Wolves hammered Leeds United 4-1 on Wednesday night to go four points clear at the top.
Wolves are four ahead of Cardiff and five above Sheffield United, whilst Aston Villa are fully nine points adrift, suggesting it could be a similar three way fight as we saw last season, when Newcastle and Brighton went up automatically and Huddersfield in the play-offs – having chased the other two until the very closing stages of the season.
The Championship is now at the 18 games played stage and many in the Black Country are now comparing the start made by Wolves with that of Newcastle last season.
Wolves have 41 points now, which is one more than Newcastle had at this stage last season.
If they keep that rate up, Wolves would end the season on 105 points. However, Newcastle were on track for 102 points when at that 18 match stage but finished on 94 as champions, thanks to winning the last three matches as Brighton stumbled.
The last 10 seasons actually show big spending Wolves have more points at this stage than any other team since…Wolves, back in 2008/09. That season they had 43 points and went up as champions but with only 90 points, as their form levelled off.
As you can see below, Newcastle have the next two highest 18 match totals after the two Wolves seasons over the last decade and indeed Newcastle kept their form well both times, as only Leiecester City in 2013/14 matched Newcastle’s 102 points of 2009/10.
Reading did it the other way round in 2011/12, ending as champions despite only having 24 points after 18 matches.
The stats certainly suggesting though that a strong start is a major factor in ending up top in the second tier.
Sunderland are leaving their promotion charge a little late as they have only one win and 11 points in their 18 matches so far.
After defeat at Aston Villa on Tuesday night, the Mackems have to win all remaining 28 games to reach 95 points and exceed Newcastle’s points total last season.
These are the last 10 seasons in the Championship, with points total after 18 matches before each club that ended up as champions, then their final points totals:
41 Wolves (2017/18)
40 Newcastle United (2016/17 – 94 points)
34 Burnley (2015/16 – 93 points)
32 Bournemouth (2014/15 – 90 points)
38 Leicester (2013/14 – 102 points)
37 Cardiff (2012/13 – 87 points)
24 Reading (2011/12 – 89 points)
38 QPR (2010/11 – 88 points)
39 Newcastle United (2009/10 – 102 points)
43 Wolves (2008/09 – 90 points)