The first team outside the top six, and the last one with a clear shot at making at the playoffs is Fulham, who have surprised many with their almost entirely revamped squad after last season’s 20th place finish.
It is surprising that Fulham find themselves outside of the playoff places, as their goal differential of +19 is third best in the Championship - only behind league leaders Newcastle and Brighton.
Their possession-based style led by manager Slavisa Jokanovic has drawn praise as being some of the best football played in the division, but their visually-pleasing style of play has not produced consistent results.
Looking to return to the Premier League after three seasons in the second tier, Fulham boast a balanced arsenal of attacking options, spearheaded by Tom Cairney, whose nine goals and nine assists have seen him labelled one of the Championship’s best players. Cairney is surrounded in central midfield by former Celtic player Stefan Johansen and fellow Scot Kevin McDonald, who have all had outstanding seasons and laid the basis for Fulham’s success.
There are two main reasons Fulham do not find themselves in the top six. First, their defence has been unreliable. Lacking an established partnership or consistency on the flanks, the Cottagers have struggled to defend well on a consistent basis. The second reason is their poor home form. With a mediocre record of 8-7-5 at Craven Cottage, the Whites have let attainable, valuable points slip at home against several bottom-half sides.
Fulham’s form as of late has been exceptional, unbeaten in their last eight before last weekend’s home loss to Wolves. Sitting only one point behind sixth place Sheffield Wednesday, as Fulham trend upward, if they find some consistency at the back and get results at home, they have a very good chance to find themselves in the playoffs for promotion.