Race for the Premier League: Who will be promoted with Norwich? Brentford, Watford, Swansea lead chase

Yearly, with out fail, the race for promotion to the Premier League is packed filled with drama and pleasure – and this season isn’t any completely different.

Right here, we check out the runners and riders within the battle to hitch Norwich in sealing a spot within the prime flight…

Present Championship desk

Promoted Norwich eyeing the title

Norwich celebrated automated promotion regardless of a 3-1 defeat to Bournemouth on Saturday evening

Norwich have already grow to be the primary crew to guide their place in subsequent season’s Premier League. Yet one more win will seal the title now, and so they can obtain that by beating Watford on Tuesday evening.

With 4 of their final six Championship campaigns having resulted in promotion, it’s protected to say that Norwich know how one can discover their method out.

Tuesday twentieth April 5:30pm

Kick off 6:00pm

Two years in the past, with the tip of Premier League parachute funds looming, Daniel Farke guided the Canaries to the title regardless of a rocky begin – and it’s trying seemingly that historical past will repeat itself.

Norwich’s remaining fixtures

Opponent Date
Watford (H) April 20
QPR (A) April 24
Studying (H) Could 1
Barnsley (A) Could 8

Sky Sports activities’ Don Goodman on the Sky Sports activities EFL Podcast:

“I feel this crew is even higher [than 2018/19] and I feel that is all due to the mannequin they’ve on the membership and the medium to long-term plans that they lay down, refusing to get drawn right into a short-term outlook as soon as they good relegated with what was a really low factors whole within the Premier League. They’re to be congratulated for that and simply the best way that they’ve gone about it and the actual fact they aren’t ashamed to confess that their goal is to be a prime 26 membership.

“They develop younger gamers, their recruitment coverage is outstanding, they’ve been led fantastically effectively by Stuart Webber and so they have stayed affected person with the coach. They’re, by far and away, essentially the most constant crew within the Championship this season and the one time I’ve criticised them during the last three or 4 years has been as a result of backing – or lack of – after they reached the Premier League. I imagine they are going to have realized from that and so they deserve all of the plaudits coming their method.”

Watford on the right track for instant PL return

Xisco Munoz has won 15 of his 22 games in charge of Watford so far
Xisco Munoz has received 15 of his 22 video games in command of Watford to this point

Watford have not often been out of the highest six for the reason that season began with Vladimir Ivic on the helm, however since he was changed by Xisco Munoz within the lead as much as Christmas, their season has taken on a complete new lease of life.

The cheerful Spaniard made a profitable begin on Boxing Day, when the Hornets beat Norwich 1-0 at Vicarage Street, and that has been a steady theme in Hertfordshire, with 15 of his 22 video games in cost to this point ending in victory, together with seven of the final 10.

Ismaila Sarr has scored 12 goals and provided 10 assists for the Hornets this season
Ismaila Sarr has scored 12 targets and offered 10 assists for the Hornets this season

Watford’s remaining fixtures

Opponent Date
Norwich (A) April 20
Millwall (H) April 24
Brentford (A) Could 1
Swansea (H) Could 8

An upturn in fortunes on the street has been key to retaining the membership within the race for promotion; beneath Ivic, the report learn: P10 W2 D5 L3, whereas beneath Munoz, it at present stands at P11 W5 D3 L3, with the three defeats coming towards Swansea, Bournemouth and Luton and settled by only a one-goal margin.

It was initially thought – and will nonetheless show to be the case – that the run-in that might show problematic for Munoz and Co, with video games towards Norwich, Brentford and Swansea developing inside the following three weeks. The aforementioned defeat to native rivals Luton, nonetheless, prevented Watford from distancing themselves from the chasing pack and heading into the 4 remaining video games, they have to keep in mind that nothing is for sure on this division.

Swansea coming again into competition

Having sneaked into the play-offs late on last season, Steve Cooper's Swansea have rarely been out of the top six this term
Having sneaked into the play-offs late on final season, Steve Cooper’s Swansea have not often been out of the highest six this time period

With defensive solidity paramount for Steve Cooper this season, Swansea – who sneaked into the play-offs on purpose distinction alone final season – have been one of many frontrunners to, at the very least, participate in the long run of season lottery on the conclusion of the present marketing campaign.

The Swans have floated out and in of the highest two, however have been there or thereabouts for the whole thing, aided by a exceptional haul of 17 clear sheets from the primary 30 video games. In February, some cracks began to indicate, most notably after a 4-1 humbling at Huddersfield and a 3-1 defeat towards Bristol Metropolis every week later.

Swansea’s remaining fixtures

Opponent Date
QPR (H) April 20
Studying (A) April 25
Derby (H) Could 1
Watford (A) Could 8

Cooper managed to regular the ship with three wins from the following 4, although the membership courted controversy after last-minute penalties noticed them previous Swansea and Middlesbrough, earlier than Andre Ayew’s spot-kick earned a degree towards Blackburn on March 9. However the Swans misplaced two video games both facet of the March worldwide break with out a lot as scoring a purpose, with many questioning in the event that they have been able to restoration.

