Championship Strong Season Starters

Updated: 175 Football

Championship Strong Season Starters
Dan Tracey Data Scientist and Football Editor

Writer, analyst, podcaster, Spurs fan. Three out of four is not bad. If there is a data angle, I will find it.

With the 2022/23 Championship season very nearly upon us, here at OLBG, we take a look at which sides are likely to make a fast start in England’s second tier based on their previous form in the division over the last ten seasons. 

Specifically, the research looked at the first five games of the season since the 2012/13 campaign and only included results from when each of the current Championship clubs were playing in the division. 

Getting off to a good start to the season is crucial, particularly in a relentless division like the Championship where momentum from a few wins at the beginning of a campaign can be a catalyst for earning a playoff spot or even automatic promotion to the promised land of the Premier League

Here’s how every club plying their trade in the EFL Championship during the upcoming 2022/23 campaign has generally fared at the start of the season over the last decade…


Team Goals For Goals Against Total wins Total draws Total losses No. Games Win % Points Goal Difference
Watford 34 23 11 3 6 20 55.00% 36 11
West Brom 32 18 8 5 2 15 53.33% 29 14
Swansea 26 19 10 5 5 20 50.00% 35 7
QPR 57 52 19 9 12 40 47.50% 66 5
Burnley 24 20 7 3 5 15 46.67% 24 4
Cardiff City 47 36 17 9 9 40 42.50% 60 11
Bristol City 74 65 18 12 15 45 40.00% 66 9
Coventry 10 14 4 1 5 10 40.00% 13 -4
Luton Town 19 21 6 2 7 15 40.00% 20 -2
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Highest Win Percentage

Watford came out on top in terms of win percentage, with an impressive record of 11 wins in 20 matches, giving them a figure of 55%. The Hornets have been something of a yo-yo club in the last decade, which is reflected in both their high win percentage and the number of games played. 20 games mean they have spent four seasons out of the last ten in the Championship, while the other six campaigns have been played in the top flight. 

West Brom

West Brom ranked next and followed a similar pattern to Watford but have bounced between the two divisions slightly less, playing 15 matches (three seasons) in the second tier, winning eight giving the Baggies a win percentage of 53.33%. Steve Bruce will be hoping a repeat of this form can set them on their way to promotion after an extremely disappointing latter half of the season last time out. 

Swansea

Swansea rounded off the top three based on win percentage, taking three points on exactly half of the 20 occasions they played at the start of the season in the last decade. The South Wales club enjoyed seven seasons in the Premier League before their relegation to the Championship back in 2017/18 where they have remained ever since. In those four seasons, they made the playoff twice and will need a fast start again to gain a top six spot, particularly after a dismal 15th place finish in 2021/22. 

Sunderland

At the other end of proceedings, Sunderland ranked last, winning just 20% of their games. However,  the Wearsiders have only spent one season in the Championship during the time period the research examined, which was back in 2017/18. That proved a fatal campaign for the Black Cats ending in relegation to League One where they stayed for four seasons before clawing their way out via the playoffs in May. Needless to say, a vast improvement is required if they are to avoid the same fate. 

Rotherham

Rotherham placed next and their fans may have cause for concern with just six wins in 25 matches. The Millers have been something of a yo-yo club between League One and the Championship over recent years and a win ratio of 24% over five seasons does strongly suggest they will struggle to make an impact in the second tier yet again, especially with the current playing squad being largely the same as the one that got relegated in 2020/12. 

Birmingham City

Birmingham City ranked just above Rotherham with a win percentage of just 28%, which will be extremely alarming to Blues fans given they are the only team to have been in the Championship for the full ten seasons the research covered. That means they have played the maximum of 50 games, losing on 17 occasions. The club has really struggled since relegation from the Premier League back in 2010/11, only managing to finish in the playoffs once and in the last five years have consistently finished in the lower echelons of the division, very nearly dropping to League One in the process.

Top Scorers 

In terms of goals scored, Bristol City topped the charts with 74 goals but did concede 65 and their figure was helped by the fact they have played in the Championship for all but one season since 2012/13. Blackburn were next and played the same amount of games as Bristol, scoring 64 but shipping 60 the other way. West Brom had the best goal difference with 14 followed by Middlesborough (12), then Cardiff and Watford - both on 11. 

Leaky Defences

Rotherham had the worst by some distance with -26 as they conceded a whopping 32 goals in just 25 games. Stoke didn’t fare much better scoring 20 and conceding 31, meaning they had a goal difference of -11 while Milwall showed their inconsistency in the division by scoring a very respectable 45 but conceding 52 leaving them on -7 overall.  

All this information could be valuable to those placing early season bets on the football in their quest to get an edge against the bookies

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