The race for Premier League promotion in the 2021-22 season is entering the final stages and the battle to get out of England’s second tier remains absolutely bonkers.
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Fulham have clinched automatic promotion and look nailed on to win the league title, while Bournemouth are close to sealing automatic promotion back to the Premier League too.
Huddersfield Town have guaranteed they will at least be in the playoffs and they could still seal automatic promotion but they need to win out and get plenty of help. Below the top two there is a mad scramble to finish in one of the three remaining playoff spots.
Remember: the third-place team plays the sixth-place team and fourth plays fifth in a home and away semifinal series before the victors battle it out in a final at Wembley to decide who wins the third and final promotion spot to the Premier League.
Promotion to the Premier League is estimated to be worth almost $200 million for each club.
Below we look at the latest scenarios as the Championship campaign enters the final few games.
Promoted to the Premier League for 2022-23
Their 3-0 win against Preston sealed promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking and it has been very easy for Marco Silva’s side this season. Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored an incredible 41 goals this season and with USMNT defenders Tim Ream (Fulham’s captain) and Antonee Robinson (named in the Championship team of the year) having fine seasons, the Fulhamerica vibes are strong. They’ve lost a few games in recent weeks as they edged towards clinching promotion and the title but in truth they’ve been far too good for the Championship this season. Their aim will now be to cement their spot in the Premier League after becoming a yo-yo club.
Automatic promotion hopefuls
Bournemouth, Nottingham Forest, Huddersfield Town
For Bournemouth, they should just get over the line but Forest are pushing them all the way. Bournemouth sit in second, three points above third-place Forest, and they play Forest on May 3 so that game could decide who goes up automatically. Huddersfield Town can also still be promoted automatically but they have to win their final two games (against Coventry and Bristol City) and hope both Bournemouth and Forest collapse. Only Fulham and Bournemouth can still win the title.
In the playoffs right now
Nottingham Forest, Huddersfield Town, Luton Town, Sheffield United
The playoff situation seems to change all the time but relative minnows Huddersfield and Luton have had incredible seasons and find themselves sitting pretty in the playoffs with two games to go. Carlos Corberan’s Terriers were relegation candidates before the season and so too were Nathan Jones’ Hatters but both Huddersfield and Luton have punched well above their weight. Huddersfield have clinched a playoff spot and could still be promoted automatically. Forest have one game in-hand so they will likely finish third in the table, or even higher. Then there is Sheffield United, who sit in sixth place (the final playoff spot) and have the advantage on goal difference over the teams just below them. But the Blades do have both Fulham and QPR still to play.
On the bubble of the playoffs
Blackburn Rovers, Millwall, Middlesbrough, QPR, Coventry
This is chaos. Just six points separates Sheffield United in sixth and Coventry in 11th, while it seems like Middlesbrough have the edge in the chasing pack as they have a better goal difference and also have a game in-hand. Chris Wilder has done a superb job to push Boro up the table and they have three relatively straightforward games (is there such a thing in the Championship!?) to negotiate between now and the end of the season. Watch out for Millwall who are hanging in there. QPR and Coventry still have a chance mathematically but it’s not going to happen.
Latest Championship table – April 27, 2022
1. Fulham – 87 points (44 games played) +60 – PROMOTED
2. Bournemouth – 79 points (43 games) +30 – CLINCHED PLAYOFF SPOT
3. Nottingham Forest – 76 points (43 games) +30 – CLINCHED PLAYOFF SPOT
4. Huddersfield Town – 76 points (44 games) +14 – CLINCHED PLAYOFF SPOT
5. Luton Town – 72 points (44 games) +14
6. Sheffield United – 69 points (44 games) +12
7. Blackburn Rovers – 66 points (44 games) +11
8. Millwall – 66 points (44 games) +6
9. Middlesbrough – 64 points (43 games) +8
10. QPR – 63 points (44 games) +2
11. Coventry City – 63 points (44 games) +2