Form-team Brighton 9/4 for promotion via Championship playoffs
In the wake of a thrilling climax to Championship’s regular season there is very little between the four sides due to contest the play-offs according to Coral who price up the to-be-promoted market as follows: Leicester 9/4, Brighton 9/4, Watford 3/1 and Crystal Palace 10/3. Despite having to share favouritism with unlikely sixth-place finishers Leicester, Brighton are still the best bet to achieve promotion at at 9/4 with Coral.
On a day in which Leicester, Watford and particularly Crystal Palace at times seemed hell-bent on ensuring they avoided promotion at any cost, Gus Poyet’s Seagulls saw off Wolves 2-0 at the AMEX Stadium. Wolves were supposedly fighting tooth and nail to avoid relegation whilst Brighton had little to play for bar pride, having already secured a play-off place.
Nonetheless it was Brighton who confirmed themselves as the division’s form team, recording their fourth win in five games and stretching their unbeaten run to nine games in the process.
Leicester’s form is nowhere near as strong, with the win that gave them the most implausible of routes into the play-offs just their third success in 18 games. Crystal Palace are in a similar boat with their 3-2 win against Peterborough a first victory in 10 outings.
Watford are in reasonable nick having weathered their April blip and posted two wins in their last three games, but their pursuit of a final day victory against Leeds that would have seen them promoted automatically has come at a heavy cost. Quite apart from the mental toll of being so near, yet so far from being promoted without recourse to the compelling end of season lottery that is the play-offs, the Hornets lost two goalkeepers to injury as well as 19-goal striker Troy Deeney to a sending off during the match.
Brighton boast the league’s most miserly defence, having conceded just 43 goals all season and the experienced heads – Wayne Bridge, Matthew Upson, Thomas Kuszczak – that have contributed to that fine record will be of great import to the Seagulls’ cause during the knock out competition.
The only other team in the division to have experienced as few defeats as Brighton this term were Champions Cardiff and at 9/4 Brighton look a good bet to join them in the top tier in 2012/13.