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League Focus: Inescapable Inconsistency Set to Decide Championship Promotion Race

Betting Statistics | Article posted on March 3rd, 2015

If those in power at the Championship’s promotion-chasing clubs needed any more reason to motivate their players as the season approaches its final quarter, a £5.1bn television deal will have whetted their appetites for the big time sufficiently. And yet, it seems the players chasing the top spots are ready to throw away their chances. Just 8 points now separate the top 8 teams, with erratic form all too pervasive. This weekend saw the top seven take only 7 points between them as 4 were defeated in another typically inconsistent and unpredictable set of results.Eddie Howe’s early season front runners, Bournemouth, have taken fewer points from their last 5 matches (3) than any other team in the league other than rock-bottom, doomed Blackpool (2), after having taken 57 points from their first 29 matches and looking odds-on for one of the automatic promotion spots. The goals that previously flowed so freely have started to dry up; top scorer Callum Wilson is without a goal in 4 matches, and when he isn’t scoring he provides little else. His WhoScored rating over those matches is a meagre 6.27, compared to a seasonal average of 7.15. Matt Richie, meanwhile, who is top of the Championship for assists this season (12), has created only 1 goal in his last 11 matches. The team’s standout performers are, somewhat understandably, struggling to maintain form over the course of the marathon 46-match season. They have fallen to fifth, while the likes of Norwich and Watford, two of the league’s more in-form sides, move the other way.The Canaries have gone from strength to strength since appointing Alex Neil as manager in January. They have won 8, drawn 1 and lost only 1 of the 10 matches he has taken charge of, and now having won their last 6 games in a row are just 3 points off top spot. An Old Farm derby victory over Ipswich on Sunday to usurp them in the table could well be considered a high point of the season so far, though they look good value to reach even greater heights.Neil hasn’t made widespread changes to the personnel, instead turning things around with the players available to him. Bradley Johnson has been key, contributing 10 goals from central midfield, while they also have 3 strikers scoring fairly consistently, with Cameron Jerome (16), Lewis Grabban (12) and Gary Hooper (9) sharing the burden to the extent that they always seem to have an in-form striker available. They are clearly getting into better goalscoring positions, scoring more goals under Neil than before (2.2 per game compared to 1.8) from fewer shots (14.5 per game down from 17.2). At the other end, too, they are shipping

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