FA Premier League Predictions

So the Premier League kick is getting closer and this season I will be providing weekly predictions for the 2017/18. The new season is certainly going to be an interesting one especially with the transfer window still open until the end of August. With players being bought and sold during the summer, it will be interesting to see how things move along the coming weeks.

It will be entertaining to see how my predictions turn out each week, but you can only predict what’s ahead. The Premier League season kicks off on Friday night at the Emirates where Arsenal entertain Leicester City, Watford host Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime, whilst newly promoted Brighton host Manchester City on the Saturday tea time. The Sunday fixtures see a visit to Newcastle United who host a  Tottenham side not only looking to go one step further this season by winning the league. The only down side is playing away from the Lane. The opening weekend is completed when West Ham travel to Manchester United. West Ham travel to Old Trafford with the likes of Joe Hart and former Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez.

Week One

  1. Arsenal      3-1 Leicester City
  2. Watford     0-3 Liverpool
  3. Chelsea      2-1 Burnley
  4. C.Palace     1-1 Huddersfield Town
  5. Everton      2-2 Stoke City
  6. Soton          3-1 Swansea City
  7. WBA           1-1 AFC Bournemouth
  8. Brighton    0-4 Manchester City
  9. Newcastle 1-2 Tottenham
  10. Man Utd    2-2 West Ham United.

Im sure there will be differing opinions and thoughts on the opening weekend but be free to share your predictions. Come Tuesday will I be wishing I had put money on or be looking like the least likeliest person to do your lottery numbers.

 

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Premier League -Week Nine

Another week in the Premier League is done and things are looking very close indeed so far. A single point separates teams from 1st to fifth and five more between leaders Man City and Everton. Not for a while have we seen teams so close after nine games.

Spurs went to Bournemouth looking to win and put themselves top after the lunch time kickoff, but they were held to a goalless draw by a home side looking difficult to beat at the Vitality stadium. Both sides had chances as well as testing the opposing goalkeepers. Lloris had to lively as he did well to keep out Charlie Daniels opportunity. Spurs themselve were unlucky not to break the deadlock as they tried and tried. Spurs  were also considered fortunate to not end up finishing with ten men after Sissoko’s elbow to Harry Arter’s face was missed by the referee.

As the game ended, Spurs would now hope that teams around them would drop points so they wouldnt drop away.

Arsenal found themselves cursing the inability to break through a difficult Middlesbrough who claimed a rare clean sheet in London. I guess Arsenal fans may have gone into the game with a healthy confidence following their European escapades, but it seemed a typical opposite.  They seem to barely test Victor Valdes in the Boro goal, but the home fans could be grateful for an alert Petr Cech. His saves kept the game level and a slightly better birthday for Arsene Wenger had they lost. Thanks to Cech, the only thing lost was a six game winning streak.

Everton found to their cost that having all the possession doesn’t bring the points if you dont convert the chances. They looked like securing a point at Turf Moor but with only eight shots out of twenty on target, it wasnt too be as Bolasie’s equaliser was too be for nothing as Scott Arfield bagged a 90th minute winner. It was the home sides third win of the season and second over Merseyside opposition.

When Liverpool kicked off on the Saturday tea time, they looked to get three points and secure top spot by scoring two goals or more goals against West Brom. The Baggies were never going to a rollover having previously come close to ending Tottenham’s unbeaten run. For the home side, the reds were graced with Coutinho,Firminho and Mane in the mix. It was a Firminho with a sweet cross that saw Mane on the end of it to give the Reds a deserved lead. The home side then went 2-0 up ten minutes before half time when Brazilian wonderkid Coutinho netted home. This scoreline would have sent Liverpool top, but a poorly defended corner allowed McAuley to pull one back. Visions of last seasons 2-2 draw may have caught the minds of Liverpool fans, but they were able to breathe a sigh of relief as the Reds held out to win 2-1 and take their unbeaten run to nine games.

Having taken a point at Anfield, Mourinho was now taking his first visit to Stamford Bridge since his time with Inter Milan. A victory for either side would keep them within touch of the top four. A big enough win for Chelsea could see them overtake Spurs, whilst a victory for Mourinho’s men would see them leapfrog Chelsea and move to within three points of City, Arsenal and Liverpool. A good start was needed by either side and it was the hosts who struck first. Defensive errors allowed Pedro to get through the back line and send the ball home. The game would get no better for United as a poorly cleared set piece saw Gary Cahill strike home.

