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Who will win Championship title & automatic promotion?


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Five points separate the top four in the Championship, with the top two gaining automatic promotion to the Premier League

Does anybody want to win the Championship title?

This year’s battle for automatic promotion to the Premier League looks set to go right to the wire, with last season’s relegated sides Leicester, Leeds and Southampton trying to bounce straight back. However, Kieran McKenna’s Ipswich are currently top of a four-way fight.

At the turn of the year Enzo Maresca’s Leicester looked certain to bounce straight back up to the Premier League, topping the Championship table with a 13-point gap over third-place Southampton.

But after the Saints’ win over Preston on Tuesday, four teams are involved with just a handful of games to go.

Leicester centre-back Conor Coady told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Monday Night Club about the psychology in this year’s Championship title race.

“I look at results all the time, of course I do. It’s the first thing you do. You’re hoping they’ve lost if you’ve won, to gain a bit of ground – 100% it affects you.

“When they’re on the telly you watch them and praying they might drop points. It’s a natural thing to do, you’ve just got to make sure you’re doing your own job.”

BBC Sport examines the run-in and Opta predictions.

Current table

Team Played Points GD GS Form (past 5 games)
1. Ipswich 43 89 32 85 WWLDD
2. Leicester 42 88 41 79 LWWLL
3. Leeds 43 87 42 76 DWLDL
4. Southampton 42 84 30 84 LDWWW

If teams are level after 46 games, the title will be decided on goal difference and, if still level, goals scored.

What are the remaining fixtures for each club?

Fixtures in bold indicate key games between top-four teams

20 April West Brom (h) Cardiff (a)
22 April Middlesbrough (a)
23 April Southampton (h) Leicester (a)
26 April QPR (a)
27 April Hull (a) Stoke (h)
29 April Preston (a)
30 April Coventry (a)
4 May Huddersfield (h) Blackburn (h) Southampton (h) Leeds (a)

Who are the firm favourites?

Opta, with its 10,000 ‘supercomputer’ simulations, has Leicester as favourites despite successive defeats and a tough upcoming fixture list.

They have a 62% chance of winning the title and 84% of sealing promotion. Ipswich have a 62% chance of securing back-to-back promotions, according to Opta.

Team % chance of winning title % of automatic promotion Predicted final points Current position & points
1. Leicester 62 84 95 2nd – 88 points
2. Ipswich 22 62 93 1st – 89 points
3. Leeds 13 43 92 3rd – 87 points
4. Southampton 3 11 89 4th – 84 points
Predicted points rounded down to nearest point

Opta predict that the current top three will all pass the 90-point mark – nobody has reached that total and failed to be promoted in the past 10 seasons.

Southampton are predicted to get 89 points, with two of their final four games away at Leicester and Leeds.

“The league is spectacular and you’re a fool if you try and predict it because there’s been so many twists and turns,” former Ipswich and Luton striker Sam Parkin said on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Former Hull, Derby and Bolton manager Phil Brown added: “It is all about bottle and the pressure. It is all about being able to handle that as a group and club.

“I’d like to see Ipswich back in the Premier League but who joins them? I have no idea. I can’t call it.”

What if the teams finish level on points?

Should there be a tie, the league is decided on goal difference, then goals scored, then most points in the head-to-head matches, then goal difference in head-to-head games, before goals scored in those games.

If all of that is level we go to number of wins, then goals scored in away games.

Whatever happens, there should be plenty more twists and turns between now and the final day of the season on 4 May.

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