As we approach the Christmas period, which traditionally marks the halfway season in the Premier League, many fans will be starting to do one of two things. If their team is towards the top of the table, they’ll be getting excited about the promotion. If their team is at the bottom of the table, they’ll begin to start panicking about the real possibility of them playing in a lower league next season. With that in mind, here are the teams most likely to join the Premier League next season, and the teams that’ll have to make way for them.
Looking at the Championship table, it’s the closest it’s been in years. No team has shown any real dominance over the rest of the league so far this season. After 17 games played, Norwich City was sitting in the top spot. That’s despite them only winning 10 of their 17 games so far this season.
It’s rare to see a team who have drawn 4, lost 3, and only have a goal difference of plus 7 be at the top of the table at this point in the season. It’s even rarer to see them not be the favourite for promotion with many of the bookmakers. Looking at the Championship odds for the end of the season, many bookmakers currently have Bournemouth as the side more likely to secure promotion than the current leaders. Although they have only won 8 games out of the first 17, they’ve lost the least games out of anybody in the league, and they have the highest goal difference. These two factors could be exactly what is needed to secure one of those two automatic promotion spots.
Meanwhile, in the Premier League, it’s been a much worse season for Sheffield United. They’ve scored merely one point out of the first 33 available to them this season. That point came from a 1-1 draw against Fulham, which isn’t something that most teams would deem worthy of a celebration. Even in that game, they needed an 85th-minute penalty to help them draw level. While only a few points are separating the rest of the bottom half of the table, it could well be that the damage has already been done for Sheffield United.
The wildcards to keep an eye on
One of the big wildcards that could change everything this season is Cardiff City. Although they’ve had a poor start to the season, they won 4 in a row over November and December, raising them to just a few points below the play-off zone. If the season continues to be just as unpredictable, and teams higher up the table drop points in games to teams lower in the table, they could easily make up for the lost time. Their owner is eager to get fans back in the stadiums, so the power of the so-called “twelfth man” could get them over the line.