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The Chase for a play-off places

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With 9 games to go, Leeds and West Brom seem to be in the driving seats for automatic promotion. So lets look at the chances of the rest of the current top half of the table's chances of making the play-off places. FULHAM with a current 4pt cushion over 4th placed team have 6 games still to play against sides still in the top half, Brentford(H), Leeds(A), QPR(A), Forest(A), Cardiff(H) and WBA(A). BRENTFORD currently on 60pts have only 4 teams in top half to play, Fulham(A), WBA(H), Derby(A) and Preston(H). FOREST also on 60pts have 5 games against top half to play, Bristol(H), Derby(A), Fulham(H)Preston(A) and Swansea(H). PRESTON in 6th spot on 56pts also have 5 games against top half to play, Cardiff(H), Derby(H), Forest(H), Brentford(A) and Bristol(A).  BRISTOL CITY on 55pts have 5 games with top half teams, Blackburn(A), Forest(A), Cardiff(H), Swansea(A) and Preston(H). MILLWALL on 54pts have 4 teams in the top half, Derby(H), Swansea(H), Blackburn(H), and QPR(A). CARDIFF also on 54pts have 6 of the top half Leeds(H), Preston(A), Bristol(A), Blackburn(H), Fulham(A) and Derby(H). BLACKBURN on 53pts have 5 top half teams to play, Bristol(H), Leeds(H), Cardiff(A) WBA(H) and Millwall(A). SWANSEA also on 53pts have 4 matches against top half, Millwall(A), Leeds(H), Forest(A) and Bristol(H). Derby on 51pts have 7 teams in the top half to play, Millwall(A), Preston(A), Forest(H), WBA(A), Brentford(H), Cardiff(A) and Leeds(H). QPR on 50pts have just 3 from the top half, Fulham(H), Millwall(H) and WBA(A).

Looking at those matches to play Derby and Fulham have the toughest end of season fixtures. Fulham could lose their 4 point gap and be overtaken on 3rd spot, but I feel they have enough quality to stay in the top 6. Brentford should stay in the top 6 with only 4 tough fixtures and have scored 64 goals this season only conceding 33. Forest have a tough run in and depending on their home form might hang in there. Preston are catching the jitters of late and look like they could miss out with 5 tough games out of 9 to play. Bristol City have been hit and miss of late and could also miss out in closing in on the top 6. Millwall are one of the in form teams of late and depending on their home form could slip into the top 6. Cardiff have, of late only beaten teams at the bottom of the table, they draw too many games for me and with 6 games against teams at the top will fade away. Blackburn with only 2 wins in their last 8 matches  seemed to also gone off the boil and could continue to fade away. Swansea barring Millwall are the lowest scorers in the top half and I feel this will stop them getting into the top 6. QPR are the most inconsistant team in the top half and leak goals and only 2 teams in the league have conceded more than their 62 goals. Derby are one of the form teams and since the arrival of Rooney have only tasted defeat in the league 3 times scoring 25 league goals having scored in every game played since Wayne made his debut in the Barnsley match. But the big question is can they keep it up. The records show that the team finishing 6th would at least need around 74pts or probably more. I going to predict that the Rams will finish 8th, I hope I'm wrong, because this is a weak Championship this season.

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I don't think we'll have quite enough. If we did manage to get into them, you'd have to fancy us to go up through them being the inform team, but it'd need an absolutely remarkable run of games to pull it off. This is where you look back at all the frustrating games we could have taken more from and rue. Not the end of the world though, end the season strong and take the form into next season and compete for top two. 

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5 minutes ago, HonitonRam said:

Average points for play offs 72.6 but 6th spot might need a bit less this season,if we can get 20 more points

I don`t think we will be far off

9 games = 6 wins, 2 draws and 1 defeat. I think thats asking too much, but lets hope I'm wrong.

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, plymouthram said:

9 games = 6 wins, 2 draws and 1 defeat. I think thats asking too much, but lets hope I'm wrong.

or 7 wins and 2 defeats.