Doubters have been answered in emphatic type on April 10, when two late targets from Jamal Lowe helped his facet to a 3-0 win at Millwall. The adopted that up with a 2-0 triumph towards Sheffield Wednesday, earlier than battling again to carry Wycombe to a 2-2 draw after the strugglers had taken a two-goal lead.

With 9 factors between themselves and the chasing pack, it’s more likely to be play-offs on the absolute worst and with 9 factors between themselves and second-placed Watford, the dream of becoming a member of Norwich within the Premier League stays a chance.

Jamal Lowe's two strikes sealed victory for Steve Cooper's men
Jamal Lowe has 4 targets in his final three video games for the Swans

Sky Sports activities’ Daniel Mann on the Sky Sports activities EFL Podcast:

“Andre Ayew is without doubt one of the most gifted gamers within the division and any crew goes to overlook him. Whether or not there is a chance to get him again earlier than the essential crunch video games on the finish of the season, clearly there’s large debate over that. That is going to be large for Swansea. They aren’t a prolific crew and so they have performed it differently in order that does put them slightly extra up towards it.

“However the character they confirmed in getting again a degree towards Wycombe does probably bode effectively for them and counsel they’re on the upswing once more, maybe.”

Can Brentford get again on observe?

Brentford manager Thomas Frank
Thomas Frank’s Brentford facet are eight factors exterior the automated promotion locations with 5 video games to play

Chasing promotion as soon as once more after dropping out to west London neighbours within the play-off ultimate final time period, Brentford put apart an detached begin to the season to determine themselves within the automated promotion image again in January.

A 3-1 win at Studying on February 10 made it 21 with out defeat for Thomas Frank’s males and even facilitated a short flirtation with prime spot, although Norwich quickly swooped in to guide the pack as soon as extra. Then they appeared to crack beneath strain, as had gave the impression to be the case after they jostled with West Brom within the closing weeks of 2019/20.

Brentford’s remaining fixtures

Opponent Date
Cardiff (H) April 20
Bournemouth (A) April 24
Rotherham (H) April 27
Watford (H) Could 1
Bristol Metropolis (A) Could 8

A 2-0 defeat to Barnsley ended their valiant streak on Valentine’s Day, with subsequent defeats to QPR and Coventry on the street throughout the subsequent six days. Influential left-back Rico Henry’s hamstring harm – from which he’s but to return – compounded a depressing afternoon within the latter.

Whereas they’ve solely misplaced as soon as since February 20, they’ve been unable to get going once more since, with a major variety of factors dropped all through the final month, owing to attracts towards Derby, Nottingham Forest, Huddersfield, Birmingham and Millwall.

A 5-0 thumping of Preston at Deepdale on April 10 offered a glimpse into the extent of efficiency the Bees are able to producing on their day however in the mean time, probabilities of reaching the highest two are out of their arms.

Bees striker Ivan Toney is 2 targets away from setting a brand new report for essentially the most targets scored in a Championship season

Sky Sports activities’ Daniel Mann on the Sky Sports activities EFL Podcast:

“The eye and psychology of being up there may be completely different to being a chaser, clearly. There are different elements at play and we won’t go with out mentioning – and also you surprise what impact this has had on them, by way of the psychological facet – the absence of gamers like Josh Dasilva and Rico Henry, which has been large as a result of they’re two of the perfect within the Championship of their respective positions.

“They’ve modified the system however that may generally not be a lot in regards to the tactical results. If you find yourself speaking about mentality and issues happening exterior, that may simply provide you with a distinct stimulus and the gamers have one thing else to consider within the build-up to a recreation. I discover it onerous to pay attention to speak of a ‘dropping’ mentality after they went 20-odd video games unbeaten in the course of the course of the season.”

Bournemouth on the rampage

Jonathan Woodgate was delighted with how his side carried out his plan
Jonathan Woodgate has guided Bournemouth again into the play-off locations since changing Jason Tindall in February

Till Christmas, Bournemouth have been proper within the combine for automated promotion and a direct return to the Premier League. After a Covid-enforced lay-off on Boxing Day, although, they dropped like a stone, resulting in the departure of Cherries legend Jason Tindall as supervisor on February 3.

Jonathan Woodgate, who had solely arrived on the membership as a coach days earlier, assumed management and rapidly arrested the droop, with 4 wins and two attracts from his first eight video games in cost – along with taking the membership to the FA Cup quarter-finals – although it wasn’t sufficient to forestall them dropping into seventh.

Arnaut Danjuma has played a key role in Bournemouth's return to play-off contention
Arnaut Danjuma has performed a key function in Bournemouth’s return to play-off competition

Bournemouth’s remaining fixtures

Opponent Date
Millwall (A) April 21
Brentford (H) April 24
Wycombe (A) Could 1
Stoke (H) Could 8

Such a run noticed him promoted from caretaker to supervisor inside 18 days and his work since has undoubtedly put him in pole place to take the reins on a everlasting foundation as soon as his contract runs out on the finish of the season.

