We’ve reached that time of year once again, it’s the Christmas period. With teams now reaching the midway point in their respective divisions, the teams who look likely to gain promotion begin to distance themselves from their competitors.
Newcastle United currently lead the way in the Sky Bet Championship and, according to a report published on the EFL website, Rafa Benitez’s side have a 50% chance of winning the league title, whilst the former Real Madrid manager’s side have a 65% chance of gaining promotion automatically.
Whilst many would believe that those who are top at the Christmas period would almost certainly finish in the play-offs. However nothing is guaranteed with a second-half to the season proving tricky in the past twenty years for Hudderfield Town (1999/00) and Burnley (2001/02), who both missed out on a play-off spot despite being top of the pile at Christmas.
Those who sit atop of the League One table at the festive period have the same chance of winning the title as the Championship, however the possibility of the team sitting top finishing in an automatic promotion spot is five percent more likely. Although every team that have been top at the turn of the year has eventually finished in at least a play-off spot.
A trend seems to be appearing, with teams more likely to finish top of their league after leading at Christmas the further down the Football League pyramid you travel. Similarly, those who sit top during the festive period are 5% more likely to achieve automatic promotion than those who were top at Christmas in League One, and 10% more likely than the team in the Championship.
Those who sit outside the automatic spots at Christmas should have little to worry about though, with 35% of teams being promoted automatically from the Championship despite being outside the places at Christmas. Meanwhile teams from League One have a 43% of going up automatically if they are outside of the automatic spots in the festive, compared to teams in League Two have a 40% chance.
At the opposite end of the table there are statistics equally as surprising. Teams from League Two have a 55% chance of surviving relegation despite looming in the drop zone at Christmas. Whereas sides from League One have a 41% chance and the possibility of a team from the Championship staying up despite being in the drop zone in the festive period is a lowly 35%.
However, with teams reaching the midway point of the season in the coming week, it looks set to be another exciting season with plenty of possibilities for excitement and drama along the way.