The final day of the Championship was incredibly exciting towards the top of the table, with some late shuffling about in the playoff spots. The same can’t be said for the lower end, however, with the bottom 3 spots being determined before the final day as Huddersfield clinched survival with a huge 1-0 win against 2nd place Sheffield United. Terriers fans will be delighted with the job manager Neil Warnock has done for them, who joined them whilst in the bottom 3, and has finished his brief stint with a 9-point safety net. This ensured them safety days before their clash with relegation rival Reading, who will be relegated to League 1, along with Blackpool and Wigan.
As for the top of the table, Vincent Kompany’s brilliant Burnley had secured the top spot weeks prior, ending the season on 101 points – a record for the club! The ex-Manchester City centre-back has introduced a fast, fluid and exciting style of play to the club that has seen them bounce back immediately from their relegation last season, with the hope of a long-term stay in the top tier for what could be a new era for the club. Paul Heckingbottom’s Sheffield United hold the other automatic promotion spot, with a clear improvement in both quality and mentality from the side that faced defeat in the playoffs semi-final last season.
Luton and Middlesborough had secured playoff spots before the final day, with the other two spots held by Coventry and Millwall in the moment. Coventry were able to hold on to theirs with a 1-1 draw to Middlesborough, ending the season on a respectable 70 points. Millwall finished their first half against Blackburn with a 3-1 lead, but the Rovers completed a remarkable second-half comeback to win the game 4-3. Ben Brereton-Diaz made himself the villain of Millwall’s story, scoring both the equaliser and the winner for the away side. With late drama at The Den, newly-promoted Sunderland were able to sneak into 6th place with a 3-0 win against Preston!
This provides us with our Championship playoff fixtures: Sunderland vs Luton Town, and Coventry vs Middlesborough, with the winners meeting in a final clash at Wembley Stadium. Luton and Middlesborough will stand as the favourites with their higher point tallies, but both Coventry and Sunderland enter these matches in flying form, and the momentum they could carry with them should not be underestimated. The potential for a Sunderland vs Middlesborough final is undeniably exciting, too, as the fierce rivalry between the two teams would undoubtedly make for an electrifying finale to the season. Either way, all four teams have had incredible seasons, and we’ll be sure to see some riveting football from them in these closing games.