Who can upset the Status Quo at Christmas?

24 Dec

In the Premier League, at least, Christmas time is usually considered a strong indication of how the table is going to play out come season end. With Leicester City sweeping aside all comers and Watford, Brentford’s rivals for promotion last season, just one point off the Champions League slots, one can only hope things remain as such. If only to shake up the somewhat moribund status quo that has settled on the top flight in recent years.

More importantly though, watching Chelsea self-destruct and Louis Van Gaal flounce out of a Manchester United press conference whilst the likes of Watford and Bournemouth start to get noticed for the right reasons, gives even more reasons for optimism. These were teams that Brentford were doing battle with in the Championship last season yet now they are ripping up the Premier League rule book. So do the same principals apply to the Championship table at this time of year and could the impossible happen?

Bees at Watford

Watford – Brentford. Last season Championship. Next season Premier?

Well, Middlesbrough were my tip to be Champions at the start of the campaign and they’ve really started to lock down their position at the top. Indeed, Saturday’s emphatic 3-0 win at Brighton was a huge statement of intent as to their title credentials and a massive line in the sand for others team to dare cross.

To be quite honest, I can only see them getting stronger and they still get my vote to finish the season with, at the very least, automatic promotion if not as champions. After that, though, it looks like the wobbles are setting in.

Hull City have lost 3 out of the last 5, including a 2-0 shock at Rotherham United a few days ago. Brighton have only picked up 3 wins from their last 10 league games whilst for Burnley it is 1 out of 7(seven).

Derby County have got second place, at present, but the nerves they’ve seen over the last two seasons are sure to start playing at the back of the mind. A 90th minute play off choke to the Loftus Road mob was bad enough but to then follow this with self-destruction at home to hopeless Reading in the final game last time out can only start the demons rearing their heads soon.

The point being that this is wide open and by no means a certainty as to who will finish where. Brentford can only go into the Boxing Day game with Brighton in buoyant mood. Hot of the back of our own 4-2 win over Huddersfield Town, the team are rampant whilst there is nothing but a warm and fuzzy glow around Griffin Park at present as evidenced by the wonderful events of Tuesday night.

Screen Shot 2015-12-24 at 07.44.30

The BBC table shows the chasing pack are hot on the heels of the play-off zone

Three more points on Saturday could, conceivably, put us amongst that play-off pack and from there, who knows? Could we almost be in that sacrilegious scenario of hoping QPR can get a Boxing Day win over Ipswich Town in sixth place? I’ll leave that one to you and your conscience, whilst just hoping we fulfill our side of that deal.

Being realistic though, come season end I don’t think we’ll be promoted. At least not automatically. The table shows a huge gap whilst we all know the myriad reasons for a start which was, for many fans, much slower than expected. For me it will be Middlesbrough and Hull City but after that the jury really is out.

Brentford are starting to fly and we have as good a chance as anybody. Lee Carsley helped us take off and Dean Smith has continued that momentum. I genuinely believe we’ll get the win on Saturday whilst we take a huge crowd to Reading on Monday. At the time of writing only a handful of tickets remain for that one.

The Premier League may, normally, be predictable, but I think it would take a very brave man to call this division. Or a foolish one. And as I most definitely fit into the latter category, I’m going to do it…

Brentford WILL finish top six. After that though, it’s the play-offs for The Bees. 9th time lucky?

Hey, if Bournemouth can post back-to-back League wins over Chelsea and Manchester United… If Leicester City can top the Christmas table… If Watford can start to think about the Champions League, then ANYTHING is possible… My son even believes an old man with a beard is going to squeeze down our chimney tomorrow and leave some gifts under the tree. Whilst I’ve had to tell him that Jonathan Douglas won’t be visiting, you’ve still got to go with the improbable at this time of year.

And finally… I’m all for upsetting the status quo but there’s nothing upsetting about the real Status Quo. From the world of pop music, that is.

This may not get as much airplay as the best ever festive record – Shakin’ Stevens: Merry Christmas, Everyone – as if anybody needed a reminder, but it comes a very close second in terms of quality.

What better gift can I give you than the gift of…The Quo. Enjoy

Nick Bruzon

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