Chelsea did ride some luck when a high tackle by David Luiz was only met with a yellow card. With them being 2-0 up it may have not affected the overall result, but it may have kept a lower scoreline. Arsenal fans watching the game may have felt a tad peeved at the card considering Granit Xhaka was given his marching orders against Swansea City for a lesser offence. Alas for United there were still goals to come. Eden Hazard struck from fifteen yards and Kante finished the rout eight minutes later. Having started so brightly, it is puzzling to see how United have had a little wobble.

At the other end of the table it’s looking bleak for Sunderland. A measly two points from twenty seven is not what any Mackem wants to see and especially not David Moyes.  I wonder if he regrets ever leaving Everton for Manchester United. The North West club who find themselves one point worse off than this time last season, travelled to West Ham who themselves also had a poor start to the season. It looked like it would finish with teams taking a point each, but a winner deep into second half stoppage time condemned the visitors to another defeat. They escaped last season but sadly for them it appears that time has run out.

It doesnt fair any better for Swansea who are one place above. The opening day win seems a distant memory and relegation looks certain to rear its ugly head for the Welsh club. Five points behind on what they were last season where they recovered to finish 12th doesnt look like happening any time soon. Close results against Liverpool and Arsenal could show promise but they may have a chance to take a step forward on Monday night when they play Stoke City. If they dont take a chance then it will definitely be good night Swansea.

Premier moments – The Premier League so far

So after six Premier League games, the season has taken an interesting direction. I’m sure you wont be surprised that Manchester City are top of the table, but despite their defeat to West Ham that saw them lose their 100% unbeaten record . Their city rivals, Manchester United, might be second but having spent all that cash, you would expect them to be up there.

What you probably didn’t expect after 6 games is West Ham not only having beaten Liverpool at Anfield and Manchester City at the Etihad, but to be third in the table joint top scorers with Leicester City. When the club appointed Claudio Ranieri, many fans looked bemused, possibly mocked and had a good laugh. Those very fans are probably no longer having a good chuckle as they are the only unbeaten team in the Premier League. Of all the twenty clubs in the top division, I bet no one had thought that the team that escaped relegation last season would be sat fourth in the table.

Newly promoted Watford find themselves currently in tenth place. No mean feat. A total of nine from eighteen is not bad considering they probably weren’t given much hope going into the season. Whilst they have only shipped five goals, their downfall may come in the fact that they have only bagged five in the league. Saying that, the record is the same as Arsenal.

After Mourinho’s gradual rise following his return to Chelsea, he now finds himself in that difficult third season that seems to hamper him wherever he goes. The defending champions have had a start to forget and have a total of seven points from a possible eighteen. Three defeats after six games does not bode well for the Blues. They only lost three times in the league last season. Just to add to Mourinho’s woes is the absence of Courtois in goal and Begovic as his replacement. For those who have enjoyed seeing the London club struggle, there has never been a better time. Even more so when they could be without Costa for a few games following his retrospective charge of violent conduct.

Arsenal fans may have the enjoyment of seeing their team above their London rivals Tottenham and Chelsea, but having not delved deep into the transfer market during the off season. many Gooners may be wondering how their season will pan out. Whilst their defence may be tight, their attack has only produced a total of five goals. I’m sure the fans would have loved to have seen a striker come in to help their goals for column look a bit more healthier.

Liverpool, having made another Summer collection of transfer signings, have started slowly and painfully. A disappointing home draw was not what fans had been wanting after suffering back to back defeats where they conceded three goals in each. The return of Daniel Sturridge has given Rodgers some hope. but it is also the defence that is giving him nightmares. In what should have been at least a 1-0 win, Simon Mignolet seemed to return to the form before he was dropped. A poor punch clearance was gratefully received and converted into an equaliser. What happens to Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers will be interesting. Rodgers must surely be on borrowed time.

It seems some things never change. Newcastle, Sunderland and Villa who survived the relegation battle last season, look like they might very well be contesting it this season. Neither Newcastle or Sunderland have yet to win and find themselves both on two points and separated only by goal difference. Aston Villa fair little better as they have managed four points from their eight games. For fans of the north east clubs, it looks certain to be a long hard season and if things don’t get better, they could very well be finding themselves visiting the likes of Blackburn or Charlton in the Championship

AFC Bournemouth’s Premier League debut season seems to be slowing down. Having made a positive start performance wise, they have notched up seven points from their six games including an unlucky defeat at Anfield. I’m sure most Cherries fans will be glad just to see them survive in the Premier League.

