Cardiff City and Swansea City were among the worst performers in the Championship this season, according to a new table that has just been compiled.
Our sister site in Berkshire reports that a survey by the OLBG compared the predicted results for the 24 teams at the start of the season with what they actually ended up with at the end of a grueling 46-game campaign.
And it just shows Barnsley, who as Swansea was in the play-offs the year before, fared worse. The Tykes finished at rock bottom, 14 places short of the top 10 bettors they’d expected them to fill before a ball was even kicked for the 2021-22 campaign.
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Cardiff had been tipped to finish eighth but ended up 10 places down from 18th after a string of truly regrettable results with Mick McCarthy before Steve Morison started to turn things around. At one point, there were genuine fears that Cardiff would be relegated to League One, but Vincent Tan acted to avert that danger.
Up to 21 players can leave the Welsh capital club while Morison oversees Project Rebuild, looking to assemble a squad far better suited for fans hoping to be able to challenge for the top six next season.
Swansea were tipped to finish fifth in August, a legacy of the excellent work Steve Cooper did to get them to the Wembley play-off final against Brentford a few months earlier. The bettors’ prediction was somewhat naive given the loss of their boss Cooper by Swansea, as well as talents like Andre Ayew and Marc Guehi as the Wembley team was destroyed.
In any case, like their arch-rivals Cardiff, the final table saw the Swans finish 10 places below expectations in 15th place. The only other side to underperform the Welsh duo was Reading, quoted to be 11th but actually finishing 21st and out of the relegation positions.
West Brom comes next, supported to finish second in the table only to Fulham, but actually finding themselves 10th, eight under par, and out of the play-offs entirely.
The big winners that turned the tables completely upside down were the duo of Huddersfield and Luton, who are fighting to likely meet Cooper’s new club Nottingham Forest in a Premier League penalty shootout at Wembley.
Huddersfield was tipped to be relegated in 22nd place, but actually finished third – 19 places higher than expected. Luton was 19th but had a magnificent year under Welsh boss Nathan Jones and was in the top six – 13 places ahead of schedule.
Coventry and Blackpool were other teams that overcame their weight and achieved much better results than anticipated.
The final table of underachievers and overachievers
1: Fulham: 1st predicted (0 difference)
2: Bournemouth: 4th forecast (+2)
3: Hudersfield: 22nd forecast (+19)
4: Nottm Forest: 7th predicted (+3)
5: Sheff Utd: 3rd predicted (-2)
6: Luton: predicted 19th (+13)
7: Middlesbrough: 6th predicted (-1)
8: Blackburn: 12th predicted (+4)
9: Millwall: 14th forecast (+5)
10: West Brom: 2nd predicted (-8)
11: QPR: 10th forecast (-1)
12 Coventry: 21st forecast (+9)
13: Preston: predicted 18th (+5)
14: Stoke: 9th predicted (-5)
15: Swansea: 5th predicted (-10)
16: Blackpool: 24th predicted (+8)
17: Bristol City: 20th forecast (+3)
18: Cardiff: 8th predicted (-10)
19: Hull: predicted 15th (-4)
20: Birmingham: 16th predicted (-4)
21: Reading: Forecast 11 (-10)
22: P’Boro: 23rd forecast (+1)
23:00: Derby: 17th predicted (-6)
24: Barnsley: 10th predicted (-14)