Brighton celebrated promotion after a 2-1 win over Wigan, before promptly losing the next two games to Norwich and Bristol City. That’s allowed Newcastle to draw within one point of the Seagulls, and the title is up for grabs on the last day of the season.
Chris Hughton’s side still have their fate in the own hands, and a win at Aston Villa on Sunday will see them lift the Championship trophy. With Newcastle at home to Barnsley, it’s probable that anything less than a win will not be enough, and Hughton has indicated that his team are ready to go out and complete the job.
At the other end of the table it’s a three-way battle to avoid relegation, with one of Nottingham Forest, Blackburn and Birmingham to end the day in disappointment. Rovers occupy the third relegation spot at present, but are on the same 48 points as Forest and are one goal adrift in the goal difference stakes. Birmingham are two points clear with 50 points, but have an inferior goal difference to the others, and could be relegated with a draw if both Forest and Blackburn win their games.
Rovers are away at Brentford, Birmingham are away at Bristol City, and Forest have the ‘easiest’ fixture on paper – a home tie against Ipswich. It’s quite possible that it will go right to the wire, but after beating Huddersfield last week, we’re backing Harry Redknapp’s Blues to do the business at Bristol City.
Aston Villa v Brighton
First up it’s Brighton, who can take advantage of a lacklustre Villa to win the title at 23/202.15+1151.151.15-0.87 with Ladbrokes.
Steve Bruce and Villa will be among the favourites for promotion next term, but this season has been one to forget. They sit 12th in the table, and have lost three of the last four as they drift into the summer break. The Villains do have a decent home record, but there is little motivation for this match and they go into it without top scorer Jonathan Kodjia.
Brighton had that great run of five straight victories, culminating in the 2-1 win over Wigan which saw them achieve promotion to the Premier League. As often happens, the celebrations saw the squad take their foot off the gas, and defeats to Norwich and Bristol City followed. However, the desire to win the title and finish the season with another high should sharpen minds here, and the Seagulls are a force to be reckoned with when on their game.
Bristol City v Birmingham
Birmingham might survive even if they lose at Bristol City, if other results go their way, but they can make sure with a win at 17/102.70+1701.701.70-0.59 with BetVictor.
Harry Redknapp was brought in to save the Blues from relegation after they’d plummeted down the table this season. With just three games remaining it was a tall order, and the first match of his tenure was a 1-0 defeat against bitter rivals Villa. However, we sided with the Blues last week as they beat Huddersfield 2-0 to give themselves a chance, and that win should have restored a lot of confidence. Redknapp is renowned as one of the game’s greatest man-managers, and you can bet he’ll have his side bang up for this match.
Bristol City have already done what Birmingham are trying to achieve, and last week’s surprise 1-0 win at Brighton saw the Robins guarantee their Championship status for another season. A run of four wins and a draw in the last five games helped them pull clear of the drop zone, but they may struggle to maintain the intensity now that the target has been achieved. Certainly Birmingham’s motivation here is much the stronger, and with arguably a better squad of players led by a managerial legend, they are taken to claim the win they need.
Norwich v QPR
There are a number of ‘dead rubber’ games on the last day as always, but both teams to find the net at Carrow Road is a good bet at 13/201.65-1540.65-1.540.65 with 32Red and 888Sport.
Norwich have scored more goals than anyone in the division bar Newcastle, but they also have the worst defensive record outside the top four. Both teams have scored in 7 of the last 10 matches in Norfolk.
QPR only secured their place in the Championship with last week’s 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest, after a dismal run of six straight defeats. Scoring goals is not a problem – they’ve only failed to hit the net twice in the last 20 matches – but they regularly concede as well. This is a typical end-of-season game with no pressure, and it would be no great surprise to see a few goals.
Brighton to beat Aston Villa
Sunday 7th May, 12:00 GMT
Birmingham to beat Bristol City
Sunday 7th May, 12:00 GMT
Norwich v QPR – Both teams to score
Sunday 7th May, 12:00 GMT
Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.
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