Edited by HonitonRam

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Obviously we need some results to go in our favour.

But all we can do is win games and see where it takes us.

Our run in is tough. Make no mistake.

But if we play to our potential, we can give anyone in this division a game.

I think Leeds at home is the only game I doubt our chances in. They have recovered from their blip and they are looking good again. Under Bielsa, with the exception of one game we deservedly won and one game we stole a point in, they seem to have a hold over us. 

All of the rest are winnable. If we play like we did v Stoke, Sheff Wed and Blackburn, even more so.

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Posted (edited)

Think the league is too unpredictable for us to start guessing which teams will make it and which teams Won’t, how many points will be needed etc etc based on remaining fixtures. Personally I always work on the more basic rule that if you’re within the same number of points as the number of games remaining of the playoff spots then you’re in with a shout (the rule obviously fails when there’s like 2 games left but whatever). Based on that, I think we’re definitely in contention, and I think everyone down to Sheff Weds (even Birmingham at a push) still have a chance - and I also don’t think either of the top 2 have secured a finish above the top six yet either. Clearly we are still outsiders in the race, but, with our last couple of strong results, if we can build up a real run of good form over the next few games then we really will be in serious contention imo. 

Edited by Millenniumram

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38 minutes ago, Jourdan said:

I think Leeds at home is the only game I doubt our chances in. They have recovered from their blip and they are looking good again. Under Bielsa, with the exception of one game we deservedly won and one game we stole a point in, they seem to have a hold over us. 

I'm willing to bet the Leeds fans consider us their bogey team, and are c******* themselves at the thought

of coming to Pride Park, if they still need points  for the auto's  😁

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7 hours ago, HonitonRam said:

Yeah,but you never know,nobody above us are pulling up trees

Funny league this season, it seems anybody can beat anybody on the day, just sit back and enjoy the ride. If we don't we are certainly going to upset some teams in the run in who think they will cement a place in the play offs, funny really, only 4 months ago we were talking more about relegation than the playoffs

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If we go down to QPR, let's have a look at where we could be at the end of March. (I bloomin' love these posts)

March games affecting teams 3-13th.


13-15th March

Fulham v Brentford - Brentford are good, but I'd be betting on Fulham derailing them.

Blackburn v Bristol C - Could go either way- Blackburn had been playing well and Bristol are more erratic, so I'll give this to Blackburn

Luton v Preston - Draw - Preston are stuttering, Luton are unpredictable.

Middlesbrough v Swansea - Boro - think it's a tricky one for the Swans

Millwall v Derby - Draw - Millwall have only won one of their last 4, and have drawn their last 4 home games, but I think it's a tall order for us to beat them

QPR v Barnsley - QPR

Wednesday v Forest - Erm. Which Forest team are turning up? Draw

Cardiff v Leeds - Leeds - Back on their horse.


17-18th March

Barnsley v Millwall - Millwall 

Brentford v WBA - West Brom - think these back to back games might derail Brentford a bit.

Bristol C v Wednesday - Bristol

Charlton v QPR - Charlton - This is the sort of game they need to win to stay up

Derby v Reading - Derby

Leeds v Fulham - Leeds - Can't see past them winning at the moment

Forest v Huddersfield - Forest

Preston v Cardiff - Draw

Swansea v Luton - Swansea

Wigan v Blackburn - Wigan 


21-22nd March

QPR v Fulham - Draw

Barnsley v Blackburn - Barnsley

Cardiff v Chalton - Cardiff

Millwall v Swansea - Draw

Preston v Derby - This is the big one for us, and to be honest... I can see us winning - I think Preston may be in freefall now.

Reading v Brentford - Will the previous two games have a lasting impression on the Bees season? I say yes, and this will be Reading's day

Forest v Bristol C - Urgh. Don't know. Draw on that basis.


If it goes *anything* like that:

Fulham 68

Forest 65

Brentford 60

Bristol 59


Millwall 59

Cardiff 58

Derby 58

Preston 58

Swansea 57

Blackburn 56

QPR 54


So by that (very rough) calculation, if we *can* get 7 points from our next 3, we are RIGHT in the mix.


