League Insider - Contenders
The Football League Insider feels we saw a glimpse of next year's Premier League this weekend.
Last Updated: 06/12/10 12:33pm
We surely watched a glimpse of next year's Premier League over the weekend in the Championship.
A high-class affair at Loftus Road saw Queens Park Rangers claim a 2-1 win over their nearest rivals Cardiff City
Many will accuse Rangers of purely buying their way to the top, but their appointment of Neil Warnock has been the catalyst to everything which has gone on at the club.
Arguably Warnock's biggest accomplishment is getting the best out of Adel Taarabt, who is without doubt currently the best player in the Championship.
The former Spurs man has been given free licence by Warnock to produce and he has been the fulcrum of QPR's play.
Warnock has built a proper team at QPR, hence they are not just out-scoring sides on a weekly basis, but they have conceded just nine goals - which goes some way to explaining why they are still the only undefeated team in the Championship.
Indeed, would it really be beyond question for QPR to go undefeated for the whole season? Not at all - they could become the first side since Arsene Wenger's Arsenal invincibles of 2004 to go a whole league campaign without losing.
As said QPR's latest victims were their closest rivals Cardiff, who have built up their side under Dave Jones over the last few years to a point where few can see them not getting promoted.
So this time next year will it be the Premier League Insider that is discussing QPR v Cardiff instead? Quite possibly!
Whilst sticking to the top-flight theme, one look at the current Championship table does beg the question, is chasing the Premier League dream worth it?
Of the current bottom-seven, five of the teams have been relegated from the top flight in the last six years.
Hull City, Leicester, Sheffield United, Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough have all enjoyed stints in the top flight - but now find themselves battling for their Championship lives.
All five clubs had varying degrees of success in the Premier League, but now all have dropped out and are struggling to get back to the promised land.
Hull, Leicester and Palace are all now under new ownership after struggling financially when dropping down, and although Sheffield United and Middlesbrough still have their current owners, you would hardly describe either as being in rude health.
Those five clubs all emerged as Premier League clubs at the start of the last decade, and they are probably now best advised to follow the latest trend of trying and getting promoted with what you have.
You only need look at Blackpool and Burnley. Both have got promoted without changing their club or their philosophy or breaking the bank, and as such Premier League promotion has made sure of a long and secure future for them, which at this moment in time is something only some of the former top-flight clubs can dream of.
We also saw the welcome return of the East Anglian derby this weekend. and it was well and truly Norwich who came out on top.
Their captain Grant Holt truly showed he can cut it at Championship level, while the pressure has been turned up on Roy Keane - whose side have alarmingly slipped away from the top of the table.