We’re at the quarter mark now more or less and sitting third in the division. It’s time to take a look at our club and the best of our competitors based on results so far:
Huddersfield: sitting in first place with 25 points including 8 wins, 2 losses and a draw. This must be the surprise team of the season to date. They specialize In winning the close ones, and with a goal difference of +6 from 11 they have gotten the maximum from the team they have. Manager David Wagner has done a tremendous job so far but will it continue?
Norwich: still in second place despite losing to us recently. A very good team at this level with loads of Premiership experience. Clearly they are a team which will remain in the hunt for promotion throughout the season. They are getting surprisingly good service from Cameron Jerome who already has 5 goals this season. Dorrans, Jarvis and Hoolahan are other veterans who are leading this club to an excellent season. Clear contenders to win the division.
Newcastle: Well here we are, sitting in third place with 7 wins. 3 losses, and a draw, on 22 points. Some surprises both good and bad this season. A huge transition year at the club with manager Rafa Benitez having an immediate impact on every aspect of the club. Numerous player outgoings and incomings have resulted in a start that was less than anticipated with two losses to begin. Since then the club has settled well and has some clear positives and negatives. Players such as Ritchie, Gayle, Shelvey, Gouffran, and Hayden have clearly made their mark. Others such as Perez and Mitrovic have started poorly and will need to improve drastically to play major roles.
Brighton, Bristol City, Birmingham: I’m going to lump the three B clubs together. They currently occupy the third to sixth positions in the table and all three clubs could finish the season in the top six. Murray and Knockaert are the top finishers for Brighton, while Bristol have the prolific teen Tammy Abraham, and Birmingham have their scoring spread throughout the forwards and midfield.
So the question is how will we finish up against this lot and potentially others as well? I see the season being a very hard fought affair with no one dominant team such as we were several seasons ago under Chris Houghton. I predict we will make promotion by finishing either first or second with about 90 points.