Mid-season grading: How are your team fairing?
Updated: Nov 16
Whether you're happy with how your team are doing or not, there have been some surprises so far.
Overperformance, underperformance, pretty much the median, it makes for interesting reading from the outside. There will be plenty of debate so it makes sense as we're approaching the first quarter of the season to look at how your team are fairing.
So, please don't come after me like this after reading:
Here's how your team are fairing so far:
I feel we're yet to see the best of Barnsley this season. A slow start meant The Tykes were winless for the first 6 games. And Struber was poached by an energy drink, you feared the worst.
But in came Valerien Ismael and they perked up, winning the next 3 out of 4. Thinks are looking rosier for Barnsley, but plenty of improvement needed if they are going to rise up the table.
Birmingham City: D
Perhaps a tad harsh. While The Blues have one of the better defensive records in the league, they certainly have one of the poorer attacks. With just 9 goals scored, they sit 5th from bottom for goals for.
They still concede chances as well. There's a lot of improvement needed if Birmingham City are going to rise up the table. Karanka teams don't usually attack, but there still needs to be an improvement defensively if the goals won't be flowing.
Blackburn Rovers: C
A frustrating side so far. Looked unstoppable in the early stages and create a ridiculous amount of chances per game. 15.6 shots is the second highest in the league.
But yet, they sit mid table when perhaps they should be closer to the play offs. Yes, it is early and yes players are coming back from injury. But, this is the season they make an assault for promotion, surely? And for that reason, they should be doing better.
AFC Bournemouth: B
We're seeing a more cautious Bournemouth under Tindall than the one under Howe. And I like it!
A fantastic squad. Attack in good nick and a tidy defence as well, surely a front runner for promotion?
The Cherries can surely only get better and with David Brooks back in the mix, I expect a more potent side in front of goal.
I think I speak for all Championship neutrals when I say; please do better Brentford.
Defensively they have shipped too many goals which will piss Thomas Franks right off. They seem to get that blend just right last year, but losing the key players they have done makes me a little bit nervous for The Bees. However, I trust the players there.
Toney has been fantastic, and there's still so much more to come from the likes of Jensen, Mbuemo and Dasilva. Jansson coming back from injury and the outlook is much better for the rest of the season for Brentford.
Bristol City: B
I like Dean Holden. Tactically flexible, getting the best out of players in different positions (Weimann and Paterson CM wtf?!). He seems the right man. We'll also mention him being cosy with Big Sam (Sam Allardyce if the younger audience is unaware).
We'll mention that awful injury list to key players and this team finally looks the real deal. Only nervousness here is the alleged streakiness in the team that may or not be coming back.
Iron that out, play off express in full motion for The Robins.
Cardiff City: D
So. Bloody. Frustrating.
Stop the silly errors allowing teams to get in front. The players have got a lot to answer for for their lowly 15th. It's putting Harris under pressure and ultimately, managers suffer for it when the players should. Plus the money chucked into this season, it's play offs or bust* for The Bluebirds.
*Bust of course being a crap season.
Coventry City: C
I've liked Coventry this season. They're fairing better going forward than some very experienced Championship teams.
It's just game management and defending they need to iron into their game. But with a young inexperienced side, they're going to get things wrong. But when it goes right, it goes very right. But that needs to happen more often in the next 3 quarters of the season otherwise it's relegation for The Sky Blues.
Derby County: F
Lol. Just so bad. As a Derby supporter it's so bad it's laughable.
Can't defend, can't attack. Not a blend you want in an unforgiving league. Can they improve? The quality of player there suggests yes. Will they improve? The character of the players suggest no.
At this rate, it's relegation. A miracle is needed to transform this team.
Huddersfield Town: B
I thought Huddersfield were doomed after the Cowley's left.
But what a job Carlos Corberan has done. I'm in awe of the style of player. Josh Koroma (was playing non-league football two seasons ago) looks a real player. There really is no telling what this team can with a group of players more adapted to playing football on the floor.
That's not a criticism btw. The Cowley's literally built this team around being direct and hard to beat as they were fighting relegation last season. That makes the job Corberan has done all the more impressive.
Luton Town: B
Nathan Jones and Luton Town go better together than gin and tonic, bread and butter, screaming in pain when standing on a Lego. You get the picture.
His team sits 10th, boasts the 7th best away record and one of the best defences in the league. It's an exciting future for The Hatters under Nathan Jones, they'll be hoping he doesn't get prized away again.
Horny for Warney anyone?
They're the cries from the Boro fans and I'm on board with it. He's changed this team and club around completely. From easy to beat to hardest to beat. Unbeaten since the opening day, one of three teams unbeaten at home and the best defence in the league.
