Welcome back to our look at some of the possible contenders for promotion to the EPL this year. In our earlier article we looked at the top 5 teams in the Championship, and table we will look at the remaining four teams who have the best chance to qualify for the playoffs. All of these teams are within three points of each other, and with so few matches to play we are in for a wild ride.
Cardiff City: First up is Cardiff City, a club that has come tantalizingly close to promotion in recent years. The bluebirds are a Welsh club that has crashed out of the playoffs the past two years. This is another club that spreads the goals around and their top striker, Peter Whittingham, only has 12 goals this season. New manager Malky Mackay has picked up right where former manager Dave Jones left off, but there is still a bit of work to be done to guarantee qualification. The club occupies 6th place, but Brighton & Hove could surpass them by a point depending on results this week. With the experience of the players the club should be able to get into the final playoff spot, but as always it will come down to the final few matches of the season. Oh and they are apparently sponsored by the country of Malaysia. Pretty badass.
Brighton & Hove Albion: Everyone raise your hand if you saw this team and though, “Who the fuck are these guys?”. The club is known as the seagulls, and last year were residing in League One where they were the champions. There is something about the League One clubs this season, 2 of the 3 promoted are gunning for promotion to the big leagues. The club hasn’t been in the top flight since 1983 when they also lost the FA Cup Final to Manchester United. The club is 2 points out of the playoffs, but do have a game in hand which should help. They have done fairly well at preventing goals, but lack the offensive firepower to move too far up the table. If they want to make the playoffs the club is going to have to find their shooting boots in the next few days.
Middlesbrough: Middlesbrough is another name that is familiar to EPL fans, but they haven’t been seen in the top flight since 2009. The club has not quite mastered the art of the championship, and the first few seasons after their relegation were filled with difficulty as the club tried to spend their way to promotion rather than building a proper team (for more details see City, Manchester). This year’s team is only 2 points out of playoff position, but has a bit of a tricky run in. The club does not have a fantastic attack, and that could prove to be their undoing in the last few matches.
Leicester City: Although not normally a well known name outside of England, Leicester City has been a bit more famous in recent years with the appointment of Sven-Goran Eriksoon. Shockingly enough Sven was fired earlier this year after winning just 5 out of the first 13 games in the season. Their top goal scorer is David Nugent who has put 16 into the old onion bag, but they do a decent job of spreading the ball around. The club is 3 points out of 6th place, but they will need to have the three teams above them slip up enough if they want to have any hope of moving into the playoff.
There you have our roundup of this year’s promotion contenders. Who do you think is going to be joining your favorite squads in the EPL, and who do you really want to see?