English Championship last season summary
English Championship – facts and figures
EFL Championship (referred to as the Sky Bet Championship for sponsorship reasons) is the second tier of league competition in English football. Last season was the first of the EFL Championship under the current Sky Bet’s name, and the twenty-fifth season under its current league structure. It is known as the wealthiest non top flight football league in the world and the seventh richest division in Europe.
It can boast with the second average match attendance among the second division European leagues, leaving the place only to Bundesliga 2. We are still waiting for the beginning of the new season, therefore it is a good moment for summing up the last one, predicting the outcomes for the next one, showing a bit of the league’s history and analyse the statistics.
The history of the league
Basically the league exist from 1892, functioning as Division Two. In 1992, it was the subject of change into Division One. From 2004, it is the EFL (or now Sky Bet) Championship. The winners of the Championship receive the Football League Championship trophy, the same trophy as the old First Division champions were handed prior to the Premier League's inception in 1992. Ipswich Town are the leagues veterans, having the longest tenure in the Championship, last being out of the division in the 2001–02 season, when they were relegated from the Premier League.
Among the teams with the biggest amount of titles, we have Manchester City and Leicester City, who both won the league 7 times in their history. Behind the Citizens and the Foxes, come the Blues from Birmingham as well as Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday, which all earned 5 titles. Sunderland will have a chance to improve this record, being relegated from the Premier League last season.
Sky Bet’s last season
Season 2016/17 saw a fierce rivalry until the last round between Newcastle United (relegated a season before from Premier League) and last season’s revelation – Brighton & Hove Albion. Finally, the title went to Newcastle, as the Magpies ended the season with 94 points, only a point ahead of Brighton. Brighton actually lost their Champioship in the last round, having only drawn with Aston Villa (1-1), while Newcastle firmly beaten Barnsley 3 to 0. It was for sure an unimaginable loss for Brighton, as they were on the run throughout the whole season. On the other side, Rafael Benitez, the manager of Newcastle proved that he didn’t give empty promises, when announcing his immediate return to Premier League plans.
Traditionally, there was a big fight for the play-off places (from 3 to 6). The regular season ended with Reading (led by great Dutch former player – Jaap Stam) earning the 3rd place, 4 points before the fourth Sheffield Wednesday and 5th Huddersfield Town. The last team, which qualified for the play-offs was Fulham, having big ambitions, adverting to their rich Premier League’s history. All in all, it was Huddersfield Town, who earn the promotion, dramatically winning against Reading in the promotion final.
On the other side of the England Championship table we can find 3 relegated teams, finishing the season respectively on places from 22nd to 24th. These were Blackburn Rovers, which did not manage to come back to Premier League after their relegation in 2012. Also Wigan Athletic and Rotterham did not manage to maintain in the league for the next season.
Chris Wood, a New-Zealander from Leeds United scored the biggest amount of goals -25. Newcastle United managed to earn the biggest away victory (0:6 against QPR), as well as to maintain the longest winning streak – 8 matches. The runners-up from Brighton had the longest unbeaten run, which last for 18 games. Rotterham United noted the longest winless run, lasting for 17 matches.
A close look on the Champions
The current champions from Newcastle managed to build a strong team upon the players who stayed after the relegation. Ayoze Perez, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Jack Colback or Chancel Mbemba were among the most significant names, who shown their loyalty and considerably helped the team in their way back to Premier League. Apart from them, the team managed to sign Matt Ritchie or Dwight Gayle, who turned out to be a bull’s eye (both scoring many goals and having lots of assists) as well as Christian Atsu or Mohamed Diame.
That is why nobody cried after Papiss Cisse or Fabrizio Coloccini. The team managed to score 85 goals, conceding only 40 and having the goal difference of 45 goals (the best in the league). Their striker, Dwight Gayle had a decent impact on their attacking form, as he scored 26 goals. Also Matty Ritchie contributed highly to the final success, scoring 17 goals, as well as the other striker – Ayoze Perez, who ended the season with 15 strikes. Due to all of these, Newcastle United managed to bring Premier League back on St. James Park.
Incoming season’s prediction
It is no surprise that the teams relegated last year from Premier League will be among the candidates for the title this season. That is why Hull City, Middlesbrough and Sunderland have a big chance for the win. If only they would maintain the cores of their squads, it is highly probable to see them on top. Other teams, which may go off for the fight are Reading and Sheff Wed, which were really near the promotion last season, as well as Watford, Fulham or the sleeping giants from Aston Villa.
On the other hand, Nottingham Forest has very fortunately managed to maintain their Championship’s tenure for the next season, ending last one with the same amount of points as relegated Blackburn, having only a better goal difference balance (2 goals more). Unless they improve their form, this season might be also very difficult from them. Also the newly promoted Bolton, Sheffield United and Milwall will struggle for their maintenance in the tier.
Although there are many weeks of transfer window ahead, we have already seen many interesting moves. Hull City, relegated last year, have lost Harry Maguire or Tom Huddlestone, who respectively moved to Leicester City or Derby County. They were also involved in an interesting exchange with Liverpool – Andrew Robertson moved to Liverpool, while Kevin Stewart has strengthen Hull’s squad.
Middlesbrough lost two or three important players, like the left winger Victor Fischer, who went to Mainz, Jordan Rhodes, who went to Sheff Wed or the goalkeeper, however they managed to find equally good replacements. Darren Randolph from West Ham for the goalkeeper position, Britt Assombalonga for 17,10 Mill. € for the attack and Martin Braithwaite from Toulouse for the wings. Sunderland looks as for now as the weakest from the relegated teams, having sold two solid goalkeepers – Vito Mannone to Reading and the amazing youngster goalie – Jordan Pickford for an astonishing amount of 28,50 Mill. € to Everton.
