Over a quarter of the way into the season, the Championship has once again has produced the goods. Back in August I had a go at making my predictions and have already been left red faced by the most unpredictable and competitive division in English football. Despite this there are so many games left to be played and anything can happen from now until May. However with the foundations set for the season ahead I assess each club’s start to the campaign. Links to the other parts can be found at the bottom of this article.
QPR – 15th – Grade: C
This is what I’d expect from QPR. They are in a decline but it’s all about halting this decline and Ian Holloway will want to avoid any sense of danger with the R’s this season. I’d expected them to have done better at home, draws against the likes of Millwall and Burton Albion could really put them in a tricky situation as they are not blessed with a side to go on a run of wins I would expect.
Reading – 20th – Grade: D
The Royals have made a disappointing start following play-off final heartbreak. A win in their last game took them out of what would have been a relegation place, Stam’s men have been involved in tightly contested matches throughout but they have been on the end of the wrong results too many times. You feel they overachieved last term but with the club looking to build on that they’ve not got themselves where they want to be, already 8 points off the play-off places.
Sheffield United – 3rd – Grade: A+
I always thought Sheffield United would be well equipped to deal with life back in the Championship but I didn’t envisage such an emphatic start to the campaign. 3rd in the table and level on points with 2nd place Cardiff, the Blades already sit 5 points clear of seventh place. 8 wins and some gutsy displays have given Chris Wilder’s side a real chance of being up there come the end of the season, they can in many ways take some inspiration from the likes of Reading and Huddersfield. A terrific derby day win over Wednesday means it’s been a superb start to the season.
Sheffield Wednesday – 12th – Grade: D+
The Owls are lacking conviction and their 12th place spot tells a story of them not being at it this season. They’ve had far too many poor results even at this stage, drawing with Burton Albion, being the first team to lose to Bolton and of course the poor defeat in the Steel derby. Carlos Carvalhal is a man under pressure now because two play-off seasons need to be repeated, they can’t seem to get a formula to work with the talented group they have at Hillsborough despite good wins against the likes of Fulham and Leeds.
Sunderland – 23rd – Grade: F
A disastrous start for Sunderland who thought it probably couldn’t get any worse after last seasons shambolic Premier League relegation. In their opening 3 games it looked like they were in safe hands under Simon Grayson having picked up 5 points in tough games but they have only gone on to pick up 3 points since without a victory in sight. I don’t think anyone expected Sunderland to be a huge threat at the top after the mess they had found themselves in but to be in the relegation zone at this stage with little to shout about is worrying, once a team starts to pick up this negative momentum, it can be hard to get out.
Wolves – 1st – Grade: A+
The near on perfect start for Wolves who sit top of the pile. From the outside it was difficult to judge how they would fare, having previously made a miserable effort last season with new ownership and a different approach. It’s fair to say they have to be taken a lot more seriously this time round, with a host of foreign imports making their mark and of course when you look at the spending on the likes of Ruben Neves it’s hard not to take notice. They’ve taken the points against some well established clubs and can enjoy the fact they’re 7 clear of 7th place already.
Do you agree with your clubs grade? Let us know in the comments below!
Part 1 Here
Part 2 Here
Part 3 Here