Relegation Form or Championship Form? (1/2)
Form is a funny old horse, fluctuating as it does according to so many factors. In terms of team form, it can be that players don't know one another getting onto the same wavelength, it can be injuries keeping a star player out, it can even be the confidence that comes with wins rolling onto the next game. In short, we can only analyse form, we can't rationalise it exactly, and it generally very difficult to predict. It is in that spirit that I lead you into the quagmire of Championship form. In a league where top really can beat bottom or bottom top on any given day, any trends you can find are worth looking at.
In that spirit, then, I've re-drafted running form tables for the games that have gone so far this season, using six games as my marker. We're still quite early in the season, but teams have got to where they are in very different ways. The best way to see these routes is (in my opinion) on a graph - it gives you an instant visual where otherwise you'd have to look at 10 different tables for every team; here's a running form (points per game, of course) for the three teams new into the Championship from League One.
Now, there's nothing here we didn't (really) already know. Charlton and Sheffield W both started pretty well, continuing their form of last season, but since they suffered a defeat, both have struggled to get going again (Charlton have picked up a little recently). Meanwhile, Huddersfield have managed to 'bounce' - counteracting the two consecutive home defeats with three wins in four before that.
Moving on from that, to the top three teams as it stands, to Cardiff, Leicester and Wolves. There's a distinct similarity between these three - three teams who have had a brief lull, but then kicked on - averaging 2.5 points a game over any 6-game spell is good, but this early in the season it means you've got 15 points on the board right there.
If I'm being perfectly honest, this is just a little distraction from a second post, wherein I draw up day by day form tables, and rank victories according to opposition's position within them, but I'll leave you with a third graph - the three relegated teams, and how their seasons have started - Blackburn started like a train, but have faltered' Wolves (as we've seen) have improved, whereas Bolton haven't really got going at all yet.
These running form guides are more interesting the longer the season goes on - you get a clear picture of whether teams show any consistency or if they have patches of good form, and patches of very poor form. What I would say, though, is that as long as Huddersfield Town's graph keeps bouncing around above 1.50, it'll be a good season in store at the John Smith's stadium.