FantasySports.co.uk takes its regular look and review of the Championship, where the action is always fast and furious as the race for the Premier League heats up. Here are the latest five things to take from English footballs second tier after the weekends action.
FULHAM THE FORM TEAM
Whilst the top two continue to stretch their unbeaten run of games, no team is in better form currently than Fulham, who have taken 13 points from their last 5 games and continue to surge up the table, now residing in 8th place and just a point off the play offs. No team has scored more than the Cottagers across their last 10 games, and with games against strugglers Burton, Barnsley and Bolton, as well as Nottingham Forest upcoming in their next four games, this rich vein of form may continue and see a team widely expected to be in the promotion chase still be a factor after a slow start to the season.
WOLVES STILL STRONG DESPITE MINOR SLIP UP
Although more than a few Saturday coupons will have been ruined due to Wolves’ inability to win at lowly Barnsley, it is hard to criticize a team who remain heavy odds on favourites to gain promotion from the Championship and return to the Premier League, with all signs pointing to them becoming a force there also as they continue to make waves in the transfer market, and having masses of cash to splash. Wolves seems to have everything going in the favour, including a schedule that by the time if stiffens, they should be already assured of a Premier League place.
RAMS REMAIN RAMPANT
After receiving awards for December for having the Player (Richard Keogh) and Manager of the Month (Gary Rowett), Derby County maintained their superb form by crushing Birmingham City 3-0 at St Andrews in a performance that was every bit as resounding as the scoreline suggests. Derby are looking ever more consistent and solid at both ends of the pitch and now look to be the team to catch for that second automatic place. A big game is upcoming for them on Friday as they host Bristol City, who earlier in the season gave the Rams a sound thrashing, but Derby look different now, and it will be a very interesting game to watch.
BATTLE AT THE BOTTOM INTENSIFIES
As exciting as the top of the table is, especially around the play off spots, the bottom is as equally exciting – or nerve racking, as the bottom clutch of teams have now closed the gap on those above them – so much so that there is now just 10 points separating bottom of the table Sunderland and Nottingham Forest, who look(ed) relatively comfortable in 15th place. Teams like Reading and Sheffield Wednesday have been dragged into the dogfight – the latter quite staggering considering they were battling at Wembley for a promotion place just last May and have lost the same amount of games this season than Steel City rivals United who occupy a place off place in 6th spot. Such is the Championship.
TRANSFER WINDOW COULD STILL MAKE OR BREAK TEAMS
Whilst there have been no real transfers, in or out, of any real note in the Championship, there remains two weeks left of the winter transfer window and many clubs are still looking to make moves that could really make or break their season. Rumours abound about Ryan Sessegnon leaving Fulham, whilst Wolves are linked with pretty much anyone and everyone – from Lewis Grabban (Bournemouth) to James Maddison (Norwich) to Andre Silva (AC Milan). We expect moves in and out of Pride and Villa Park whilst Sunderland will look to freshen things up as they make a last desperate attempt to avoid a further humiliating drop. Add to this the usual furore at clubs such as Middlesbrough, Leeds United and Cardiff City and you get why life in the Championship is as chaotic and exciting as the Premier League is!