Norwich City promotion challenge: putting facts (not fate) to good use

PUBLISHED: 12:00 20 February 2019 | UPDATED: 10:50 21 February 2019

Will Daniel Farke be celebrating the biggest victory of all at the end of the season? 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Will Daniel Farke be celebrating the biggest victory of all at the end of the season? Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Paul Chesterton

Will it be lucky 13 games to come for Norwich City in the race for Championship promotion? CHRIS LAKEY takes a look at what’s on the fixture list...

So, we’re down to decimal points here, as we rely on our calculators and a bit of logic and ignore the footballing fates.

Whisper it, but Norwich City are on to a good thing over the next three months that will see this superb Championship promotion race enter its final furlongs.

Of the top seven sides – and arguably that’s where the promotion race line can be drawn – City have the easiest run-in - if ‘easy’ is the correct terminology to use in a game where anything can and does happen.

So let’s get the ‘easy’ stats out of the way: the average positions of the clubs that the top seven still have to face are:

Emi Buendia feels the pain - injury could be one of the unknown factors that could damage City's promotion hopes 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdEmi Buendia feels the pain - injury could be one of the unknown factors that could damage City's promotion hopes Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City (1st): 14.76

Leeds United (3rd): 14.14

Middlesbrough (5th): 14.07:

Derby (7th): 13.85

Marco Stiepermann celebrates a fine goal at Bolton
 Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdMarco Stiepermann celebrates a fine goal at Bolton Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Sheffield United (2nd): 12.84

West Brom (4th): 12.76.

Just to analyse it a little deeper, City have 13 games remaining, eight of which are against teams currently in the bottom half of the table – Millwall (a), Rotherham (a), QPR (h), Reading (h), Wigan (a), Sheffield Wednesday (h), Stoke (a), Blackburn (h).

Leeds could replace Norwich City at top on Friday night 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdLeeds could replace Norwich City at top on Friday night Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

City face just two of the top seven – Bristol City this coming Saturday before a trip to Middlesbrough at the end of March.

And if you think the run-in begins a little later than February, well, of their final seven fixtures, six are against teams currently in the bottom half of the Championship table.

Remaining fixtures (prefix is current position):

Feb 23: 6-Bristol City (h)

Mar 2: 20-Millwall (a)

Mar 8: 13-Swansea (h)

Mar 13 12-Hull (h)

Mar 16: 22-Rotherham (a)

Mar 30: 5-Middlesbro (a)

Apr 6: 18-QPR (h)

Apr 9: 21-Reading (h)

Apr 13; 19-Wigan (a)

Apr 19: 15-Sheff Wed (h)

Apr 22: 17-Stoke (a)

Apr 27: 14-Blackburn (h)

May 5: 10-Aston Villa (a)

So, there you have it: City are promoted as champions. Fantastic. Rejoice.

But don’t tell Daniel Farke, Stuart Webber or that friendly couple Mr and Mrs Pessimist who have a season ticket in the South Stand. All of the above does not take into account injuries, a dodgy offside decision, a freak result, or an act of god.

If you’re a betting person, keep your money in your pocket. But if you really want to know what the bookies think, here are a few odds, courtesy of Skybet...

Champions: Leeds 13/8, Norwich 15/8, Sheffield United 7/2, West Brom 15/2, Middlesbrough 28/1, Bristol City 40/1, Derby 66/1.

To be promoted: Leeds 4/11, Norwich 4/9, Sheffield United 4/6, West Brom 5/4, Middlesbrough 3/1, Bristol City 5/1, Derby 5/1.

I think City fans would take that...

Projected final table

(compiled by FootballWebPages)

Norwich City 46 26 14 6 88 53 92

West Brom 46 23 16 7 90 52 85

Sheff Utd 46 24 12 10 77 43 84

Leeds 46 23 14 9 71 47 83

Middlesboro 46 21 18 7 46 28 81

Bristol C 46 20 16 10 52 38 76

Derby 46 21 11 14 56 46 74

Nottm Forest 46 18 19 9 59 45 73

Birmingham 46 16 19 11 66 53 67

Hull 46 18 10 18 61 57 64

Brentford 46 17 12 17 66 54 63

Swansea 46 17 12 17 56 51 63

Blackburn 46 17 11 18 55 66 62

Preston 46 16 13 17 64 61 61

Aston Villa 46 14 18 14 71 65 60

Sheff Weds 46 15 14 17 46 61 59

QPR 46 15 10 21 50 62 55

Stoke 46 13 15 18 40 50 54

Wigan 46 14 9 23 39 60 51

Millwall 46 11 14 21 41 60 47

Reading 46 8 16 22 42 62 40

Rotherham 46 6 18 22 40 72 36

Bolton 46 7 9 30 22 64 30

Ipswich 46 4 16 26 31 79 28

Predicted final table

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