EFL Championship: Power Rankings – September 2019

Six matches are in the book, and with the top two flights of English football on an international break – not to mention a new month – we felt it was a great time for our monthly update of our Championship Power Rankings. And with 40 matches remaining… we were pretty far off when we did our preseason power rankings before the season, especially for a handful of clubs.

These rankings are updated as of the matches played through 31 August. At this early point in the season, they are pretty close to where the clubs fall in the table, though we expect that to change as more matches are played. They are also based on our preseason expectations for the clubs, so it was a bit harder for clubs that we had low expectations climb (and vice versa). I’m also assuming that this will work itself out as we get further into the season.

We’ll cover a couple of clubs after the rankings, but here’s where we have the league after one month of play:

Note: Records presented as W-D-L

RankTeamRecordPreseasonChangeTable Pos
1Swansea City5-1-01110↑1
2West Bromwich Albion3-3-042↑4
3Leeds United4-1-112↓3
4Charlton Athletic4-2-02420↑2
5Bristol City3-2-1138↑5
6Preston North End3-1-2148↑7
7Queens Park Rangers3-1-21912↑8
8Fulham3-1-226↓6
9Birmingham City3-1-2178↑9
10Nottingham Forest2-3-11010
11Millwall2-3-12312↑12
12Sheffield Wednesday3-0-31211
13Brentford2-1-394↓14
14Cardiff City2-2-2311↓13
15Reading2-1-3205↑16
16Luton Town2-1-3151↓15
17Blackburn Rovers2-1-3161↓17
18Middlesbrough1-3-2612↓18
19Derby County1-3-2712↓19
20Hull City1-2-3182↓20
21Barnsley1-2-32121
22Huddersfield Town0-1-5517↓23
23Wigan Athletic1-1-4221↓22
24Stoke City0-1-5816↓24

Early Underestimations

There are a few clubs that have thus far well outperformed our modest expectations on the season. For example, Millwall spent most of last season in the bottom quarter of the league, so we didn’t have high expectations for them entering the season, expecting them to have to fight to remain off the bottom. Instead, they are currently mid-table, with wins against Sheffield Wednesday and Preston North End – as well as the biggest loss thus far on the season, a 4-0 loss at Fulham.

But the team that we expected to finish last was the club that won the playoff in League One after last season, and Charlton Athletic is instead alone in second place with 14 points. Their four wins – against Blackburn Rovers, Stoke City, Brentford, and Reading – aren’t exactly a murderer’s row of clubs (at the moment), but their third-best goal differential (+6) is impressive nonetheless. A loss to Forest Green Rovers, a League Two club, in the first qualifying round of the EFL Cup, is also an indicator that the club might come back to earth sooner rather than later.

The Bottom Has Fallen Out

Huddersfield Town played in the Premier League last season. They weren’t great by any stretch of the imagination – they clinched relegation at the end of March after all – but they had to expect to do slightly better in their return to the Championship. We even felt that they were going to compete for a playoff spot. Instead, they’ve already sacked a manager and have yet to win a match on the young season. They have improved in one regard from last season, however. They’ve scored in five of six matches thus far; last season it took them 11 matches to have scored in five matches, so they are at least finding the goal with more regularity. Whether or not it means a win is around the corner – it took them to that 11th match last season to log their first victory – remains to be seen, but they are still looking for a manager, so who knows?

Also winless on the young season is Stoke City. The Potters finished 16th last season, but seemed to be in the mix for a playoff spot this season. They have surrendered at least two goals in all six matches this season, and currently have the worst goal differential (-9) in the league. Their poor open to the season could be a result of playing an early top-heavy schedule – all five losses have come against clubs currently in the top ten – and they did have two different stretches last season where they were unbeaten in nine matches. Definitely worth watching to see if they can turn it around.

Until next time…

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