THE CHAMPIONSHIP’S omnipresent competitive nature may truly precede it, but by common consent, there is another conclusion to garner from events so far this season.
Namely, that - at the top end of the table at least - it does not appear to be as strong as it has been in recent times.
When talk turns to the current state of play for Leeds United, that represents both a blessing and a bugbear in equal measure.
A blessing because Leeds have lacked ruthlessness, more especially at home where they have let points inexcusably slip through their fingers.
Seven points have been reprehensibly frittered away and handed over against Forest, Swansea and Derby County.Leon Wobschall
Factor in frustrating defeats - for contrasting reasons - in the capital at Millwall and Charlton, and it all adds up.
The Whites have already lost three times at second-tier level this season - at the corresponding stage of 2018-19 after 11 games, they had been turned over just once in the league. But they sit just two points off the top of the table.
Leaders West Brom may have looked eye-catching in the second-half of their recent unsuccessful trip to Elland Road, inspired by the beguiling performance of loanee Mathius Pereira, but their overall form is hardly in the same stratosphere as their Black Country rivals Wolves a few years back.
The Baggies have also already shipped 13 goals. They clearly give you a chance.
Second-placed Nottingham Forest have been pragmatically efficient, perhaps in the same way Middlesbrough were at this stage of last season, but nothing to write home about. Boro fell away last year, will Forest?
Preston North End and Swansea City can reflect on uplifting opening quarters of the season, but the trick is surely sustaining it. Fulham have been fluctuating thus far and so have Bristol City, who have conceded 13 times.
On the subject of fluctuation, so Leeds have possessed similar traits. But the summit is still in full view.
The frustration arrives with the fact that a relatively modest top end of the Championship has seen Marcelo Bielsa’s side pass up a choice opportunity to carve out a handy lead for themselves already. And they only have themselves to blame.
It is not doing a disservice to suggest that their okay-but-nothing-startling haul of eight points from a possible 15 at home could easily have been 15, if they had taken due care and attention to their finishing duties.
Seven points have been reprehensibly frittered away and handed over against Forest, Swansea and Derby County.
The upshot is that instead of being five points clear at the summit, Leeds are in fourth spot, two points behind Albion.
In the main, Leeds’s statistics tally up from last season. They are just two points worse off today than after 11 games of 2018-19 and their defensive record is almost identical.
But they already mustered six goals fewer. If that trait continues, there will obvious concern at the time of the next international break in November.
Sharpen up and Leeds will be fine. You are right in thinking that this has been said before.