moving in the right direction, though they remain 10 points out of the playoffs and it could be a struggle for the Bees to match their 9th place finish from a year ago.
The aforementioned Blackburn Rovers entered that match with Brentford riding a four match winning streak and on the cusp of a playoff position. And things started out great for them on Saturday, as they held a 2-0 victory less than eight minutes into the match. But they were unable to hold on to the victory, and four second half goals sealed their fate and snapped their streak.
Hull City had been a recent favorite of this blog (and others around the Championship) as they climbed from 23rd position to 8th in the league table (and as high as 2nd in our Power Rankings last week) on the strength of a 7-3-0 stretch, which came to an end during the abbreviated schedule last week. A 3-0 loss to those same Blackburn Rovers jumped out among those six matches, and while they were able to return to the winning to start February, the Tigers still have some work left to find some consistency, especially if they want to compete against to dozen or so teams that are fighting for four playoff spots.
The Coldest of Streaks
A couple of clubs have extended winless streaks, but because of the clubs around them in the Power Rankings, they managed to stay pretty close to where they were last time.
Queens Park Rangers have lost three matches in a row, and are winless in their last five overall (0-2-3), moving them down from 8th to 14th in the league table. QPR finished 16th last season, so they are performing exactly as expected (at least from my perspective), but their last two losses have been to clubs currently below them in the leage table (Wigan Athletic and Preston North End), so the season will likely end with them in a similar spot unless they can rediscover their October groove, when they went 4-1-0 and moved from 19th to 7th.
Finally, if not for Ipswich Town, the Bolton Wanderers would definitely be at the bottom of the league. Though it appears that their ownership situation is close to a resolution, the club has not won since Boxing Day, going 0-2-4 in league play (as well as losing to Bristol City in the FA Cup). Still, they are only three points behind Rotherham United for the coveted (for them) 21st spot which would assure a third consecutive season in the Championship next year. With matches against Norwich City and Leeds United looming in a few weeks, it will be important for the Wanderers to find some points in the interim, otherwise the potential new owner could be acquiring a League One club instead.
Until next time…