Race for Premier League: Can Leicester be caught in title race?

22 February 2024 0 By Total Football News

There are just 12 games to go of the Sky Bet Championship season.

Ahead of another busy weekend of second-tier action, we take a look at how the race for promotion to the Premier League is shaping up…

How the league table has changed so far this season

Current standings

This weekend’s fixtures

1st – Leicester, 78 points

Leicester have just looked a cut above from the opening day and look destined for an immediate return to the Premier League. They have won 25 of their 34 games to date and will break their own joint-record – with Reading (31) – if they win seven more this term.

A damaging 3-1 defeat to Leeds last Friday night, however, means they are currently set to miss out on matching Reading’s points record (106) by just one point, given their current average of 2.29 points per game.

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Highlights from the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Leicester City

Leicester’s next five fixtures

  • QPR (H) – March 2, 3pm
  • Sunderland (A) – March 5, 7.45pm – Live on Sky Sports Football Red Button
  • Hull (A) – March 9, 3pm
  • Bristol City (A) – March 29, 12.30pm
  • Norwich (H) – April 1, 3pm

2nd – Leeds, 72 points

Leeds’ start on their return to the Championship was unspectacular and it was not until October they established themselves in the promotion race. Daniel Farke’s side are motoring now, though. They have won 16 of their last 21 league games and are on a run of nine league wins in succession, with just two goals conceded.

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Simeon Gholam and David Prutton look ahead to Huddersfield vs Leeds on the Sky Sports Championship Predictions podcast

Leeds’ next five fixtures

  • Huddersfield (A) – March 2, 12.30pm – Live on Sky Sports Football
  • Stoke (H) – March 5, 7.45pm – Live on Sky Sports Football Red Button
  • Sheffield Wednesday (A) – March 8, 8pm – Live on Sky Sports Football
  • Millwall (H) – March 17, 3pm – Live on Sky Sports Football
  • Watford (A) – March 29, 3pm

3rd – Ipswich, 72 points

Ipswich surprised many with how they handled their return to the second tier and looked nailed on for back-to-back promotions during the first half of the season. Understandably, their pace dropped off somewhat in December and January, but they are back on track after four wins in their last four outings.

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Highlights from the Sky Bet Championship match between Ipswich and Birmingham

Ipswich’s next five fixtures

  • Plymouth (A) – March 2, 3pm
  • Bristol City (H) – March 5, 8pm – Live on Sky Sports Football Red Button
  • Cardiff (A) – March 9, 12.30pm – Live on Sky Sports Football
  • Sheffield Wednesday (H) – March 16, 3pm
  • Blackburn (A) – March 29, 3pm

4th – Southampton, 67 points

Southampton boss Russell Martin looked to be under pressure when his side lost four in a row in September, although what came next proves patience is a virtue. Saints set a new club-record unbeaten league run (22) and also a club-record unbeaten run in all competitions (25), but they have lost three of their last four league games.

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Southampton and Millwall

Southampton’s next five fixtures

5th – West Brom, 56 points

There has not been an awful lot of rhythm, in terms of results, for West Brom this season as they have only managed to string together three straight wins on one occasion. Their strong home form has been key, however, in keeping them right in the mix as the conclusion of the season draws closer and their recent £60m takeover could offer a boost in the final weeks.

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Simeon Gholam and David Prutton look ahead to West Brom vs Coventry on the Sky Sports Championship Predictions podcast

West Brom’s next five fixtures

  • Coventry (H) – March 1, 8pm – Live on Sky Sports Football
  • QPR (A) – March 6, 8pm – Live on Sky Sports Football
  • Huddersfield (A) – March 10, 12pm – Live on Sky Sports Football
  • Bristol City (H) – March 16, 3pm
  • Millwall (A) – March 29, 1pm

6th – Hull, 55 points

Hull have been in and around the promotion picture for the majority of the season, but struggled for form throughout December and January, picking up only 12 of the 30 points on offer. That dip seems to have abated, with Liam Rosenior having now overseen five wins and a draw in the last seven.

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Highlights from the Sky Bet Championship match between Hull City and West Bromwich

Hull’s next five fixtures

  • Preston (A) – March 2, 3pm
  • Birmingham (H) – March 5, 7.45pm – Live on Sky Sports Football Red Button
  • Leicester (A) – March 9, 3pm
  • Stoke (H) – March 29, 3pm
  • Leeds (A) – April 1, 3pm

Who else is in the mix?

Norwich (7th, 52 points) are Hull’s closest rivals going into this weekend’s fixtures, given their superior goal difference to Preston. Their season has been topsy-turvy, with David Wagner seemingly under intense pressure at times, but they have lost just one of their last nine and are climbing.

Preston (8th, 52 points) were top for a couple of weeks in September after a blistering start, before a huge downturn in results saw them drop as low as 14th on New Year’s Day. North End have won four of their last five to keep themselves very much in contention.

Coventry (9th, 51 points) lost to Luton on penalties in last season’s play-off final and endured something of a hangover as a result. They sat 20th on November 4, but a run of just three defeats in their last 19 games has left them on the cusp of the top six.

Four points further back are Sunderland (10th, 47 points). The Black Cats have been in the spotlight recently – having sacked Michael Beale after just 12 games – and have been struggling to string together a run of positive results which has seen them drop off the pace.

How do Opta see the final table looking?

Listen to the Championship Predictions podcast

Sky Sports duo Simeon Gholam and David Prutton take a look ahead at Gameweek 35 in the Sky Bet Championship, predicting the results of every fixture; listen to the podcast below or via any of your regular podcast providers.

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