Permutation time!

Ah, springtime; and with it, the annual return of that weird-looking word you never see at any time of the season – the one which basically means “if x happens, then y needs this to happen”. Placed in a footballing context, it’s generally to do with promotion, relegation and European places; which we’ll look at today with focus on the Premier League and Championship.

Permutation time!

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April 26th, 2013

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Man United have already sealed the Premier League title and will receive a guard of honour from Arsenal on Sunday’s game at the Emirates stadium; Arsene Wenger has expressed his wish to uphold footballing tradition and will see it served accordingly ahead of kick-off.

While Man City has sewn up the second Champions League spot, three London teams are in hot pursuit of the final two places: Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs. The team finishing fifth should hopefully be able to console themselves with a Europa League place.

As for relegation, two of the likely favourites face each other at the weekend, as bottom side Reading takes on second-bottom QPR. With only one goal separating the two – and both ten points from safety – it’s still mathematically possible for the winners of this match to escape; equally dooming for the losers, although it’ll be a moot point entirely if Villa wins against Sunderland the day after, sending both teams back to the Championship.

Cardiff City will play their first ever Premier League season after winning the Championship title last weekend; fans will have two more chances to celebrate with games against Bolton and Hull; both of whom are strongly involved in the promotion picture.

With two rounds remaining, the Tigers can secure automatic promotion by basically not losing at Oakwell on Saturday; another moot point if third-placed Watford lose at play-off outsiders Leicester tonight. Brighton, Palace and Bolton are the other likely sides in the semis.

Bristol City have been relegated from the Championship already; while their match at Charlton on the final day should be a dead rubber, tomorrow’s match at home to Huddersfield could prove crucial in the relegation battle. Two of Peterborough, Wolves and Barnsley will likely join Bristol as of tomorrow, although it could yet be squeaky-bum time for the Terriers.

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