After being relegated from the Premier League on the last day of the season against Aston Villa, pundits and journalists had a field day of criticising Newcastle United, who for some reason are one of the most disliked teams in English Football.
"The championship standard will be too hard for them to simply jump back out," they said. But almost halfway trough the season, Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion are beginning to pull clear of the chasing pack, and the performances that they have put in support the fact that they are far superior to other championship outfits.
Newcastle have conceded only 10 goals in 16 games, while West Brom have a goal differential of +20. Both of these stats show that other teams can't break the two sides down, and even if they do, they struggle to get any form of result out the game.
After watching every Newcastle game so far this year, other than West Brom I have not seen a team (other than possibly Blackpool), that has really broke Newcastle down and created a series of chances and dominated the magpies.
Therefore, it seems as though the other teams are simply playing for playoff places, because the two top teams don't look like slacking at any point soon. Both teams could easily still be playing in the Premier League this season, and it is simply due to unfortunate luck last year they are in this situation.