Stoke City, who had made several signings of players from Barcelona had been given the nickname Stokealona. Unfortunately for Stoke fans thats the closest they are going to get. Four points and no win sees the Midlands club completing the relegation zone line up. Having finished high up the table last season anything less come next May and it will be much a disappointment.

Premier League Preview – Part One

Well here we are Saturday 8th August and the football lovers around the country see the return of league football in England, although the Championship opened up with Brighton v Nottingham Forest yesterday evening. Noticeably, the 2015-16 season starts a little earlier in August. and this is to enable the domestic season to be completed with a gap to the European Championship finals in France next Summer ( is that a sigh from the partners who done like football?)

The Premier League season looks certain to be exciting with various teams having made various changes over the last few weeks. Will the likes of Norwich, Watford and Premier League debut boys Bournemouth cause and upset the odds, will Chelsea retain the title or can Arsenal bring the title home. Can Manchester United push forward from their fourth place last season. Can Manchester City jump back. Will Liverpool’s new signings turn out better and see the Reds push forward in a future without Steven Gerrard. Can Tottenham finally break into the top four and stay there. Can Crystal Palace push further up the table.

Current Champions Chelsea will look to successfully defend their title being the first club to successfully defend the title since Manchester United retained the title in 2008. A fairly quiet summer for Jose Mourinho in the transfer market in regards to players coming in. The West London club signed Asimir Begovic, Nathan and probably what will be a big gamble, signing Radamel Falcao on loan. Chelsea fans either took in great gulps at the prospect of a struggling striker or were rubbing their hands at the opportunity of seeing the player finally come good.

Several players left the Bridge, notably Petr Cech who moved north to Arsenal and Didier Drogba who bid farewell to the Premier League once more, this time to sign for Montreal Impact, Filip Luis’ short stay in the Premier League came to an end as he joined Atletico Madrid.

The Blues will naturally start as favourites after their dominant season and will hope to continue to rule the roost once more over the coming nine months. I think though that the quest for Champions League glory, may overtake their quest for defending the title and see them miss out on successfully retaining the title.

Staying in London, its Arsenal next. There is much enthusiasm and positivity around the Emirates, it seems to stem from the signing of Petr Cech. Whilst he may have struggled to keep Courtois out the first team at the Bridge, the Czech goalkeeper can bring a certain consistency and confidence at the back. With Arsenal known for their form not kicking in till the latter half of the season, with the addition of a player with such a presence (there may still be others to come in) it will not only give fans hope and players confidence at the back. With various players signing new deals, they will though be hoping that the one backroom team less required this season will be the medical staff and physio. A full fit Arsenal side that Wenger can consistently rely up on will give much belief to the Gooners, who would love to add the Premier League title to the recent FA Cup victories.

I think Arsenal will kick off the season and start early and generally maintain their form and win the Premier League, although it will be tight.

Manchester City will look to forget about the disappointing surrender of their title defence and be hot on the heels of Chelsea and dealing with the threat of Arsenal and derby rivals Manchester United. They certainly made their intentions known with the signing of Raheem Sterling from Liverpool, for a fee that could rise to £49 million. Questions were asked about the fee involved. Liverpool fans probably relieved to see the back of the youngster who had not exactly excelled himself in the weeks leading up to his departure. Many including Liverpool fans were thinking that he wasnt worth the big money, especially for someone so young, but when you have a player who doesnt want to stay and a club willing to offer big money for him. Any club would be foolish to say no. There were plenty of comings and goings at the Etihad over the early part of the transfer window and I imagine that there will be plenty more to come before the window shuts once again.

The big question though is whether the club can bounce back. Depending on what happens between now and the end of August, it will take a great effort to overhaul Chelsea or Arsenal. Third place I reckon.

Manchester United will be hoping their summer signings. Having spent just over £83 million, Van Gaal will be hoping that his side can get back into the swing of things. Several players have arrived at the Theatre of Dreams, mostly of an midfield and forward nature. There were many questions asked about the Manchester United defensive frailties at times and despite the signing of Darmian and a goalkeeper, it seems doubtful whether those issues at the back will be fixed. With the ongoing saga involving the future of David De Gea, this is not likely to go away anytime soon. Saying that though, the attacking options are a little on the thin side what with the departure of Robin Van Persie to Turkey and the disappointing Radamel Falcao’s loan ending. Chiqarito maybe back, but with James Wilson shipped out on loan, an injury to Rooney could throw a spanner in the works for United’s attacking options. I would imagine though that before the deadline arrives, another striker will find himself donning the red devils shirt.

