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NEW ARTICLE: 16 games in - is the Championship closer this year than last year?

The table has started to sort itself out now, but is the Championship getting tougher or, perhaps, tighter than ever? Well, let's compare with the table after 16 games last season.

Last season at this stage, the top three were the three sides which now occupy the bottom three places of the Premiership - Burnley, Leicester and QPR - all had 35 points. This season, we have Bournemouth, Middlesbrough and Watford with a more modest 30, 30 and 29 respectively. Last season, the top eight were 10 points apart whereas this season there are only 4 points that separate 1st and 8th.

Last season, the bottom three were Sheffield Wednesday, Barnsley and Yeovil with 11, 11 and 9 points respectively. Two of those three disappeared with the other relegated team, Doncaster Rovers, who were just two places above Sheffield Wednesday with 16 points. This season, three of the seven Bs occupy the bottom three places - Birmingham City, Bolton Wanderers and Blackpool - with 15, 14 and an appalling 6 respectively. Last season, the bottom eight were separated by 8 points whereas this season the bottom eight are separated by 11 points. However, if you take Blackpool out of the calculation, the gap between 17th and 23rd is 3 points.

The teams occupying the non-promotion/play-off/relegation spots (i.e. 7th to 21st) by 11 points as opposed to 10 points last season.

As for improved starts, Middlesbrough are currently 17 places higher than they were at same point last season, Bournemouth are 15 places higher and Wolves are in 6th place having been promoted last season. As for those with worse starts, Blackpool were 4th at this point last season and both Fulham and Wigan Athletic were playing against the high and mighty of the Premiership.

For Charlton, it has been, as we all know, a much better start to the season. All of the improvement, though, has come at home. Last season, we won 2, drew 2 and lost 4 of our away games (8 points), this year we have 1 win, 5 draws and 2 defeats (also 8 points). At home, there is a big improvement. In the first 8 home games we have amassed 16 points as opposed to 7 points last season.

Whether five of the promotion/relegation places will remain the same as they are now is anyone's guess, but it's hard to pick stand out teams at the top and, at the bottom, only Blackpool look to be heading downwards at this early stage. I would say it's tighter this year at both ends of the table.


  • I think its definitely tighter now... the majority of the teams in this Division seem to be playing fair with transfers and are ahearing to the FFP rules (i.e. Queens Park Rangers were a joke last season because of this)

    Of course you've got the three Relegated teams who with their parachute payments are able to squeeze a bit more money into the transfer market but as we seemed to find out when we splashed £10m in one summer, the smaller clubs (outside the top reaches of the Premier League) arent used to having a large budget so dont know how to spend it wisely (i.e. McCormack costing £11m)
  • Not being picky, but Wigan weren't relegated last season. Fulham, Cardiff and Norwich went down. I agree with your sentiments that it appears to be a more even league this year, and perhaps you are right that FFP is a major factor.
  • Very interesting comparison on the league overall and our home form. If we can win a few more at home before Christmas then we stay in touch...and perhaps a few more fans show up? The next few games against teams below us will surely show us how competitive the league is.
    Incidentally only Wolves in the top six enjoy parachute payments which indicates that the payments and associated legacy costs are not such an advantage.
  • It's an interesting point that the parachute payments don't seem to make that much difference - or, perhaps, they are needed to stop relegated Premier League clubs from being wiped out. If there were no parachute payments, presumably (though not necessarily) clubs would cut their cloth a little more prudently. This, of course, would have the effect of widening the gap between top and bottom in the Premier League. The Premier League is, of course, self-serving and I guess if they have achieved one thing, the Premier League is slightly more even than it used to be. Interesting stuff.
  • Good article, especially interesting towards the end when you picked out the home improvement over away.

    Just one point though, Wigan were not playing in the Premier League last season.
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