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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Ricky Charlesworth

Last 10 Championship teams top at Christmas and how they fared as Fulham lead race

Fulham fans have plenty to cheer about as we approach the busy festive season.

Their side are top of the Championship and are the division's most potent team with an immediate Premier League return looking a safe bet.

Marco Silva's side are five points clear of third-placed West Brom as we approach the halfway stage of the season.

But what are the omens for the Cottagers as we head into the second half of the campaign?

Well, pretty good as it turns out.

Nine of the last 10 seasons have seen the side sitting top of the Championship on Christmas Day go on to seal automatic promotion.

Will Fulham finish top of the Championship or will someone else pip them? Let us know in the comments section

Five of them - Cardiff City, Bournemouth, Newcastle, Wolves and Norwich City - have gone on to cling on to top spot and go up as worthy champions.

Four others - Southampton, Burnley, Middlesbrough and West Brom - lasted the pace and sealed automatic promotion by finishing second.

However, just one side sitting atop the second tier on December 25 has gone on to finish outside the top two spots.

That was in the 2018-19 season when Leeds United befell the unfortunate fate.

Marcelo Bielsa's side beat Aston Villa just before Christmas to stay top of the table. They were 2-0 down at Villa Park before a second half salvo saw them seal a dramatic victory that sent them clear of Norwich.

They were a point clear of the second-placed Canaries and six clear of third-placed West Brom when the big day came.

But come the end of the campaign Bielsa's side were overtaken by Norwich and Sheffield United. They would eventually finish third, six points shy of the second-placed Blades. They then lost out in the play-offs to compound their misery.

As for Fulham, they will be hoping to avoid a similar collapse after blowing the majority of their rivals away so far.

As mentioned, Silva's troops are top scorers by some distance this term. They have hit 51 goals so far. For context, Bournemouth AND Blackburn are joint second-highest scorers on 37 each.

A huge factor in that has been the sensational form of striker Aleksandar Mitrovic. The Serbian has hit 22 goals so far and is just nine away from equalling the second tier's best-ever tally (since it was revamped in 2004-05).

The chances of Fulham being top on Christmas Day are pretty high. The only side that can take that honour away from them is Bournemouth, led by ex-Fulham boss Scott Parker.

The Cherries would need to win away at Middlesbrough on Saturday lunchtime and then hope for a Fulham slip-up.

Silva's side are not in action until Monday evening when they host Sheffield United at Craven Cottage.

Last ten teams to top the Championship table on December 25 (where they finished)

2011-12 Southampton (2nd)

2012-13 Cardiff (1st)

2013-14 Burnley (2nd)

2014-15 Bournemouth (1st)

2015-16 Middlesbrough (2nd)

2016-17 Newcastle (1st)

2017-18 Wolves (1st)

2018-19 Leeds United (3rd)

2019-20 West Brom (2nd)

2020-21 Norwich (1st)

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