We’re at the business end of the football season, and one league that is always exciting to watch with so much on the line, is England’s second tier.
The quality in the Championship is getting better and better because the Premier League is getting better, and there are players that would in the past have been Premier League stars fr their clubs, now fighting for promotion to the Premier League. Players like Mitrovic at Fulham, who has broken the record for most goals scored in a Championship season with 32 goals, and he achieved the record with 14 games left. He is one example of many that shows there is quality in this league that could easily be featuring in the Premier league every week.
Mitrovic’s goals have fired Fulham to the top of the table, and they have a big gap between themselves and the playoff places, so we would expect to see Fulham back in the Premier League next season. Behind them is Bournemouth who also look like they might be returning to the top flight unless they have a really poor finish to the season.
But the main excitement is around the playoffs. The playoff final is always a tense game with the winner knowing they will have the limelight and the finances the following season, as they rub shoulders with the giants of football like Liverpool, Chelsea, Man United ad Man City. When the playoffs start it doesn’t matter who has the most points or the best goal difference, it comes down to those two legs in the semi-finals and then that final 90 minutes in the final to decide who goes up.
Huddersfield lead the playoff pack currently, and they will be hoping to repeat their performances from 2017, where they earned promotion via the playoffs as underdogs. Nottingham Forest are behind them with two games in hand and a five-game winning streak, so we would expect Forest should finish in the playoffs and might even catch Bournemouth for an automatic promotion spot if results go their way.
Nottingham Forest are a big club with European success, winning the European Cup two years in a row in the late 1970s. But they’ve not been in the Premier League since 1999, so the fans have been waiting a long time for some top-flight action. They’ll be hoping this is their year for a return.
Sheffield United, Blackburn and Middlesbrough are three clubs fighting for the playoffs too, and these are all teams that have had good spells in the Premier League in the not so distant past. Blackburn famously won the Premier League in 1995 with Alan Shearer scoring 34 goals, but since their relegation from the Premier League in 2012 they’ve not been back in 10 years.
Millwall and Luton are two more teams still in the race, and it would be a huge achievement and shock if either of these two clubs could pull off a playoff victory, but as has football repeatedly shows us, sometimes you have to expect the unexpected.
Whatever happens, hopefully we’ll be in for an exciting conclusion to the Championship season. #mmlove