Good morning and happy thursday, hoddlers.
You might find it hard to belive, but there actually was football this month. A lot of it! And the promotion and relegation pictures in the EFL Championship look even less clear than they did a month ago. Let’s take a look:
Let’s not waste words on Fulham. They are 14 points clear of third with a game in hand (and nine left to play). They are going up.
Scottie Parker’s Bournemouth got a huge promotion boost in their last outing, a 3-0 win against high-flying Huddersfield. It was a dissapointing month for the Cherries with dropped points against Posh, Preston and Reading, so a 3-0 away win will go a long way to cushion their lead over third place.
With Fulham and Bournemouth looking secure as the top two in the league, all attention will be on the 3-6 spots. As of this writing, there is a six-point difference between third and tenth in the league (With some teams having played more than others). It’s madness. It’s March!
This month was Luton Town’s turn to shoot up the standings. Currently sitting third, Luton town have scored the third-most goals this season and have the fourth-highest goal differential. Of note: Luton have the fourth-smallest wage bill in the league.
Blackburn Rovers have struggled without star striker Ben Brereton Diaz. The club was held scoreless in four of their five games this month. Their playoff hopes are dangerously close to falling off a cliff.
Middlesbrough, QPR, Nottingham Forest and Millwall could all leapfrog sixth-place Blackburn with wins this weekend.
Wow, Reading are terrible. They shouldn’t be in any danger of dropping down to League One, but have played themselves into this position since the New Year began. They play a six-pointer this weekend against relegation rivals Barnsley, who took points off of Stoke and Fulham this month.
Wayne Rooney’s Derby, after a brief resuscitation, sit bottom at the table and do not look like they’re going to get back up. That’s to be expected after losses against Blackburn and Bournemouth, and they play two promotion candidates again next month against Fulham and QPR. It looks bleak.
There is a tonne at stake for these clubs next month and everything to play for. With the international break now out of the way, this begins the last stretch of matches until the final weekend on May 7. If the parity and unpredictability of this season continues, a lot could be determined that day.
EFL Championship Top 10:
- Fulham - 77 Pts (37 MP)
- Bournemouth - 69 Pts (36 MP)
- Luton Town - 63 Pts (38 MP)
- Huddersfield - 63 Pts (39 MP)
- Sheffield United - 61 Pts (38 MP)
- Blackburn Rovers - 61 Pts (39 MP)
- Boro - 59 Pts (37 MP)
- QPR - 59 Pts (38 MP)
- Nottingham Forest - 58 Pts (36 MP)
- Millwall - 57 Pts (37 MP)
EFL Championship Bottom 4:
21. Reading - 33 Pts (38 MP)
22. Barnsley - 28 Pts (38 MP)
23. Posh - 26 Pts (38 MP)
24. Derby - 25 Pts (39 MP)
Fitzie’s track of the day: So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings, by Caroline Polachek
And now for your links:
The Times ($$): Premier League clubs to introduce five substitutions rule
Nou Camp breaks women’s football attendance record
Mesut Ozil’s agent says player has no plans to leave Fenerbahce