Sunderland occupy 4th in the Championship table after a bright start to the 2023/24 campaign under Tony Mowbray.
Sunderland made a big splash back in the Championship last season, earning a play-off finish in their first campaign since returning from League One. The hope is they can maintain an upward trajectory and fight it out at the top end of the table again this season.
The Black Cats were in fine form before losing their final game before the break in disappointing circumstances. Michael Carrick’s Middlesbrough beat them 4-0 at home, so Mowbray and co will be determined to bounce back this weekend.
Sunderland in the Opta Power Rankings
For starters, the Opta Power Rankings are described as a ‘global ranking system’, putting over 13,000 domestic football teams into a big table based on factors both on and off the pitch.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Manchester City sit at the top of the ranks with a 100% rating. Real Madrid are 2nd on 96%.
Sunderland come in at 131st, boasting a rating of 80.3%. Impressively, that puts the Black Cats as the 2nd-highest ranked Championship team behind Leicester City, whose rating is 83.9%. In and around Sunderland are the likes of top-tier European sides RC Strasbourg and FC. Koln, while Middlesbrough are tied on the same score.
Notably, Leeds United are nine places below in 140th with a score of 80%.
On the way back up
After some tough years with relegations and hardship down in League One, Sunderland are really on their way back up. They’ll be hoping this stage in their history comes before a long-awaited return to Premier League football, but time will tell if they can make that step up to England’s top-flight again.
The Black Cats have grown a reputation as a top talent-spotter, recruiting a host of top youngsters from the continent and trusting them with first-team roles.
This season is setting up to be another good one as Sunderland continue to take strides on and off the pitch.