Most teams in the EFL Championship (England Division 2) are now at the half way point in their seasons, or 1 game away from it. Here are my way too early predictions for promotion and relegation with a small explanation on each.
The 3 Clubs Being Promoted To The English Premier League
1) Norwich City (14-5-4) 47 points
Norwich is top of the championship at the moment by 4 points over 2nd placed Swansea (also played 23 games). In the Premier League just last season, they know what it takes to get back up there and the level at which they need to play to hopefully stay up should they make it back up there. Currently 5th in the league in goals scored and tied for 5th in goals allowed, Norwich is well rounded enough to maintain their #1 spot and gain automatic promotion.
2) Brentford (11-8-3) 41 points
Brentford currently sit 2 points back of 2nd place Swansea with a game in hand. Last season, it seemed a sure thing they would be promoted, but West Bromwich Albion outplayed them at the end of the season to secure auto promotion spot #2. They would go on to lose to Fulham 2-1 in the promotion playoff final. One of the higher scoring offenses in the Championship (36 goals), they don’t seem to be letting up any time soon. Brentford have won 4 of their last 5 league games, and the 5th was a 1-1 draw with Watford on 12/15. They seem to have all the pieces in place needed for promotion, and I think this is the season they execute on it and end up in the Premier League.
3) Watford (10-7-5) 37 points
Watford had an uncharacteristically dismal start to the season last year. They ended up turning it around towards the end though, even handing Liverpool their 1st loss of the season (3-0 at Vicarage during week 28). Unfortunately, it was too little too late, and Watford finished 2nd from the bottom and were relegated. They’re one point ahead of Middlesbrough for the last promotion playoff spot at the moment. They will have to gain promotion through the playoffs, but ultimately, Watford pulls it off and gets back to Premier League next season.
The Falling Three
1) Derby County (4-7-11) 19 points
Being a Rams fan, this one hurts me to type. A revolving door of coaches (5 since March 2017) and the lowest scoring offense in the league (14 goals) are not doing Derby any favors. In a season that started out very poorly, they have managed to put themselves in a position in which they are tied on points with Sheffield Wednesday for the “last team safe” spot, but are below them in 22nd place. I think Derby County will make it an interesting second half of the year depending on who they make permanent head coach and sign to bolster the offense. Ultimately, they will fall just short of the line and end up relegated to League One.
2) Wycombe Wanderers (3-6-14) 15 points
This is a club that I genuinely wanted to see do well. It is the Wanderers first season ever in the championship, and they have not been treated very well so far. They have allowed more goals than any other team in the league and seem overwhelmed in some of their games. Is Wycombe a bad club? No, absolutely not. I just think this isn’t their year. My prediction is they go back down to league one and we will see them come back to the championship in a year to 3 years and give the league a real run for its money.
3) Rotherham United (4-4-12) 16 points
Dating back 2 months to 11/7, Rotherham has 2 wins and 1 draw. 7 points in 2 months isn’t enough to get you out of the relegation zone in almost any league. They have won only 1 of their last 5 contests and next play Everton in FA Cup 3rd round on 1/9. This will not help build their confidence to where it needs to be to stay above the line. Unless something changes, and soon, Rotherham head right back down to league one next year.