And I think we'll need those 7 points, as I can't see us dropping 0 points in April, with Forest, West Brom, Leeds, Brentford and Cardiff.


My Son (3) is going to his first game on April 3rd... and my daughter was a lucky omen in her first game - so that's a banker.

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Posted (edited)

I did a little experiment over the weekend with a predictor league, where everyone won every game against a team lower than them - with the exception of Derby who won every game. In that scenario we finish on equal points with both Brentford and Millwall, with them 5th and 6th on goal difference (every game ended 1-0).

Now, obviously neither of those things (us winning every game; everyone winning all games against teams lower than them) are going to happen; but what that does suggest to me is that this whole situation isn't far off being in our own hands. 7 of 9 games being against teams in the top 10 is a tough ask, but we could be looking back at the run-in as a blessing come the end of the season.


Edited by SaintRam

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You talking about only games against top half opposition as being easy games. We’ve found from many experiences that, at this time of the season, the ‘easy’ games against the teams fighting against relegation are some of the hardest. 

No teams down there are adrift this year, it’s all really tight, so they’ll all think they’ve got a chance of staying up, and none will let it go easy. And they’ve all shown recently that they’ve got enough to produce a few surprises. So I’d be adding pretty much anyone in the bottom 6 or 7 as tough games too. 

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Well it’s a no ambiguity  situation , we can’t be thinking draws we have to get out there and win games ,do that and if it’s meant to be then it’s meant to be ,if it doesn’t happen then we are looking in very decent shape going forward 

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Forest are looking over their shoulders at us. I've had a rummage round their forum (I know, I'll self-isolate), and a couple of fairly astute postings make for interesting reading.

The other issue is that teams at the top don't usually drop that many points. So, 6-7 points might not seem a lot, but to turn round a 7 point deficit usually means winning 3 matches and the team you're trying to catch losing 3 matches, all else remaining equal, and with no-one else in the middle dropping points and capitalising on it too.
Derby may well be 5 points off the play offs, but Swansea are 3, Blackburn are 3, Millwall are 2, Cardiff are 2, and Bristol City are 1; we're also 5 clear of 7th.
So we're still 9 points clear of Derby with 9 matches to play, though we do have them left, so it will probably be 6 with 8, there are still plenty of teams left to take the place instead of them.
And whilst our goal difference (+10) is marginally lower thsn Fulham's (+14) and aside from Preston the worst in the top 6, no-one outside the top 6 is anywhere near it, which effectively makes it worth an extra point because they'd need more points than us to go ahead.
The maths don't favour the chasing pack nor does the form guide, a side who's only lost 5/6 all season is unlikely to then go and lose 4/5 of the last 9. At the bottom, a good run lifts you because the teams around you aren't picking up points, that's why they're at the bottom.


It's also notable looking at how few wins the top teams are picking up. Looking at the last 5 on the league table on BBC right now:
- Fulham 2
- Bayern Brentford 1 (6 on possession count)
- us 1
- Preston 1 (Notably the other 4 are losses, whereas the other 3 have also only lost 1)

Of the pack immediately below, up to the sheep who are just above the relegation zone, only the sheep (which happens to be their last 2) and Millwall have recorded more than one win either (both 2) - Bristol are winless.

Leeds have won all 5 and the next best records are Barnsley (24th), Reading (14th), QPE (13th) and Wigan (20th) all with 3.

For what it's worth, I think our outcome will be heroic failure. Now, where's the carbolic?

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5 minutes ago, Phoenix said:


And whilst our goal difference (+10) is marginally lower thsn Fulham's (+14) and aside from Preston the worst in the top 6, no-one outside the top 6 is anywhere near it, which effectively makes it worth an extra point because they'd need more points than us to go ahead.

Half a point! It’s effectively worth an extra half a point! Why does everyone always say it’s worth a full point? In that case, Forest could finish a point behind 6th but still compete in the Play Offs.

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