This season squad depth may come back to haunt United and with a place back in Europe, they may struggle to repeat the fourth place of last season. I see them finish fifth.

Wrapping up this first part with Liverpool. Last season was one to forget for the clubs fans. Injuries, disappointment, humilation, squad depth issues, the Gerrard contract debacle. This season it’s all change. Rodgers who is very much on borrowed time, strengthened his attacking option with Christian Benteke, Danny Ings and Brazilian youngster Roberto Firminho. The attacking element was greatly necessary after the major decrease in goals scored. The Irishman having seen the departure of Glen Johnson has also brought in defensive options in the form of another player from Southampton. Nathaniel Clyne will give the side not only a good defensive option, but the ability to provide good attacking lines, something that Glen Johnson would often disappoint. There is some definite good news for Rodgers though and that is the return of Daniel Sturridge, who was injury hit for most of the season.

With several disappointments leaving the club over the summer, it will free up money for signings that can make decent headway. Looking at the players such as Benteke and Ings, with previously having not so strong support, it is very possible that they can improve on last season.

With fewer distractions and more goal opportunities, I think that Liverpool will put the disappointment of last season behind them and finish fourth. If things are looking bleak by Christmas, I imagine Rodgers maybe looking towards the end of his time at Liverpool.

Football Fixtures Release Day – How was it for your team? – Premier League

At 9am the English league football fixtures were released allowing fans to get excited or to release a collective sigh. Fans of newly promoted AFC Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich City all waited with excitement to see how their respective sides would be welcomed into top flight football. Watford and Norwich City fans had already experienced the wait for the Premier League fixtures, but for AFC Bournemouth this was the first time. Like a small club waiting for a giantkilling in the FA Cup, fans would wonder who they might host or where they might head to.

Fans of the Cherries found that they would play host on the opening day of the season to FA Cup runners up Aston Villa. Watford travel to Everton and Norwich City play at home to Crystal Palace. For Bournemouth their trickiest tie in the opening few games, is a trip to Anfield. They then don’t play another of the big guns till 17th October when they travel to Manchester City. For Watford, their trip to the title challengers Man City, comes a little earlier in August.Norwich follow up their Palace opener with games against Sunderland, Stoke and Sunderland.

So what beckons for our new boys over the Christmas period, where the games can sometimes have a little glimpse of the outcomes of clubs end of season hopes. For Bournemouth Christmas doesn’t seem too bad, on Boxing Day, they host Crystal Palace, two days later a trip to London and a visit to the Emirates, whilst the new year opens up with a trip to Leicester City. For Norwich City, they travel to London and a visit to Tottenham on Boxing Day, a visit to the Midlands on the 28th and kick off the new year with hosting the Saints on the second.

How does the run in look for our newly promoted teams? Will they be battling for Premier League survival, will they be securing mid table or could they even pull off a top ten spot, who knows. What we do know is that the fixtures in April and May will be crucial to their destiny. For Norwich City, April could be a bad month to play in. Home games against Newcastle,Sunderland and Watford, are combined with  two visits to London including Selhurst Park and the Emirates. City fans might need to start praying for miracles in May. With the season brough forward, it means the season finishes two weeks into May. Unfortunately for Norwich they face Man Utd and Everton. Saying that though, we all know what kind of inconsistent form Utd and Everton can have.

The fixtures computer doesnt appear to have given much help to AFC Bournemouth for their run in. For a club that could be fighting for its Premier League survival, they host Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool with trips to Villa and Everton. May holds no help as they host West Brom before a final day game at Old Trafford. The computer doesn’t seem to helpful to Watford either. Four of the last seven games are trips away from home including visits to the Emirates and Anfield along with other promoted side Norwich. If any of these newly promoted sides are going to survive, they best hope for extremely good starts to the season.

What about the Chelsea, the defending champions will be looking to retain the title, but they are going to have a not so easy start. After a home time against Swansea City, the blues find themselves on the road for two weeks running with trips to the Etihad and to the Hawthorns. The September sandwich sees the Blues as the hosts in a meaty tie against rivals Arsenal. Either side of the all London game are visits to Everton and Newcastle.