This team will go who knows where under Warnock.
Millwall: C +
Again, perhaps a tad harsh. They've had to deal with a lot and had a relatively slow start but they are just starting to find their groove.
IT may well have been a play off finish last season if it wasn't for a slow start under Harris, so who knows where Millwall will go this season under Rowett. But sitting pretty in 9th is not a bad way to start, plus just two defeats, I'd put Millwall as outsiders for the play offs as they're not a team who can be properly judged just yet.
Norwich City: B -
Maybe I'm being too nice here? Maybe too harsh? Norwich sit 3rd for goodness sake.
However, it's not all been roses. Performances haven't been great but they're been getting results. Just one defeat all season paints an entirely different picture but Norwich should be setting a standard and there's a lot more from this very very talented group of players.
Krul has kept them in a lot of games as well, so defended and press better and this team will walk the league. You heard it here first.
Nottingham Forest: D +
A truly disasterous start for Forest under Lamouchi saw him sacked. Rightly so as well as Forest were awful.
But things have looked better under Hughton. 1 defeat in 7 under the Irishman has seen fortunes change for The Reds, and under Hughton the only way is up, literally.
Preston North End: C -
Sort that home form out and this team is in the play offs. Even a minor improvement sees them knock on the door.
No idea how a team goes from amazing to terrible at home, was the crowd that good at Deepdale? Anyway, Jakobsen looks the man, Browne is in good form and Sinclair is scoring goals so there's a nice mix there for a mid table team. Let's not forget the emergence of Ryan Ledson as well, a key player for North End so far.
QPR: D +
I expected more from QPR. I saw the players coming in and i think they're perfect group of players to play good, attacking football and grow to become a lethal outfit in the Championship in the coming years.
But this season has been slow. Which is a slight worry for me. The team currently sit 18th, but I truly believe they're group that can get better. It was a busy summer for Rangers, so naturally it will take time for players to bed in. Keep the faith, they'll come good.
Reading: A -
Ah, a source of great debate on the podcast. I like Reading, my opposite party (Ryan) does not think Reading are where they should be.
But that's not how football works. Reading for a while look more efficient than a Toyota Prius. Defensively brilliant and taking chances. A perfect blend. There's been a slight bump of late with three defeats in a row, but an injury list has contributed to that.
This is a team that when first timer players are back, will start to produce good results. They just need to create more chances to ensure they're winning more games than drawing (which I suspect will start to happen now the conversion rate has reduced).
Rotherham United: B -
They're showing teams they're not the pushovers they were two seasons back. Paul Warne deserves huge credit for what he's doing for this club. He's transformed them in my eyes, and that's showing on the pitch.
Okay, they currently sit 19th, but they were tipped for relegation so they're already out performing expectation. Once they iron out the kamikaze defending they're guilty of at times, they will start to surprise even more.
Sheffield Wednesday: C
A conundrum. I didn't expect them to make a good start, they did. They looked tough to break down. Then it all start to go wrong for Garry Monk's side.
Now Monk has gone and The Owls are in the positives, whoever comes in will find them in a half decent position to start to climb the table. What can be said about this side though is it's definitely worse off now than it was when Steve Bruce left last summer which is a damn shame.
Stoke City: B +
This is a good looking team. O'Neill is onto something here isn't he?
A good balanced squad, arguably one of, if not, THE best manager in the league. The Potters could well be looking up rather than down this season.
A far cry from the Pulis days, even further from that disaster of a season under Mark Hughes/Paul Lambert. O'Neill looks to have a team playing for the club and not themselves again.
Swansea City: A
I'm loving this team and they surprised me with their steady start. I expected it to be slow. They lost their best players AGAIN this summer in Brewster and Rodon departing (Brewster sorta we know).
So, to be sat 6th, with the second best defence in the league and no real number 9. That's miracle work under Steve Cooper.
Watford: B -
It's been a mixed start. Injuries haven't helped and a manager on the defensive side isn't ideal either. Winning 1-0 every week might be your favourite result, but there's so much more you can do with the players you have.
Perhaps we're starting to see it with players returning. Goals are being scored both for and against. Get that defensive blend right with the attack, and I see no reason why this team can't win promotion with the squad available.
Wycombe Wanderers: B+
This might seem a pat on the head for the Championship newcomers but they've exceeded my expectations so far.
I think if refereeing decisions go their way this season, they're much better off than they are. But they've looked great and are starting to play to their strengths again. This is a team that will frustrate some big teams in this division and I'm all for the ride.