The spotlight has been the six-game profitable streak his facet are at present within the midst of. Since March 16, Bournemouth have despatched Swansea, Middlesbrough, Blackburn, Coventry, Huddersfield and, most not too long ago, promoted Norwich, conceding simply 4 targets alongside the best way. In-form groups fare effectively within the play-offs and Bournemouth are definitely the crew to beat.

Barnsley’s admirable rise

Valerien Ismael's Barnsley have been in the top six since early March
Valerien Ismael’s Barnsley have been within the prime six since early March

It is nonetheless surreal to suppose what Barnsley – who survived by the pores and skin of their tooth final season and have been within the relegation zone as not too long ago as October, when Gerhard Struber departed for the New York Purple Bulls – have achieved to this point this time period.

Struber’s successor – Valerien Ismael – picked up 4 wins from his first 5 league video games and by the tip of December, the Tykes have been sat in eighth. The 12 months began with three straight defeats, bringing optimistic followers’ expectations down a notch, however the journey was solely simply starting.

Barnsley’s remaining fixtures

Opponent Date
Huddersfield (A) April 21
Rotherham (H) April 24
Preston (A) Could 1
Norwich (H) Could 8

Since January 27, they’ve been on a mesmerising upward trajectory from the relative consolation of mid-table to the cusp of the play-off locations, which they entered for the primary time on March 6 after a 1-0 win over Birmingham – their seventh win in a row.

A 12-match unbeaten run was dropped at an finish simply earlier than the worldwide break when Sheffield Wednesday edged the Yorkshire derby 2-1 at Oakwell, however although they responded by taking seven factors from the following three, a 2-0 defeat to relegation-threatened Coventry on April 18 prevented them from getting simply that little bit extra comfy within the prime six. The job is not performed but.

USA worldwide Daryl Dike has been a revelation since becoming a member of on mortgage from Orlando Metropolis in February, scoring eight targets

Sky Sports activities’ Don Goodman on the Sky Sports activities EFL Podcast:

“It was an enormous outcome for Studying, the truth that Coventry have been in a position to beat Barnsley, there is not any query about that. Possibly, simply perhaps, for the primary time this season, there will probably be a component of strain on Barnsley, who had acquired themselves comfy within the play-off positions and all people anticipated them to remain there.

“They’ve been in a position to play the entire season with hardly a morsel of strain on their shoulders. That is modified now.”

Studying’s hopes slipping away

PA - Veljko Paunovic
Veljko Paunovic’s Studying have dropped out of the Championship prime six in current weeks

For Studying, who blazed a path as leaders for the primary two months of the season, the fact is that within the race for the play-offs, the chances are actually stacked towards them.

Regardless of dropping out simply earlier than Christmas, Veljko Paunovic’s Royals have been a mainstay of the highest six for almost all of the season, but struggling to determine some consistency might price them. A run of three straight wins from late February into March was the primary time they’d received greater than two in a row since October, but was preceded by a run of 4 defeats from 5.

Studying’s remaining fixtures

Opponent Date
Luton (A) April 21
Swansea (H) April 25
Norwich (A) Could 1
Huddersfield (A) Could 8

With the strain constructing from a resurgent Barnsley and a refreshed Bournemouth, they began to stutter once more in mid-March. In reality, a 1-1 with the Tykes on April 2 adopted 1-1 attracts with Nottingham Forest and QPR both facet of a 2-1 reverse to Birmingham on March 17.

On Easter Monday, Studying produced knowledgeable efficiency in a 3-1 victory over Derby, however they did not again it up and a 2-0 defeat to Watford dumped them into seventh for the primary time, with a subsequent 1-1 draw with Cardiff leaving them 4 factors off the tempo. Two targets within the final 10 video games from talisman Lucas Joao definitely hasn’t helped issues, both. Their race is not run, however Studying have some floor to make up – and quick.

Talisman Lucas Joao has solely scored two targets in his final 10 video games for the Royals

Sky Sports activities’ Don Goodman on the Sky Sports activities EFL Podcast:

“I watched Studying draw 0-0 at Preston in January and it was the primary time that they left me actually, actually dissatisfied with the physique language, the efficiency and the actual fact Lucas Joao wasn’t at it. They’ve performed 17 video games since then and have received six. Anyone can have damaging ends in the Championship however, for me, the efficiency ranges have dropped off for Studying considerably.

“Each from time to time they are going to rise, but it surely’s actually for one recreation, most two, after which there is a drop off. That is what issues me. They are going to be buoyed by Coventry beating Barnsley however can they discover that consistency they’d earlier within the season? The clock is ticking, the video games are operating out and they should discover it immediately.”

Who’re the favourites to hitch Norwich?

Norwich are the clear and apparent frontrunners for the title, and are at present priced at 1/50 to elevate the trophy with Sky Guess, with Watford a 20/1 title shot and 1/10 to be promoted again to the Premier League on the first time of asking.

Brentford are third favourites to be promoted at 6/5, with Bournemouth at 2/1, Swansea 7/2, Barnsley 4/1 and Studying 25/1.

The ultimate stretch is now in sight, however nothing is determined in, arguably, essentially the most unpredictable league in world soccer. What is definite is {that a} thrilling few weeks forward.

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