Sunday, 31 March 2013

Forget the Premier League, ‘the fizzy pop league’ still has all the surprises in store...

The Championship table as it stands (31/3/13)

With Manchester United destined to lift the Premier League title for the 20th time in their history in the next coming weeks, football fans should turn their attention to the spoils of the Championship.

Sir Alex Ferguson is waiting for the formalities which will see Nemanja Vidic hold the trophy aloft, wrapped-up and sealed with crisply cut red ribbons tied around it. However, more important battles still need to be won in a tighter race just one division away – the £100 million race to reach football’s greatest league.

With just four points separating the play-off chasing pack from the automatic places, and at least nine teams still in with a chance of reaching the promised land, there is still everything to play for. And in a league which boasts world class players, expectant owners and results-driven managers, this can only be a recipe for fantastic football.

As Nottingham Forest boss Billy Davies stated last weekend after his side’s dramatic encounter with fellow play-off rivals Brighton - in this league ‘a coat of paint’ barely separates top from bottom.

Davies said: “The competition is fierce, it’s the most difficult league in the world to get out of – no doubt about it.

“Anyone can beat anybody and there is that great determination to get promoted from all the teams in the league.”

While the Scot’s team currently sit in 5th position in the table and comfortably inside the top six, that comfort is never assured. Because just a point outside the play-off positions with seven games still left to play lie rivals Leicester, who they meet on the final day of the season.

Elsewhere, Cardiff City and Hull look to be gunning for the automatic spots in hope of acquiring their own war chests to splash out on new recruits to keep them in the Premier League – IF they meet their ambitions to get there.

And there is still time for third place Watford to make up the four point gap between themselves and second place Hull. The Hornets come armed with the prowess of Championship Player of the Year Matej Vydra as they face both the league’s top two sides in their next outings.

And how can anyone forget Ian Holloway’s Crystal Palace side, who go head-to-head with Leicester at Selhurst Park in April. Holloway has done it before with Blackpool and has talented players to call on like soon-to-be Manchester United winger Wilfried Zaha.

Whatever the final month of Championship action may bring, one thing can be sure, it will provide something the Premier League title race will not – twists and turns until the VERY end.

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