They managed to sign however Irish international – Aiden McGeady (also from Everton) and a goalkeeper Jason Steele from Blackburn.
Among other interesting moves, we have Urby Emanuelson from Sheff Wed to FC Utrecht, Tomas Kalas loaned from Chelsea to Fulham, Mateusz Klich from FC Twente to Leeds, Vurnon Anita from Newcastle also to Leeds.
Derby County bought Andre Wisdom and Tom Huddlestone (respectively from Liverpool and Hull City), however they sold their two big talents – Tom Ince (to Huddersfield Town) and Will Hughes (Watford). Brentford FC bought a very interesting player, known from Eredivisie pitches - Kamohelo Mokotjo from FC Twente.
And the best for the final – John Terry has signed a contract with Aston Villa. The legendary Chelsea captain got convinced by Villans president to sign a 2-year deal with them. They also bought a solid, experienced defender – Cherno Samba.
Bunch of team statistics
If you are one of those, who like to have the access to all the data, analyses, comparisons, then this section shall particularly appeal to you. It will let you conduct a better, more thorough analysis of the current situation, the form of each team, predictions for the following fixtures, as well as follow the latest news about each team or player.
English Championship table
Among all data, the most important, is always the league table. Last season ended with a slight Newcastle’s win, gathering only one point more than Brighton. They won 29 matches, which was the highest number among all teams. Similarly to Brighton, the conceded 40 goals, however with 84 goals scored, they managed to have the highest goal difference. Fulham and Norwich (respectively 6th and 8th in the English Championship table) scored the highest amount of goals- 85. While on the other hand, Rotterham lost 98 goals, significantly lagging behind the rest of the league. Rotterham has also collected the lowest number of points – 23, having won only 5 matches, drawing 8 and losing 33.
Other relevant statistics
As it was already said, Fulham and Norwich distinguish themselves with the highest number of scored goals – 85. On the other hand, Norwich and Newcastle has the highest average of goals per game – 1.85. Rotterham has its place on the other end of this ranking – having the highest average of conceded goals per match - 2.13. Newcastle and Fulham have also a distinguishable average of shots per game – 13.30. Newcastle has the highest number of shots on goal -5.28 per match, while Fulham is a bit worse, having 4.93. Norwich and Brentford have also a significant average of shots on goal per game, respectively 5.26 and 5.24 threating the opposite goalie.
Fulham and Huddersfield and Reading, so three from the play-off places, can be proud of their ball possession throughout the season, leaving behind the rest of the teams. Fulham has an incredible ball possession stats, reaching almost 60% (59.96%). Under the current coach they love to play an attractive, dominating style of football. The second Hudderfsfield town reached 58.04%, while the third Reading 57.13%. The champion from Newcastle, is fourth in this ranking, reaching 52.65%. On the other side, we have i.e. Rotterham or Cardiff, which undoubtedly loved to play counterattacks, having an average ball possession at the level of 39.76% and 41.50% of time respectively.
QPR was the most aggressively playing team, committing a total number of 618.0 fouls during the season, which gives an average of 13.43 fouls per game. On the other side, we have gentlemen from Fulham, who can be distinguished by a very clean style of play, committing 429.0 fouls throughout the season (9.33 per game). We have also the ranking of the team with the highest numbers of cards – Nottingham Forest earned the biggest of them, over 2 yellow cards per game (2.20) and one red card each 5 games (0.20).
English Championship top scorers
First place in this ranking is deservedly earned by Chris Wood from Leeds, who scored 27 goals. It is almost a half of the team goals in general (61). He scored 0.7 goals per match on average. Then we three players with the same amount of 23 goals. Glenn Murray from Brighton, who considerably helped his team earn the promotion with his 23 goals, giving him an average of 0.5 goals per game. Next one is Tammy Abraham – Swansea’s youngster, loaned to Bristol City with an average of 0.6 goals per game and Dwight Gayle from Newcastle, having also an average of 0.5 goals per match. The experienced 35 years old Frenchman, Yann Kermorgant from Reading, scored 19 goals, which gave him the 5th position in this ranking.
Here we have one player, who significantly left behind all other ones. Conor Hurrihane from Aston Villa ended the season with 14 goals, which gave him the 1st position in the top assistans ranking. Then we have 4 players, who have the same number of last passes – 10. These are Tom Cairney, Sone Aluko (both from Fulham) Wes Hoolahan (Norwich) and Albert Adonah (Aston Villa). As you can see, 24 goals of the 47 Villans’ goals come from the great play of this important duo.
Most brutal players
David Davis (Birmingham) and Lewis Dunk (Brighton) are among the most brutally playing ones, collecting respectively 15 and 14 yellow cards and one red. Just right after them, we have Pontus Jansson (from Leeds) and Preston’s Ben Pearson, with 14 yellow cards, but no red ones. Kevin McDonald from Fulham has also earned 14 cards - 13 yellows and one red.
English Championship Summary
To sum up, English Championship is one of the most exciting and exhausting leagues. Featuring 24 teams, it gives a total amount of 46 matches in regular season phase. As for the fans, it is undoubtedly a good fact, giving them a lot of possibilities to watch high-quality football. Next season will be very exciting, with lot of teams interested in promotion. The league starts at the 4th of August with the match Sunderland – Derby. Don’t forget to follow the matches of your favourite teams and players.
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