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WITH the World Cup break in progress, now is a good time to assess early season Championship results.

Here is my considered analysis of the top 10 teams. However, any side can break through and make an impact during this 2022/23 campaign because there are only eight points separating 6th position right down to the relegation places…


Burnley

  • Position: 1st on 41 points

  • Leading scorer: Jay Rodriguez - 9 goals

  • Best result: 3-0 at home in the local derby against Blackburn Rovers

  • Current form: Seven victories from their last nine.

Burnley appointed Vincent Kompany as their new manager on 14th June.

He endured a mixed opening period by racking up too many draws but the Clarets have now started winning consistently to carve out a three point lead at the top.


Sheffield United

  • Position: 2nd on 38 points

  • Leading scorer: Oli McBurnie & Iliman Ndiaye – 9 goals

  • Best result: 5-2 home v Burnley

  • Current form: Four wins in five.

The Blades have resolutely bounced back from a six match streak without success in October.

They are still being hampered by a lengthy injury list but several of those players will be fit to return following the World Cup break. 


Blackburn Rovers

  • Position: 3rd on 36 points

  • Leading scorer: Ben Brereton Diaz – 9 goals

  • Best result: 3-0 away v Swansea City

  • Current form: Five wins from seven.

Despite being victorious in their first three matches, Blackburn have lost nine out of 21 League games to date. Yet they have won 12 of those fixtures with no draws whatsoever to maintain their promotion challenge.

Not a bad debut season for Jon Dahl Tomasson having become Rovers’ head coach on 14th June.


Watford

  • Position: 4th on 33 points

  • Leading scorer: Joao Pedro & Ismaila Sarr – 6 goals

  • Best result: 1-0 home v Burnley

  • Current form: Second in the form table by virtue of four wins and one draw over six games.

Watford began indifferently and sacked summer managerial appointment Rob Edwards in September just 10 League games into his tenure which had produced only three wins.

The Hornets were floundering in 10th place at that point. Slaven Bilic filled the hot seat immediately and he has instilled a big improvement of six victories and one draw accrued amidst 11 outings.


Norwich City

  • Position: 5th on 32 points

  • Leading scorer: Josh Sargent – 9 goals

  • Best result: 3-0 home v Coventry City

  • Current form: The Canaries have recorded only two wins in their last 10 contests which have featured five defeats.

Norwich City were hotly tipped for promotion in pre-season as they have lifted the Championship crown on the last two occasions when they were relegated from the Premier League.

That’s probably not going to happen this year in light of ongoing disappointing results.


Millwall

  • Position: 6th on 31 points

  • Leading scorer: Zian Flemming – 8 goals

  • Best result: 3-0 home v Watford

  • Current form: One defeat in their last nine including five wins. 

The Lions are building nicely on last season’s 9th placed finish.

They have a game in hand on all the teams above them and would move up two positions if they pick up maximum points in that fixture based on the current table.


Queens Park Rangers

  • Position: 7th on 31 points

  • Leading scorer: Lyndon Dykes – 6 goals

  • Best result: 1-0 at Sheffield United

  • Current form: Four defeats in five winless forays where they’ve scored just once.

Rangers were the Championship leaders for a spell during October. That was great credit to Mick Beale who took his first managerial job during the summer.

Wolves made an official approach to lure him away from Loftus Road on 20th October but Beale turned that offer down. Beyond then, QPR’s form has deteriorated rapidly and they sit bottom of the form table.


Swansea City

  • Position: 8th on 31 points

  • Leading scorer: Olivier Ntcham & Joel Piroe – 5 goals

  • Best result: 2-0 home v Cardiff City for local bragging rights

  • Current form: One defeat in seven although four draws.

Swansea occupied 4th spot last month but have slipped off the pace due to a five match run bereft of winning.

Even so, they are hovering outside that Play-Off zone on goal difference.


Preston North End

  • Position: 9th on 31 points

  • Leading scorer: Emil Ris Jakobsen – 5 goals

  • Best result: 3-2 at Norwich City

  • Current form: Four wins from six.

The initial eight League games involving Preston North End this season produced a paltry three goals and bizarrely incorporated five scoreless draws.

Fortunately, there has been more entertainment in recent weeks and Ryan Lowe’s men are pushing for the Play-Offs.


Luton Town

  • Position: 10th on 30 points

  • Leading scorer: Carlton Morris – 8 goals

  • Best result: 1-0 at Norwich City

  • Current form: A solitary triumph in six.

Luton Town have drawn nine games which is more than anyone else in the Championship. They will no doubt miss effervescent manager Nathan Jones who departed for Southampton on 10th November.

Rob Edwards was named as his replacement at Kenilworth Road on Thursday afternoon.


*Credit for all of the photos in this article belongs to AP Photo*

 

FIRST PUBLISHED: 1st August 2022

About the Author
By
Tony Incenzo

Tony is a football reporter for talkSPORT Radio and Sky TV. He previously worked for Clubcall and Capital Gold.  

His devotion to Queens Park Rangers has now reached 50 seasons. Tony is also a Non-League football expert having visited almost 2,500 different football grounds in his matchday groundhopping. 

You can follow Tony on Twitter at @TonyIncenzo.