Championship Contenders

You have to, in some senses, wonder what they have to do in order to win any praise. With an extraordinarily close league table and three out of four of the places in the FA Cup semi-finals, you’d think that the media might just take the opportunity to reappraise the Championship, but no. On one of the very few occasions that The Guardian takes its eyes of the Usual Suspects, they hire someone to take a pop at it. The fact of the matter is that, in most matters, the media is very conservative. They don’t like the status quo being upset, and this year they’re starting the sledging early. At the top of the Premier League, everything is going on very much as normal. The Top Four are in the right place, Derby County are ripe to be laughed at by everyone else and everything is going on as per normal. In the Championship, though, things aren’t going according to plan for the self-styled “bigger clubs”. The openness of the table this season has meant that clubs such as Southampton and Leicester City, who might quite conceivably have thought of themselves as being amongst the favourites for promotion before the start of the season, are instead in the middle of a thoroughly undignified battle against relegation. Meanwhile, the teams that have organised themselves properly have fought their way...

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