Brighton and Hove Albion were able to lock up a spot in the Premier League on Easter Monday as they defeated Wigan (2-1). However, Reading and Huddersfield both have a chance of surpassing Newcastle for the second automatic promotion position.
The Magpies were defeated 3-1 by Ipswich and they’re now facing the reality of losing hold of second place with only three games left to play this season. Newcastle are still in the driver’s seat, though.
Rafael Benitez’s men are sitting on 85 points with three matches left. They’ll play Preston North End, Cardiff City and Barnsley in their remaining matches, so they should be able to hold off Reading (79 Points) and Huddersfield (78 Points), but it’s their recent form of one point from their last three outings which is most alarming.
Preston North End is the toughest remaining match and they’re only 10th on the table with 61 points. The team has been in poor form too. The Lilywhites have won just one of their last six SkyBet Championship matches.
Reading is the closest challenger to Newcastle and they’ve been in great form. Reading have won five of their last six matches, but the great form may prove to be too little too late, as they are still six points behind 2nd place.
Reading are likely going to close out the season with three more wins, as they play Nottingham Forest, Wigan and Burton Albion. All three teams have been poor all season and the highest on the table is Burton Albion (19th).
Newcastle will want to ensure they get three points this weekend because if they don’t, the pressure will then be on and they won’t want that despite having two easier matches coming up to finish the season.
Huddersfield are sitting 78 points, but they actually have four matches left to play, so they could still earn a possible 12 points if they can win out against Fulham, Wolverhampton, Birmingham City and Cardiff City.
All of the matches are winnable, but the upcoming match against Fulham will be the toughest. Fulham are 6th on the table and would love nothing more than to hand Huddersfield a defeat this weekend as the Cottagers fight for a play-off spot.
If Huddersfield can defeat Fulham on Saturday it would put some pressure on Newcastle, as the rest of their matches are against teams in the bottom half of the table. The toughest match after Fulham is against Wolverhampton (16th).
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Brighton can lock-up first place in the SkyBet Championship with a win this weekend, so while they’re guaranteed one of two spots in next year’s Premier League campaign, they still have a lot to play for.
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We would expect Newcastle to hang on and qualify for the Premier League with a second place finish, but Huddersfield and Reading both have a great chance to make things interesting right until the final day of the season.
Seeing Brighton in the Premier League next season will be exciting, as they haven’t play in England’s top-flight league since the 1982-83 season.