Often Partisan

The Playoff Picture

With four games left to go in the Npower Championship, the playoff picture is looking a little more clear-cut – and thanks to ten points in an eleven day period Blues are now firmly ensconced in the top six.

Whilst automatic promotion is not quite completely mathematically out of the question for Blues, we are at the stage where it would rely on the sort of freaky set of results that you can pretty much rule it out. Thus the battle now for Blues is to secure 4th place or better so that they can get home advantage in the second leg of the playoff semi final – which if a match goes down to extra time and penalties can be the decisive factor.

At the moment the mathematically secure points tally to secure a top six position is 76 points, which means currently only West Ham, Southampton and Reading are guaranteed a minimum of a playoff place. Thus Blues, who are on seventy points currently need two wins to guarantee their slot from their remaining four games although I suspect it’s entirely possible that a win against relegation-threatened Bristol City at the weekend will do it.

The three point cushion to Blackpool in fifth and five points to Cardiff in sixth hopefully mean Blues won’t have to do much to confirm their slot in the top four; there has been a lot said about Bristol City being Blues’ 57th game but Cardiff’s trip away to Barnsley will be their 52nd; they too have faltered of late drawing five of their last six games and I think it’s eminently possible that they may fall out of the picture. I have to admit, this is something I’d be happy about as I think an evening playoff semi in the Welsh capital would be a tough game to win; I’d fancy our chances more at the Riverside, the King Power or the KC stadium.

The finishing line is in sight; one last frenzied three game week before the swan song against Reading at St Andrews to cap the month off. If Blues can repeat the performance alone of the previous four games they will no doubt sitting pretty when the lottery of the playoffs begins. I’ve doubted Blues at times but they’ve shown their mettle and proved that they are up there with the best that this division has to offer. Here’s hoping we do extend the season to 63, and go on to extend our winning sequence at the twin towers.

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20 Responses to “The Playoff Picture”

  • Adam says:

    I would expect us to beat bristol city and with Cardiff away at Barnsley this is a chance to break away from the pack

  • Bluenose Greg says:

    My big worry for the play offs is Leicester….theyve been on my radar for months…..and sure enough they are coming good at the right time! They have a relatively easy run in to……I’d be a lot happier if they missed out!!

  • Julian Glass says:

    I fear that our poor form against the division’s ‘better’ teams will ultimately be our downfall. I see us losing to WHAFC in the semi or final. I can’t shift this sense of foreboding after the last 45 minutes.

  • Lord Shapla says:

    We ain’t going to finish 6th, which means we can only play West Ham in the final. We will finish 4th or 5th, meaning we will have either Blackpool Cardiff Brighton or Middlesborough in the semi, as will West Ham. It’s all dependant on whether West Ham’s innovative tactics get them into the final or not.

  • BobbyBlue says:

    You’ve gotta love the play-offs! I agree, a second leg at home is massive. Particularly as it is an evening game – much better atmosphere. I’d back us to beat anyone at St Andrews and I think others will certainly want to avoid playing us. Lets hope we maintain this form and make the playoffs with some momentum behind us! In Hughton we trust. KRO

  • pierre says:

    does anybody think we should rest any players or play our strongest team right up(hopefully)to the play off final.

    • Daddyblue says:

      Yes Pierre, once we have made sure of our play off place nobody should play more than once a week and use all 3 subs earlier. Can i just ask you Pierre, what is a Frenchman doing supporting the Blues? Kro4ever

  • Oldbluenose says:

    The outcome surely will depend on the fitness of our players,?. Carr, Spector [ now ramage ] still injured, Pablo, also,!!.
    Midfield also problematic, with N’daw and Gomes, semmingly on the injury list also.
    Amongst the forwards though, it seems a clean bill of health at the moment, [ something we doubted a few weeks ago ]

  • NooBloo says:

    Having played home and away legs in Europe will have been good experience for Birmingham and be helpful when it comes to the play offs. CH is a very good tactician himself so I think we will win the play offs

  • KRO21 says:

    (First time post) I don’t know whether its because Blues have over achieved in terms of my own personal expectations for the season but it will be the first time (should we secure the playoff’s) that I’d be fairly relaxed going into them!

    Previously there was a desperation to reach the PL but should the (what seemed) impossible happen it would be great. However I can’t see CH being gifted a massive chequebook, so even if we didn’t progress, another season of rebuilding in my opinion wouldn’t be disastrous.

  • bluenose08 says:

    After the busy easter schedule the lads are going to feel a bit tired and that is where us the fans come in. We have to cheer them on over the finishing line and lets hope we get a good crowd on saturday.

  • PhilC says:

    A stat worth considering. The team finishing 4th has only won the play-offs once in the last 19 years. Leicester 93/94, they came straight back down.

  • Johnners says:

    I’d like to agree with KRO21. This season is already an outstanding success for Chris Hughton and the team. If we go up via the play offs then of course that would be the icing on the cake BUT do we really want to be in the Prem without a cheque book and with Chris Hughton on everyone’s shopping list? I’ve enjoyed winning games and watching goals flying in this year with an attacking flair – another season of that next year is fine by me.

  • andy says:

    Being competative all season in Europe, FA Cup and then finishing the season in a play off position will be an outstanding season irrespective of whether Blues win promotion or not.

  • Berkshire Blue says:

    Our goal difference is well superior to all the play off contenders bar the top three teams so I would expect 73 points to be enough to get us into the playoffs and 76 or 77 to secure a top four slot. However I would agree with Julian’s comment that our form against the top teams is a potential concern for the play offs themselves. If you look at our performances against the top half teams in the league this season (statto.com) our record is inferior to all the play off contenders bar Brighton. Ominously ,on this measure, Leicester have the second best record behind Southampton.

    • viperblue says:

      Blackpool win and draw,Middlesbro’ win -loss,Leicester win-,loss,Brighton draw-?
      Cardiff loss-drawso from my reckonning we are as good as anyone in contention.
      (losses to Cardiff & Middlesbro came after European weeks)

  • Swedish Bluenose says:

    The most spectacular thing would be if Reading stumble and West Ham win games and the last match for us will be against Reading at home in a match that they absolutely have to win to gain automatic promotion. Then, if we beat Reading, West Ham will go up and Reading will have a hangover in the play-offs. Perhaps just a dream, but it could be a possible scenario. With football you never know …

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