What has been an exceptionally long season is about to come to an end. Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United have been crowned champions of the English Championship and Hull City relegated.
For these two teams, and the 22 others in the league, there’s still plenty to play for. And typical of the final day in top-flight football leagues across Europe, there’ll be drama.
There are still two relegation spots to be filled – spots every team placed 19th to 23rd is avoiding like a plague. The teams involved?
Middlesbrough and Birmingham, both on 50 points, are four points above Barnsley. However, they’re just two points above two other teams, Charlton and Luton. Now, these two other teams, still not sure of staying up, have Barnsley hot on their heels.
Should Birmingham and Middlesbrough fail to win their games, Charlton and Luton could jump above them on the log with wins. And should that happen, one of them will be sure to relegate.
Only four teams have won away from home in the last 24 Championship games.
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Luton have proven why relegation-threatened sides are the worst to play against. They have only recorded one post-restart loss. They need nothing short of a win when they take on Blackburn. It’s a tougher task for Charlton though, as they have to face league champions, Leeds United.
When Birmingham take on Derby, it will be a game between two sides that have not won in their last 10 combined. As for Middlesbrough, another post-restart away win against Sheffield Wednesday will ensure Championship safety.
At the top of the table, the drama is different but pretty straightforward.
Brentford, in Round 45, failed to usurp West Brom in second place (a Premier League automatic promotion spot) when they failed to defeat Stoke City. It was their first loss in 10 games. They have a shot at redemption – and a chance to avoid the play-offs – by Barnsley.
However, West Brom have to drop points (again) when they welcome QPR.
Fulham, in fourth, with 80 points, have the second-best form in the last five Championship games. They are yet to lose a post-restart Championship game. That’s why they’re fourth… and can finish the season in second if they can defeat Wigan away from home and the two teams above them lose.
In fifth and sixth lie Nottingham and Cardiff respectively. Both on 70 points, they need to win against Stoke and Hull to keep Swansea at bay. The Swans will be hoping their fine form (a run of three wins in the last five) against Reading continues as they continue their push for a play-off place.
All is now set for the final day drama, and also for the Championship top scorers to increase their tally. How do you think these games will go? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.