10 Things We’ve Learnt From the Championship Season So Far

Teemu Pukki, Chris Mepham
Norwich have experienced a stuttered start back in the second tier | Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

You might think it’s utterly bonkers to start looking into performances and assessing what we’ve learnt from this season’s Championship after just three games, but the second tier is just that – utterly bonkers – and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a hastily made assumption which ends up looking ridiculous?

With every team now at the three-game mark there’s been no shortage of thrills, spills, wonder strikes and calamities.

So, buckle up as we run through exactly what we’ve learnt from the opening weeks of this season’s Championship (there’s even a few predictions in there which will soon be regretted when they’re proved completely wrong in about a week’s time).

Who knew?!

Last season’s 14th place finish may look comfortable on paper, however, the Royals finished just six points above the dropzone and were far from convincing throughout the campaign.

The club embarked on a major overhaul in the summer with manager Mark Bowen replaced by Veljko Paunovi? and a whole host of players heading for pastures new.

Many tipped them for relegation yet they’ve taken nine points from a possible nine and are playing some decent stuff, though the loss of the injured Lucas João will test them next time out.

Gareth AinsworthGareth Ainsworth
Gareth Ainsworth’s side have looked out of their depth early on | Lewis Storey/Getty Images

You might think it’s harsh but sorry – it’s true.

Everyone loves an underdog story and we more than anyone would love to see Adebayo Akinfenwa lift the Championship Golden Boot aloft as Wycombe celebrate promotion, but it’s just not going to happen.

The club look completely out of their depth, taking no points from their first three games with an aggregate score of 8-0 (and in truth it could have been double that).

There’s more chance of Gareth Ainsworth emerging from the tunnel with only one button undone on his shirt and a respectable haircut for their next game than there is of Wanderers being a Championship team next season.

If only the EFL awarded points for looking like the frontman in an Aerosmith tribute act. They really should do that.

Phillip CocuPhillip Cocu
Phillip Cocu is already under pressure at Derby after just three league games | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Having both harboured lofty ambitions coming into the season, it’s been a disastrous start for Derby County and Nottingham Forest.

Both sides are yet to pick up a point from their opening three league games with pressure beginning to mount on Phillip Cocu and Sabri Lamouchi.

On the plus side the Rams have at least scored two whole goals this season and squeezed past Barrow on penalties in the Carabao Cup (though have since been eliminated from the competition). Forest are yet to even score a goal in their four games in all competitions.

Xavier QuintillaXavier Quintilla
Norwich haven’t had a great start to the campaign | Ben Early – AMA/Getty Images

Many tipped Norwich and last season’s beaten play-off finalists Brentford for promotion this year, though they’ve both struggled early on.

The pair have taken four points from their first three fixtures respectively – not disastrous but hardly inspiring – and have both suffered underwhelming 1-0 defeats.

If new boy Ivan Toney can settle in at Brentford they’ll have a great chance, similarly with Norwich and Teemu Pukki – if the Finland international can rediscover his second-tier goalscoring touch they’ll undoubtedly be up there, but so far it’s not looking great.

Lewis GrabbanLewis Grabban
Forest have had a torrid start to the season | George Wood/Getty Images

Forget this season, everyone is still trying to get over last season. How did they bottle their place in the play-offs?

It seems the Forest squad are still pondering their end-of-season collapse too, as their form early on has been appalling.

Their squad is strong enough to be challenging at the top end of the table, though if they don’t shift the hangover soon then their season goal could be out of reach in no time.

Garry MonkGarry Monk
Garry Monk has a mountain to climb but his side should have enough | Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

They’ve sold last season’s top scorer and they’ve started off on minus 12 points…remember those hastily made predictions we talked about?

But it’s true, they should be alright. So far Garry Monk’s side have taken a point from relegated Watford, comfortably beaten last season’s fifth-placed side Cardiff City and only suffered defeat away at second-placed Bristol City. Not a bad start.

There’s some poor teams in this season’s second tier and Wigan’s points deduction last campaign means Barnsley are effectively a League One team playing in the Championship (given they would have been relegated without the Latics’ punishment). Wednesday should be able to scrape to safety.

Aitor KarankaAitor Karanka
Aitor Karanka has a proven track record in the second tier | James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

Eyebrows were raised when Birmingham boss Aitor Karanka decided to raid old club Middlesbrough of their ageing stalwarts who had served him so well during his time at the club – but he seems to know what he’s doing.

Adam Clayton and George Friend have been superb since arriving at St. Andrew’s and Karanka is churning out results despite the club reinvesting very little of the fee received for Jude Bellingham.

The Spanish boss has excelled in the second tier in the past and could be the man to take Birmingham back to the Premier League.

Lyndon DykesLyndon Dykes
Lyndon Dykes has settled into the QPR side seamlessly | James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

Selling Eberechi Eze and failing to secure a permanent deal for Jordan Hugill was always going to be a blow for Queens Park Rangers. The pair were instrumental in the club’s mid-table finish last year, however, they look to have swiftly moved on.

Rangers have had no problems finding the back of the net, scoring in each of their four games in all competitions partly thanks to new man Lyndon Dykes.

Mark Warburton’s side looked like they could struggle this season after losing their two talismen but they seem to have adjusted well.

Nathan JonesNathan Jones
Nathan Jones looks to have Luton playing exactly how he wants | George Wood/Getty Images

Luton were perilously close to heading straight back to the third tier last season and only survived thanks to an unbelievable string of results late on.

Former Stoke boss Nathan Jones was named as the new man in charge last May – following Graeme Jones’ departure – and he looks to be a perfect appointment.

Luton have won eight of the 15 games Jones has been at the helm for and they’ve started this season brilliantly. Relegation worries could be a thing of the past for the Hatters.

Adam ArmstrongAdam Armstrong
Armstrong has started the season in superb form | Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Having flown under the radar for a few seasons despite some lofty goalscoring stats, Adam Armstrong finally looks set to burst onto the scene.

In truth it seems weird the former Newcastle man has had to wait so long to be recognised having notched 16 league goals last season. However, with five in his first three games this could be the season he looks back on as ‘the one’.