As the European football season heads into its final weeks, there are some things we know for sure, some things that we can reasonably predict and some that are still completely unknown. Intriguingly, when it comes down to identifying the clubs that will be promoted from the Championship to join the Premier League next year, it could be argued that all three scenarios apply.
Fulham have it in the bag
Fulham, that perennial yoyo team has the top spot all but sewn up and will once again be promoted to the Premier League as they were in 2018 and 2020. The real question will have to wait till next year for an answer, and that is whether Marco Silva can succeed where Claudio Ranieri and Scott Parker failed and stay up for more than a single season.
Bookmakers have faith in Bournemouth
There are no other guarantees at present, but the soccer odds show that bookies have reasonable confidence in Bournemouth making the most of their games in hand and clinching the second automatic promotion spot. The south coast team has seen fluctuating fortunes over the past 20 years, but they proved they could hold their own in the Premier League by holding on to a spot there from 2015 to 2020, and narrowly lost out in the playoffs last year.
Back up for the Blades
Sheffield United’s last stint in the Premier League captured the hearts and minds of all the neutrals, with their fearless old-fashioned style of football. The Blades are certain to be in the playoff zone and are favourites to emerge victorious as long as their injury woes do not get any worse – John Fleck has been the latest casualty on the physio’s bench. Most bookmakers currently have them around 2/1.
A couple of months ago, Blackburn looked for all the world like a team destined for automatic promotion. However, they have felt the absence of striker Ben Brereton through injury in recent weeks, having only won one of their last six league games. The inability of anyone else to find the back of the net could be the telling factor and there’s now doubt over whether they can even cling on for the playoff battle. The team has had a turbulent decade since being relegated from the top flight in 2012, including a season in League One. Bookies are quoting their promotion chances at around 4/1.
Huddersfield’s road to redemption
It’s fair to say that few were expecting Huddersfield to be part of the promotion conversation earlier this season. When they were last promoted to the Premier League in 2017, it put them in the top tier for the first time since 1972, having been in the fourth as recently as 2004. Relegation after a disastrous 2020 almost precipitated another tumble down the leagues and they barely survived last year. At 5/1, they are a long shot but a tantalizing one for the final promotion spot.