There’s 15 points left up for grabs in what is claimed to be the most financially important league competition in the world. Over £100 million pound is on the line for teams that are competing for the 4 play-off spots in The Championship this year. Leeds and West Bromwich Albion lead the way at the top of The Championship table respectively with only one point separating them. Both of them look certain to occupy those two spots at the end of the season unless their form takes a turn for the worst and Brentford keep picking up points. Who is most likely to secure the four promotion spots and get on the ladder for Premier League football come the 22nd of July?
Brentford have all but mathematically secured their position in the play-offs this season. Since returning for the second part of the season they’ve managed to wonderfully secure 5 wins on the bounce beating promotion hopefuls Fulham and West Brom along the way. If anything, they’ll have their eyes on the automatic promotion spots in hope that West Brom and Leeds slip up in the final fixtures. Bookies have not given Brentford odds of securing a top six position – that’s how confident they are that it is a given.
Fulham are another team to find themselves in a favourable position. Sitting in 4th with 70 points they’d have to lose at least 3 of the next 5 games to fall out of the top six. Fulham practically have one hand on that preliminary ticket back to the Premier League. They didn’t enjoy a great start back to life in The Championship as they lost 2 of their first 5 games back – losing to Brentford and Leeds United. However, they’ve managed to find their feet again by accumulating 7 points in their last 3 games. At 1/200, you can definitely count on finding Fulham in the play-offs.
It’s going to take a complete disaster to see Nottingham Forest fall out of the top six. They haven’t been at their best since the return but 7 points out of a possible 15 is enough to show that they have no intention of moving out of the play-off spots. However, they have some tricky fixtures coming up with Fulham, Preston and Swansea yet to play. With Bet365 placing them at 1/33 to clinch a top six spot, you can be assured barring any slips up, they’ll be there.
Cardiff currently find themselves 6th, in the last play-off position. With an almost perfect form record since returning to action (4 wins, 1 draw) they’re showing that they’re serious contenders and won’t be budged easily. On the way, they’ve beat league leaders Leeds United and promotion candidates Preston North End. I’d put my money on Cardiff to secure a play-off spot, but the odds offered by bookies won’t make you much money. Bet365 puts plenty of confidence in Cardiff at 2/5.
Derby have also found their way back into promotion contention with scintillating form since the return. Like Cardiff, they have also won 4 games and drawn one, leaving them 3 points off a top six place. Their draw came against Nottingham Forest, who they will be hoping slip up if they have a chance of returning to the Premier League. Derby have a tricky run of fixtures coming up with games against top six teams such as West Brom, Brentford, Cardiff City and Leeds United. They’ll need come away from these games largely unscathed to nab a promotion place which is why Bet365 puts them at 8/1 to do so.
Swansea find themselves only 4 points off Cardiff City in 8th place. Their results so far have been good enough to keep them in contention but with decent competition around them, they will also need a lot of luck to secure that promotion place. They have an easier set of fixtures coming up compared to Derby County which perhaps puts them on level-pegging terms. Bet365 also puts Swansea City at 8/1 to grab a promotion spot.
Millwall find themselves in 9th place and 5 points adrift of promotion places. They do however, have a relatively easy set of fixtures coming up compared to Swansea City and Derby County. It will take a perfect run of results to see Millwall find their way into the promotion places. Bet365 puts them at 5/1 – surprisingly higher than Swansea and Derby. Preston North End are all but out of the promotion race this year as they sit in 10th place and 6 points adrift of a play-off spot. Since returning, they’ve failed to register a single win with 2 points out of a possible 15. Bet365 sees them as having only the slimmest of chance at turning it around with odds of 28/1.
As ever, The Championship provides pure football entertainment with so much up for grabs coming to the final weeks of the league campaign. Although the top two places may seem secure, there is still the play-off positions to be decided. Over the years, we’ve seen plenty of final day upsets and there’s no doubt that there’s still a few twists and turn coming our way. Who do you put your money on to secure their ticket to a Premier League promotion?
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