Leeds Utd v Watford
Watford took their place in the Premiership with a 3-0 cruise against Leeds. The lowest playoff crowd for a number of years saw Watford make it through a match that was flattered by its 3-0 scoreline.
On 15th April, with three games of the regular football season still to play, the play off contenders were finalized - Watford, Leeds, Preston and Crystal Palace.
A glance at the current form for the last 6 matches of the regular season shows that Preston were the form team with the others in the middle and Leeds in the bottom half of the table:
|1||Preston North End||6||5||1||0||10||2||8||16||W W W W D W|
|2||Southampton||6||5||0||1||12||5||7||15||W W W W L W|
|3||Reading||6||4||2||0||17||6||11||14||W W D W D W|
|4||Sheffield United||6||3||3||0||8||5||3||12||D W W D D W|
|5||Crewe Alexandra||6||3||2||1||11||7||4||11||W W D D L W|
|6||Coventry City||6||3||2||1||9||6||3||11||L D W D W W|
|7||Sheffield Wednesday||6||3||2||1||6||3||3||11||D L W W D W|
|8||Luton Town||6||2||3||1||7||6||1||9||W D L W D D|
|9||Watford||6||2||3||1||7||7||0||9||L D D W W D|
|10||Norwich City||6||3||0||3||7||8||-1||9||W L L W W L|
|11||Plymouth Argyle||6||2||2||2||6||5||1||8||W D D L L W|
|12||Crystal Palace||6||2||2||2||7||7||0||8||W L D D W L|
|13||Wolverhampton Wanderers||6||2||2||2||6||8||-2||8||L D D L W W|
|14||Stoke City||6||2||1||3||12||9||3||7||D W L L L W|
|15||Hull City||6||1||4||1||5||5||0||7||W L D D D D|
|16||Burnley||6||1||4||1||2||2||0||7||D W D D L D|
|17||Leicester City||6||2||1||3||6||7||-1||7||L W L D W L|
|18||Leeds United||6||1||3||2||3||5||-2||6||L D D D W L|
|19||Brighton and Hove Albion||6||2||0||4||5||11||-6||6||W L W L L L|
|20||Derby County||6||1||2||3||3||11||-8||5||L W D D L L|
|21||Millwall||6||1||1||4||4||10||-6||4||L L D L W L|
|22||Ipswich Town||6||1||0||5||6||11||-5||3||L L L L W L|
|23||Queens Park Rangers||6||0||1||5||6||11||-5||1||L L D L L L|
|24||Cardiff City||6||0||1||5||6||14||-8||1||L L L D L L|
In previous years, those teams with "momentum" or the best points record in the previous 6 matches in terms of current form, have done best. In four football seasons out of six, the team with best or joint best form has won the playoffs. Until Leeds United this season, the club with worst current form has never made it to the playoff final. The final four teams have never had as cumulative a bad current record as the those contesting this year's playoffs.
|Winner||Points||Runner Up||Points||Semi Loser||Points||Semi Loser||Points|
|2004/5||W Ham (6th)||12||Preston||11||Derby||12||Ipswich||9|
|2003/4||Palace (6th)||13||W Ham||11||Ipswich||11||Sund'land||8|
|2002/3||Wolves (5th)||12||Sheff Utd||11||Reading||12||N Forest||6|
|2000/1||Bolton (3rd)||13||Preston||13||Birmham||9||West Brom||6|
The fourth placed team has not won in the last 6 years. Home advantage in the second leg does not seem to have been relevant. Not a single match this year was won by the home team.
For those looking for a flutter on the outcome, who are the favourites?
Current odds with William Hill
Leeds are current favourites. Don't put your shirt on them though! Leeds replica kits are starting to sell like hot cakes at the Leeds club shop.
The final at Cardiff is on Sunday 21 May. All matches live on SkySports.
5th May - Leeds v Preston 1-1
6th May - Palace v Watford 0-3
8th May - Preston v Leeds 0-2
9th May - Watford v Palace 0-0
With Leeds United in the final, demand for playoff tickets will be high. Leeds tickets go on sale on 10th May. Expect "corporate" and "hospitality" tickets to be very expensive.
This is the twentieth season of playoffs to football's highest division. 13 different clubs have won the final, of whom 6 are still in the Premiership. Palace have won the most times (3). Of the other current current contenders, Watford have won once and Leeds and Preston not at all. This was Preston's 3rd appearance in the playoffs in 5 years, having lost out previously to Bolton and West Ham.
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NEWS & QUOTES
Average Crowd 15,450
|Average Crowd 14,619
The form team, fails to make the final and fails to take advantage of playing the second leg against Leeds at home.
|Average Crowd 22,355
Kevin Blackwell says the Preston celebrations at the end of the first leg spurred his Leeds team to victory.
|Average Crowd 19,457
Despite most possession and more chances, never looked like overcoming a 3-0 deficit