Newcastle United and Brighton going head to head on the final day of the season, with the top two places still to be decided.
It couldn’t have worked out any better really.
Obviously Newcastle going up was the only show in town but Chris Hughton filling the other automatic promotion slot was the overwhelming choice of most United fans.
Even the fact it has all gone to the last day is a bonus, with something resting on the last game of the season at St James Park – the only way it could have been better maybe, was if it was Newcastle a point ahead and knowing for sure that victory in the 46th game of the season would ensure being champions.
However, when you look at pretty much every statistic, then it seems to point towards Newcastle still finishing on top.
The bookies make Brighton marginal favourites but have a look at these stats:
Brighton have never won at Aston Villa in their entire history. They have played there 10 times and drawn two of them, with eight losses.
Barnsley are probably just about the ideal team to be playing at this stage, nothing to play for and in mid-table, players looking forward to lying on a beach.
Maybe you could claim the same about Villa but they are playing in front of their own fans and after a very disappointing season they will be very much expected to put on a final day show.
Barnsley have had shocking form since the transfer window ended in January, that saw them lose arguably their two best players…to Villa. In the 16 games since January, Barnsley have only won two, with eight draws and six losses.
Aston Villa are actually in excellent form, at least at home. Since losing to Newcastle 2-0 at St James Park on 20 February, Villa have won six of their seven home games and kept clean sheets in six of the seven as well.
Brighton have obviously shown that they are a decent team and well capable of beating any team in this division.
However, everything points to Newcastle having a game they should definitely win, whilst Brighton have a very difficult final day game, that sees them facing a team that will be desperate to impress.
An interesting final day with no pressure – but a potential prize at the end of it.
A perfect day and a 12 noon kick-off meaning a long Sunday stretching ahead to celebrate in the city centre. It’s what end of season games are made for.
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