Christmas and New Year period sees a post Boxing Day clash away to Man United. The victors of this match will feel like they have got an extra Christmas present. Their run in to possibly defending their title wont be easy although May might just prove handy with Leicester and Sunderland, their final two opponents.

Liverpool fans as well as Brendan Rodgers will not be looking too closely at the away fixtures in a hurry. The reds travel to Stoke City in a repeat fixture of the final game of the season. The following away fixtures see Man Utd, Everton, Tottenham, Chelsea and Man City. Im just glad there are home games mixed as it would be enough to send many red over the edge. I cant imagine Brendan Rodgers will be enjoy the first few months unless the squad is majorly strengthened. The Christmas period seems to be kind to Liverpool and with the seemingly traditional mid Christmas clash with Newcastle gone, it is replaced with a trip to their neighbours Sunderland. Boxing Day sees a home time against Leicester City and the new year sees Liverpool travel to Upton Park. The end of season run in where ever Liverpool may be challenging, sees more home games which could help the Merseysiders. Tottenham Stoke, Newcastle and Watford all have to go to Anfield in the month of April and May. If Rodgers is to survive past Christmas then he knows that his time have no excuses with the run in.

FA Cup winners Arsenal will be hoping to end their Premier League title drought this year. The season sees Wenger’s men start with two games in London and two trips up north. West Ham are the visitors to Arsenal whilst the Gunners visit the south east and Crystal Palace. Arsenal host Liverpool then face a trip to the North East and Newcastle United. Mid September to mid October provides a stern test for the Arsenal consistency. Mid September sees Arsenal travelling to Chelsea and Leicester with Man Utd, Watford, Everton and Swansea completing the line up for October.

November and December is usually when we see Arsenal start to pick it up in the League. November opens up with the North London derby with Spurs visiting the Emirates and then Arsenal pay visits to West Brom and Norwich. The fixtures computer seemed to be full North London joy as Manchester City provide the only toughest test of the month. Should Arsenal be on the title hunt, they will be having a mostly Southern based April. Apart from Sunderland, the Gunners face ties at home to Watford Palace and Norwich with a visit to Upton Park thrown in. The penultimate game for Arsenal is a tricky trip to the Etihad and depending on all that has happened, it could very well have a hand in where the title goes.

Manchester United who find themselves back at a chance of Champions League glory, kick off their season with a visit from Tottenham. Van Gaal will be hoping that his team can have a repeat scoreline of last seasons Old Trafford tie when they beat Spurs 3-0. They will though be hoping to avoid a repeat of the start of last season which is one that the red half of Manchester would be keen to avoid. September and October will provide some stern tests for United. Ties against Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal and Everton may not be quite an easy ride. The Christmas period looks good for Manchester United although a boxing day trip to Stoke followed by a home game against Chelsea, might leave United feeling like the Christmas turkey. The should be no complaints from Louis Van Gaal for the final few fixtures. Games against Spurs and Everton are likely to be the toughtest. Saying that though a home tie against Leicester City might have the United fans having uncomfortable flashbacks.  The final two games for United are both the newly promoted Norwich and Championship winners Bournemouth. By then there might not be much to play for, but then again?

Race for the Premier League – Down to the wire

So the penultimate week saw make and break time for those looking to reach the Premier League. Watford in the early kick off did their bit with a 2-0 win on the south coast at Brighton. Middlesbrough had to travel to struggling Fulham. In theory it should have been three points to the northerners but it seemed they were doing their best to throw it away. Fulham went 2-0 up before Boro pulled one back. Joy was short lived as the promotion chasers promptly found themselved down to ten men. This led to a penalty and the home side 3-1 up. It looked all over. Two goals in the last twenty minutes brought them level. At 3-3, a point for Middlesbrough looked enough to deny Bournemouth the chance to seal promotion. With little time remaining the visitors goalkeeper went up for a corner and a gamble that completely failed. Fulham cleared the ball and netted a win. Middlesbrough fans must have been pulling their hair out at the clubs inability to stay in the game. It confirmed though Watford’s automatic promotion to the Premier League.

