With the Championship season into its final quarter, fans, pundits, players, and managers are desperately trying to predict how the table will look come the end of the 46-game season. The intense pressure and not knowing is all too much for some as the search for the answers becomes all the more desperate. It is at this stage of the season that many turn to the supercomputer for guidance on all matters concerning the conclusion of the Championship.
Sadly, it appears that the famous supercomputer that is always wheeled out when it gets too close to call has now officially malfunctioned. The algorithms and formulas it follows have concocted an end of season table that bears no resemblance to the goings-on of the Championship over the past seven months. Not enough time has been spent looking at the managers’ statistics of the clubs at the top and how they have effectively managed to get their teams there.
Teemu Pukki has just scored his 22nd goal of the season.
Just another reminder that he cost Norwich City nothing.
— bet365 (@bet365) February 16, 2019
Findings make for worrying reading for Leeds fans
If you were to humour the findings for a moment, it would make worrying reading for Leeds United but deliver good news for Bristol City. Indeed, the latest predictions have those in the South West cock-a-hoop at the thought of finishing sixth and making the playoffs and, in the process, beating Frank Lampard’s Derby County to sixth position. To be quite fair, that isn’t a scenario that would be totally unsurprising given that oddsmakers have the Robins at a competitive 4/5 to finish in the top six.
What is totally unbelievable is that Leeds United will finish fourth when they are backed at 8/13 by William Hill to finish in the top two and go up automatically. United play eight of the clubs in the bottom half of the Championship in their remaining 14 fixtures, and it’s highly likely that Marcelo Bielsa’s men will make light work of the strugglers in the basement as they have done for the entirety of the season so far.
As for West Brom finishing in second, they are at 2/1 for an automatic promotion spot but have a defence that folds quite easily; even 17th-placed Stoke City have conceded fewer goals than the Baggies. Darren Moore’s philosophy of ‘you score three and we will score four’ has backfired since Leicester recalled the impressive Harvey Barnes from his loan spell at the Hawthorns. Barnes was instrumental in the Baggies’ ability to go forward with such menace but, now he is back at the King Power, West Brom look a bit limp on the left wing.
There’s every chance Leeds United will keep going and West Brom will continue to falter so punters looking to back the Whites for automatic promotion can have a look at the latest bookies offers in order to claim a free bet. The toss-up to win the league is between Leeds and Norwich and Paddy Power have the Canaries just behind the Whites for an outright win at 9/5. In comparison, the Baggies are at 6/1 with the Irish bookmaker to win outright so, really, there is no credible reason to believe West Brom will spoil the party for Leeds.
Supercomputer and bookies agree on who will be relegated
At the other end of the table, the supercomputer has already sent Bolton, Ipswich, and Rotherham down to League One but there are hardly any surprises there as these three already occupy the dreaded relegation positions. Ipswich have been cut away from the pack since the opening few fixtures of the season and are as good as down at odds of 1/100 to be in League One next year. It really has been the season from Hell for Ipswich and most punters would definitely pay more than a penny for the thoughts of Mick McCarthy right about now.
Even if the big Yorkshireman is at 150/1 to win Euro 2020 with Ireland it looks like he got the better end of the deal when he left Ipswich.
Bolton also look dead in the water and at 1/12 to go down it looks like they will be certainly joining the Tractor Boys in the third division. The supercomputer may have been a bit hasty in condemning Rotherham to relegation though, as the Millers are a mere four points from safety. Right now, William Hill has Rotherham as 4/9 to go down, but with Millwall occupied with the FA Cup and only four points from danger, their odds of 16/1 to go down look full of value.
The Lions are at 40/1 to win the FA Cup so are by no means the outright favourites but this is a competition the East London clubs lives for, and you can be sure they will throw the kitchen sink at any team they play. Should they become too fixed on getting to Wembley, they could sacrifice their Championship status.
In reality, the battle for survival in the Championship has been decided for a while with Bolton and Ipswich looking dead certainties to go down since as early as Christmas. The supercomputer has followed the patterns of the bottom clubs and correctly predicted their fate. It is at the other end of the table where the supercomputer has begun malfunctioning by providing a bizarre assessment of what is likely to transpire.
Leeds United have accumulated more injuries this season than Aston Villa have points.
— William Hill (@WilliamHill) February 21, 2019
This latest result from the supercomputer may mean it’s time to switch it off for good. Teams at the top of the Championship at this stage are not there by fluke. No one’s doubting how congested it is at the top but the front runners should begin to make their final ascent towards the summit of the league over the next ten games as the play-off hopefuls scrap it out for the pleasure of going up at Wembley.