EFL Promotion Playoff Predictions

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Championship

Brentford  (87 points/ 37 goal differential)  v Bournemouth (77 points/ 27 goal differential)
12/13/20 2-1 Brentford 
4/24/21 1-0 Brentford

Last time that Brentford were in the top flight, the Premier League was almost 50 years from even being created.  Regardless of points and goal differential, this almost makes them the under-dog in my eyes. My belief is that they will eliminate Bournemouth in the semi-finals with an aggregate score of 4-2.

Swansea (80 points/ 17 goal differential) v Barnsley (78 points/ 8 goal differential)
12/19/20 2-0 Swansea
1/16/21 2-0 Swansea

This season’s head to head between these two clubs was very one sided.  Barnsley had a good showing with their 78 points, but I just don’t think they have the power or depth of squad to take out Swansea.  Swansea will win 3-1 on aggregate and go to take on Brentford in the Championship playoff finals. 

The Finals – Brentford v Swansea

11/3/2020 1-1 Draw
1/27/2021 1-1 Draw

Brentford has famously struggled in the EFL playoffs.  They own the record with the most failed attempts with 9.  The head to head between them and Swansea could not have been more evenly matched though.  As a result of Brentford’s high powered attack (79 goals for compared to Swansea’s 56), I believe this is the FINALLY the year that they break through and reach the top flight once again for their first ever season in the Premier League next year. 

League One

Blackpool (80 points/ 23 goal differential) v Oxford United (74 points/ 21 goal differential)
12/12/20 0-0 Draw
3/20/21 2-0 Blackpool

Oxford United is a club with a solid potential.  Were they facing either of the other two clubs in these playoffs, they might even have a good chance of advancing.  Too bad for Oxford that they are facing a Blackpool squad that looks as good as it has in years.  Yes, they had the fewest goals scored amongst the four playoff clubs, but Blackpool also had the fewest allowed.  It will be a tightly contested semi-final with Blackpool advancing with a 3-2 aggregate.  Expect Oxford to be back in the playoffs next year.

Sunderland (77 points/ 28 goal differential) v Lincoln City (77 points/ 19 goal differential)
12/12/20 4-0 Sunderland
3/20/21 1-1 Draw

Sunderland has a spot in my heart.  They aren’t one of my favorite clubs out there, but with their Netflix docu-series, you can see and feel what their fans have been going through the past few seasons.  Things may possibly be “on the up and up” for Sunderland going forward.  Back in February,  they got a new chairman in 23 year old Kyril Louis-Dreyfus, heir to a multi-billion pound fortune.  He seems, to me, to be a better fit than Stewart Donald was. 

With all of the money and resources Kyril has, I anticipate Sunderland making some key signings this off season.  For now, they’re up against a Lincoln City squad that many are saying could “upset” them and end their hopes of promotion.  I do not believe this to be what will happen.  It will be close, just like the other League One playoff, but Sunderland takes this one.  3-1 aggregate score to set up a final between Blackpool and Sunderland.

The Finals – Blackpool v Sunderland

4/17/21 1-0 Blackpool
4/27/21 1-0 Blackpool

Expect this to be a great game.  Not a whole lot of scoring, but action for the full 90.  Is this the year Sunderland fans finally get what they have been in search of for the past few years, or do they experience heart break yet again.  The more I think about it, the more I feel like Sunderland finally breaks through and gets back to the Championship.  1-0 for the final score, with the goal coming anywhere after the 75th minute.

League Two

Morecambe (78 points/ 11 goal differential) v Tranmere Rovers (73 points/ 5 goal differential)

10/31/20 1-0 Morecambe
1/30/21 1-0 Tranmere

Morecambe surprised me this year.  They started out towards the top of the table and they managed to stay up there, missing out on automatic promotion by only one point.  There are games where Morecambe look amazing, but also games where they look flat and get beat 4-0.  They will have a tough time handling a Tranmere team that knows what it takes to win a promotion playoff, doing so at the end of the 2018-19 campaign (a 1-0 victory over Newport County).  If I’m being 100% honest, this one will be “too close to call”.  3-3 aggregate with Morecambe winning 4-3 on a penalty kick shoot out.

Newport County (73 points/ 15 goal differential) v Forest Green Rovers (73 points/ 8 goal differential)

12/1/20 1-1 Draw
2/21/21 2-0 Forest Green

Newport County have been close to promotion for a couple of years now.  Their attack has been potent this year and they have looked good towards the end of this year.  Look for them to avenge their 2-0 loss to Forest Green during their two match playoff contest.  Newport takes this on a 3-1 aggregate to set up a finals against Morecambe.

The finals – Morecambe v Newport County

12/5/20 2-1 Newport County 3/13/21 3-1 Newport County

The more I look at this potential contest, the more I see Newport County winning it. They have been the better of the two teams (table aside) and they have been to the playoffs recently so they know what to expect. The game will go 1-1 at the half, but Newport County have a great second half and put down Morecambe 3-1.

Predictions from outside of SCLP

I involved a number of people outside of SCLP in this year’s promotion playoff predictions.  They have varying levels of soccer knowledge and some just picked teams because of the names. The results of my survey are listed below.  Who do you think will be the closest?

  • Sean MacKinnon of Soccer Banditz : In the Championship, Brentford over Bournemouth and Swansea over Barnsley in the semi-finals.  Swansea over Brentford in the finals.
    In League One, Blackpool over Oxford United and Sunderland over Lincoln City in the semi-finals.  Blackpool over Sunderland in the finals.
    In League Two, Morecambe over Tranmere Rovers and Forest Green Rovers over Newport County in the semi-finals.  Forest Green Rovers over Morecambe in the finals.
  • Sean Cronin of Soccer Banditz : In the Championship, Bournemouth over Brentford and Barnsley over Swansea in the semi-finals.  Barnsley over Bournemouth in the finals.
    In League One, Blackpool over Oxford United and Lincoln City over Sunderland in the semi-finals. Lincoln City over Blackpool in the finals. 
    In League Two, Tranmere Rovers over Morecambe and Forest Green Rovers over Newport County in the semi-finals.  Forest Green Rovers over Tranmere Rovers in the finals.
  • Brendan Wilson of Soccer Banditz : This set of predictions was kept brief.  Brentford over Bournemouth in the Championship finals.  Sunderland over Oxford United in the League One finals.  Newport County over Morecambe in the League Two finals.
  • Tucker Patterson of Soccer Banditz : In the Championship, Bournemouth over Brentford and Barnsley over Swansea in the semi-finals.  Bournemouth over Barnsley in the finals.
    In League One, Blackpool over Oxford United and Lincoln City over Sunderland in the semi-finals.  Blackpool over Lincoln City in the finals.
    In League Two, Morecambe over Tranmere Rovers and Forest Green Rovers over Newport County in the semi-finals.  Forest Green Rovers over Morecambe in the finals.
  • Melissa (my wife/dislikes soccer) : Brentford, Blackpool, and Tranmere to gain promotion
  • Serena Paris (model/twitch streamer) : Bournemouth, Blackpool, and Forest Green Rovers to gain promotion
  • Morgan D (co-worker and friend) : Barnsley, Blackpool, and Forest Green Rovers gain promotion.

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