English Championship - Battle For Promotion - Lets

With the English football season nearing its end, a lot of attention has turned to the Championship and which teams are going to win promotion back to the Premier League. The battle for the top two automatic spots is almost over but there could still be a few twists and turns with regards who will qualify for the end of season play-offs.

Automatic Promotion

Norwich City are unbeaten in twelve, have a far superior goal difference, and need just a single point from their remaining two matches to secure a return to the top flight of English football. Even if they suffer defeat in their final two games, their goal difference should still be enough.

Sheffield United currently occupy second place, thanks to a 3-0 away win at Hull City and Leeds United suffering a defeat at Brentford. Their three point advantage and a superior goal difference means that one win from matches against Ipswich Town and Stoke City should be enough for them to also return to the Premier League, for the first time since 2006/07.

Leeds United have thrown away what appeared to be certain promotion, with three defeats in their last five matches against teams towards the lower end of the table. The only way they secure automatic promotion now is if they win both their remaining matches and hope that Sheffield United fail to win in both of theirs. It’s a big ask and the play-offs look to be Leeds’ best chance of promotion now.

Guaranteed Play Off Places

Both West Bromwich Albion, 77 points, and Aston Villa, 75, are guaranteed a place in the top six. Which means it could be interesting to see how they both line-up in their remaining matches. With one eye on the play offs, both teams could rest key players and ensure they do not suffer any injuries or suspensions to derail their promotion bid.

Heading into the play offs, Villa are most definitely the form team. They have won their last ten league matches and are priced at just 15/8 with Betfair to win promotion.

Final Play Off Place

There are mathematically five teams still challenging for the final play off place.

Derby County currently hold the advantage, sitting in sixth place and with a game in hand on those in seventh. However, they have won just five of fifteen games against teams in the top ten this season and face a tough run-in with games against Bristol City, Swansea City, and West Brom.

Middlesbrough are waiting to pounce if Derby do slip up and they have matches against two teams battling relegation, Reading and Rotherham. Defeat at Nottingham Forest at the weekend will not do much for morale but two wins from their remaining two matches could see them leapfrog Derby if results go their way.

The dark horse in the race for sixth place is Bristol City.They have struggled for form recently, with just one win in five, but they could put themselves in a great position if they pick up a win over Derby at the weekend. Games against Millwall and Hull will follow and they will be confident of securing maximum points from those. If they do pick up nine points from their remaining three matches, they will ruin the party for both Derby and Middlesbrough.

Mathematically, Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea City can still earn a play off place but it would require a bizarre set of results for the rest of the season for either of those to crash the party.

Betting Odds

Betfair have Derby as the slight favourites to finish in the top six, at odds of 6/5, with Bristol City next in line at 21/10. Middlesbrough are 13/5 and Swansea City are a huge 22/1 to leapfrog their rivals.

In terms of getting promoted, the bookmakers think the automatic promotion chase is over with Sheffield United priced at 1/33 to go up. Leeds are 13/8, Villa are 15/8. and West Brom are 3/1. Other than that, it’s 8/1 on Derby, 14/1 for Bristol City, and 20/1 for Middlesbrough.

Leave a Reply