As we head into the last weekend of the 2017/2018 Premier League season, all the talk is about which other PL side will join Stoke City and West Brom in relegating to the English Championship. At least that’s what buzzing in this part of the world.
In other parts, the race is on for the teams who will be replacing these relegated sides. With Wolves (English Championship champions) and Cardiff City gaining automatic promotion back to the Premier League next season, there’s only space for one more club to be promoted.
This third spot is decided by a mini knockout tournament (some call it a playoff) between the teams that finished third through sixth in England’s second tier, SkyBet Championship: Fulham, Aston Villa, Middlesbrough and Derby County.
Starting from Friday through to Tuesday, the semi-final games will be played. Derby County start things off against Fulham in the 1st leg of their clash while Middlesbrough welcome Aston Vila in the second semi-final game.
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Let’s take a look at each of the four clubs and see how they take shape going into this play-off:
With names like John Terry, Jonathan Kodija and experienced manager Steve Bruce in their ranks, you won’t find a more experienced side in the Championship play-offs this season.
Although this is a side that’s not used to being in the play-offs, promotion to the big league depends heavily on their success in it. And they will be banking on names like Lewis Grabban, who finished second highest goal-scorer in the league, to fire them past Middlesbrough.
With Aston Villa set to play the 1st leg of their play-off game away from home, do you think they can win this one?
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If you call them the “usual suspects,” you won’t be far from the point. This play-off appearance will be the third one in five seasons for the Championship side.
Asides making play-off appearances, they also love scoring goals. Their 70 goals scored in the regular season made them the joint fourth highest scoring side in the competition (only Wolves, Fulham and Aston Villa scored more).
Is this enough to help them gain promotion? Do you think they will outscore Fulham?
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What else can be said of a team that produced Ryan Sessegnon, the 17-year old who was named the Championship Player of the Season and became the first player outside the Premier League to be nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year.
Fulham finished the regular season with 88 points, just 2 points behind Cardiff City no thanks to losing 3-1 to Birmingham City on the last day of the league.
Do you think both teams will score in this game?
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After suffering relegation from the PL last season, they’re back to stake their claim and play in the most watched league in the world.
They’ve got a manager in Tony Pulis who has plenty of Premier League experience. Former Championship Player of the Year, Patrick Bamford is a Boro player. Adama Traore, one of the fastest football players on earth, is also a member of this squad.
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Which of these four teams would you like to see in the Premier League next season? Leave us a comment share your thoughts with us.