On the Monday night Bournemouth had the task of hosting Bolton. The visitors had nothing really to play for, they were safe from relegation and it was mostly pride. The first half looked like heading to a goalless conclusion. Two goals in six minutes just before half time turned the game. Goals from Pugh and Ritchie sent the home fans into jubilation. They had one hand on Premier League promotion. When the third goal went in, the home fans were in raptures. With the Cherries far superior goal difference, it would mean Charlton having to win 19-0…..That is certainly not going to happen.

The title race wasnt the only thing that was still all to play for. There was the small matter of the Play off spot chase. With Middlesbrough and Norwich securing two of the play off spots, it was down to four teams battling out for the remaining two spots. Ipswich Town, Derby County, Brentford and Wolves all hoping to get the chance of a Wembley win and the third promotion spot. Ipswich Town were home to Nottingham Forest, Derby travelled to relegation threatened Millwall, Brentford travelled to Reading and Wolves also were away to a relegation threatened side in the form of Wigan.

Ipswich scored a 2-1 win with a goal in the last ten minutes to edge closer to play off security. Derby County found themselves facing a battle against relegation threatened Millwall. The Londoners playing for their Championship place found themselves pushing themselves to a 2-0 lead. Derby County reduced the deficit to 2-1 at half time, but not long into the second half, the lead was extended. Millwall fans seemed hopeful of Championship survival. Derby were in trouble it would seem a 70th minute penalty pulled it back to 3-2 but it was still looking bleak. It was game on again for Derby as they levelled with 5 minutes to go.

Brentford scored a 2-0 victory to keep the hopes of a play off place alive into the final game. A goal in each half was enough to give the London club a slim chance of a shot at Wembley. Wolves looking to make a return to the Premier League had what could have been a banana skin trip to Wigan. It took a single goal but it was enough to keep them in touch.

Notable observation is goal difference. Derby County hold the sway with a plus 32 goal difference which could equate to an extra point. In theory County only require a point at home to Reading, but the fans and the club will want to finish off the season at home with all three points. Ipswich travel to Blackburn knowing they too only require a point to take a playoff place. They will need to aim for three points as their goal difference is only three more than Brentford and seven more than Wolves. Brentford will be hoping to avoid a repeat of the game at Brentford which was a goalless draw. This would end their playoff hopes.

Whatever happens it’s going to be an interesting finish to the Championship.

Battle to the Premier League – Championship run in

With Premier League trophy looking likely to head to London in May, less can be said about where the Championship trophy will end up. Bournemouth, Watford, Norwich City and Middlesbrough separated by just two points and with the top four all guaranteed at least a playoff place, it is just the matter of who will finish where. Extraordinarily though the final run in only sees two of the top four battle it out. Friday 17th April sees Norwich City host Middlesbrough in a game where the winner will find themselves top of the league albeit only till Saturday tea time.

Whilst Norwich who recently lost to Wigan in what seems to be a rare defeat, the same could not be said for Middlesbrough whose early season pasting of the Canaries, seems to be a long way a way. They will hope to avoid another defeat to their rivals having already lost to Bournemouth and Watford in the last ten games. Middlesbrough though despite having conceded ten in the last eleven games, still have the tightest defence in the top four but it is the scoring of goals that is the north east club’s problem. They have only bagged 64 goals compared to the likes of Watford, Norwich and Bournemouth, who are 80 plus in the scoring column.

Whilst there are few games that involve the relegation battlers, the other clubs that the top four face will still all be playing for pride, so it is going to be a tricky one to call. I believe though that one of the automatic promotion places will go to Bournemouth with their first visit to the top flight. It will certainly be a turnaround for the club who narrowly avoided relegation from the football league in 2009.

With two play off spots already guaranteed, another mini battle takes place. Derby County, Ipswich, Wolves and Brentford separated by four points, face a battle for two play off spots. Derby and Ipswich are currently in the driving seat with three games to go. In reality Derby County should have really been challenging for automatic promotion and even the title, but a run of seven games without a win including four defeats has consigned them to the playoff route hope.

Ipswich Town face a trip to playoff rivals Wolves. For the Suffolk side they are in the position that means a win or draw keeps their playoff hopes in their control. A draw might also consign Wolves to another season of Championship football. A win for Wolves and its very much game on as Wolves will move level with Ipswich.

Brentford face  a somewhat easier run in as they will play Blackburn Bolton and Wigan, but of course in football there are no easy games, especially when you have something to play for, but whilst fans of clubs involved will be twitchy, for the neutrals it will be an interesting run in and possibly one of the closest for a few seasons.