Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Weekend Championship Preview , Game 46

Four more days and it will all be over. The final match of the season sees us take on Norwich City in a fixture which could be repeated as early as 8th August in League One. Norwich were poor when I saw them beat us 1-0 before Christmas at their place. It was not a major surprise, therefore, when we knocked them out of the F A Cup by a goal to nil following a 1-1 draw at the Valley. As they say, the table doesn't lie at this point of the season and the Canaries are staring down the barrel of a gun (no pun intended).

I can't see Charlton losing this game and I believe Barnsley will get the point they need at Plymouth in any event. With a better goal difference of three, the Tykes could even afford to lose and still stay up if Norwich don't beat us by more than two goals. If Charlton score first I think Norwich will fold. It promises to be an exciting afternoon as all of the final placings are settled.

Burnley v Bristol City
Burnley need the win to secure a play-off position that they fully deserve. City have slipped to tenth and the disappointment at Ashton Gate is growing; Dele Adebola is the first to want away. The Clarets to fill their boots.
Prediction; 3-0 

Charlton Athletic v Norwich City
A League One fixture in all but name. I think the occasion will lift Charlton to a winning performance. On Tuesday, Norwich played uncannily like the way we have played for most of the season - they had a go without really coming close to scoring and collapsed once Reading went ahead.
Prediction; 2-0

Crystal Palace v Sheffield United
Ding-dong game on the cards here. Neil Warnock will be desperate to beat his old side and prevent them from possibly gaining automatic promotion. United are on a roll though, and know they have to win if they are to have a chance of pipping Birmingham and Reading. My money's on them to win again.
Prediction; 1-2

Ipswich Town v Coventry City
Ipswich responded to Roy Keane's arrival with their result of the season last week when they won 3-0 at Cardiff City. The need to impress is obvious and I think they will do it again tomorrow at 17th placed Coventry.
Prediction; 3-0 

Nottingham Forest v Southampton
Forest will be surprised to find themselves safe before the last game. Southampton are in chaos and are down now anyway. With further financial pressures and a ten point handicap for next season, they look to have trumped our own nightmare. 
Prediction; 2-0

Plymouth Argyle v Barnsley
Barnsley have ground out four draws in their last five and know that another one here will be the best of the lot. I can't see this being a goal-fest.
Prediction; 0-0

Preston NE v QPR
Hard work for Rangers here and I don't think they'll be up for it. 
Prediction; 2-0

Reading v Birmingham City
There should be a great atmosphere at this match and a full-house as these two go for the last automatic Premier League place. Reading might just have woken up in time after a near-fatal slide. They looked focused in wiining at Norwich this week and know that victory here will ensure they finish above Birmingham. News from Selhurst Park may affect the tempo of this game and it should be a cracker. It struck me how experienced the Birmingham team were when they played at the Valley and I fear that might be enough to get them a point here, although that might not be enough if the Blades beat Palace.
Prediction; 1-1

Sheffield Wednesday v Cardiff City
Cardiff need a point to stave off Preston's late play-off challenge. They took a slap to the face from Ipswich last week so I can see them grinding this out.
Prediction; 0-0

Swansea City v Blackpool
A home win to finish for Swansea. They could be real contenders next season.
Predcition; 2-0

Watford v Derby County
This looked like a relegation six-pointer for much of the season but both are comfortably safe. Watford to win at a canter.
Prediction; 3-0

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Doncaster Rovers
Wolves to finish with a flourish as they prepare for the rigours of the Premier League. I'm not sure Chris Iwelumo or Sylvain Ebanks-Blake will find it so easy going next year but they will fancy goals if they play here.
Prediction; 3-0


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