Championship Final Day Preview – Saturday 8th May
The promotion and play-off picture in The Championship has been decided already. Norwich will be returning to the Premier League as Champions whilst Watford will be joining them back in the top flight next season. Brentford, Swansea, Bournemouth and Barnsley will be heading into the play-offs.
In terms of relegation there is still quite everything to play for with technically no side in the bottom 4 being guaranteed to stay up or go down. We say technically as Wycombe are surely heading back to league 1, they would need to win their final game by 12 goals and hope other results go their way to stay up. Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham are in the other two relegation spots right now, and both need to win their final game to have any chance of staying up. Derby County are just outside the drop zone right now and they play Sheffield Wednesday. Lets take a look at the games and how things may play out.
Derby County vs Sheffield Wednesday
Derby Win – A Derby win would relegate both Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham
Sheffield Wednesday Win – A win for Sheffield Wednesday would relegate Derby, though Sheffield Wednesday themselves could still be relegated should Rotherham win their final game away at Cardiff
Draw – A draw would relegate Sheffield Wednesday and Derby would be relegated if Rotherham win against Cardiff
It is an obvious statement but both of these sides will be desperate to avoid relegation. They would have seen in recent years sides like Sunderland, Wigan, Ipswich, Blackpool and Hull all fall into the lower tiers of league football and the truth is its really not easy to get back as those sides have and continue to find out. The really interesting angle to this game is that for both of these sides, if they lose this game they are relegated. There is no hoping other teams can do them a favour, if they lose then they are down. Derby at least have the benefit of knowing that a draw may be enough to keep them up, and should they win they will 100% be staying up.
Derby have lost their last 5 league games in a row. Wednesday have lost 11 of their last 16 league games, though Wednesday do have the better recent form as they have only lost 4 of their last 9 league games and they have won 3 of those last 9 games. Whilst Wednesday are hardly in form the fact they have won 3 of their last 9 games is slightly encouraging in this low grade lottery.
Wednesday have scored in 8 of their last 10 league games and Derby have only scored in 5 of their last 12 league games. Wednesday won 1-0 when the sides met earlier in the season. Derby have conceded an average of 2.20 goals per game in their last 5 league games. Wednesday have conceded an average of 2 goals per game in their last 8 league games.
Wednesday average 4.83 corners per game in their last 6 league games and Derby average 4.33 corners per game in their last 6 league games.
Despite their situation Wednesday have been given no cards in 4 of their last 6 league games. Derby have been given no cards in 5 of their last 12 league games. Though Derby still average 1.33 yellow cards per game in those 12 games and Wednesday average 1.40 yellow cards per game in their last 10 league games.
This is going to be an incredibly tense game, as whilst someone can be the hero for either side, the fact that losing means relegation for them both means that 1 mistake could prove the difference. Sheffield Wednesday will need to be the aggressors as a draw relegates them, I imagine Derby will sit in, be compact and try to be difficult to break down, though that could change as for certain the Derby coaching staff will have one eye up in Wales and should Rotherham take the lead against Cardiff, I would expect to see some changes from Derby who would have to become more adventurous and attacking. Both these sides have been pretty shocking defensively all season, and that has not changed in recent games. Add in the pressure of a game like this and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of goals in this. Allot depends on how aggressive Derby are willing to be as they are the ones who know for certain that if they win they will be playing in The championship next season.
I do think there is a good chance both teams will score as Sheffield Wednesday have to score and Derby have managed to score in 4 of their last 6 league games. Plus both sides should get opportunities to score as I doubt either will be confident of scoring of 1 goal and relying on their defence to see them through. Corners is not a bad bet, its likely both sides take at least 3 as they will both look to get balls into the box and shots at goal, just we wouldn’t look to push the corners too high in this game. In a game like this cards can always be considered a bet that has a chance. In what will be an emotionally charged atmosphere its possible of boiling over at any moment, and you add to that the possibility of 1 of these teams becoming frustrated towards the end of the games as they see relegation becoming more and more likely, and angle possible avenue for cards is time wasting with things like goal kicks, throw ins and free kicks, as should one of these sides be winning you can bet they wont do anything in a hurry. So its highly likely the game has at least 3 cards and there isa good chance both teams pick up 20+ booking points each.
The best bets in this game would be
Both teams to score
Sheffield Wednesday to win
Sheffield Wednesday to win and both teams to score
3+ corners each team
30+ match booking points
20+ booking points each team
Cardiff vs Rotherham
Cardiff win – Rotherham are relegated
Rotherham win – Rotherham will be safe if Derby don’t win
Draw – Rotherham are relegated
The picture is almost simple for Rotherham as they have to win and hope that Derby don’t. The worrying stat for Rotherham is that Cardiff have only lost 3 of their last 20 league games and Rotherham have only won 3 of their last 17 league games, and Rotherham have lost all their last 5 league games. Rotherham have failed to score in 7 of their last 9 league games and have conceded in 16 of their last 18 league games. So the fact that Rotherham struggle to score just 1 goal will be a major concern given its likely they will need to score 2 or more as they cant be trusted to keep a clean sheet. Cardiff have scored 6 goals in their last 4 league games and despite having nothing to play for in terms of the play offs, they are unlikely to just roll rover. It very hard to see how Rotherham win this game, and the bookmakers appear to have been generous offering Cardiff at 6/4. Its easy to point out that one team here is fighting for their lives and the other has nothing to play for, but the fact is Cardiff are a better side and will be looking to end their season on a high, and for those who don’t fancy Cardiff to win we feel Cardiff/Draw double chance is still a good bet as part of an acca or multiple.
Rotherham average 5.87 corners per game in their last 8 league games and Cardiff average 5.16 corners per game in their last 6 league games. So its highly likely both teams take at least ¾ corners and the game will be pushing towards double figures. Rotherham average 2.33 yellow cards per game in their last 6 league games and Cardiff average 1.80 yellow cards per game in their last 10 league games. So its likely that the game has 30+ match booking points and Rotherham are likely to lead the way in bookings with a good chance that they pick up 20+ booking points themselves. The best bets in this game are
Cardiff to win
Cardiff/Draw double chance
Cardiff to win and both teams to score
3/4 + corners each team
10+ match corners
30+ match booking points
20+ Rotherham booking points