The final Saturday of 2017 promises to be a cracker, and we’re hopeful of celebrating in style by ending the year with a 5/1 winner.
We’ve picked teams from each of the EFL leagues to end 2017 with three points. If they can live up to expectations, our NYE weekend celebrations will be better than ever. Here are our selections.
Birmingham City v Leeds United
Championship strugglers Birmingham have picked up just two points from the last seven matches, and are starting to show signs that they could become cut adrift from the safety zone. Even if the Blues are capable of turning things around, there’s a good chance they will struggle to do that against an in-form Leeds.
The visitors are on a six game unbeaten run, winning each of their last four, and Thomas Christiansen’s men will be eager to register another victory as they visit St Andrews. A strong defence, couple with a midfield and attacking unit that can score from all directions, should give them a fantastic chance.
Unlike Leeds, who have the likes of Kemar Roofe, Samuel Saiz, and Egzijan Alioski, Birmingham are without any frequent scorers. Steve Cotterill’s men have scored just 12 in 24, conceding 35 at the other end. Those stats would point towards another loss against promotion-chasing opposition.
Away wins don’t come easy in the Championship, but Leeds are more than capable of getting one here.
Portsmouth v Northampton Town
A run of four wins in five has seen Pompey climb up to seventh in the League One table and they could yet end the year in the play-off zone. While they’ll need Peterborough to drop point for that to happen, Kenny Jackett’s men should be ready to complete their part with a home win against Northampton.
Portsmouth are scoring goals from several sources, but have Brett Pitman as their talismanic striker. A return of 18 goals in 12 home games should inspire confidence at Fratton Park, especially as the visitors have shipped 23 in their 12 away games.
In truth, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s men have been poor at both ends of the pitch, scoring just 19 goals in 24 games overall. With just one win in nine competitive games to their name, a run that includes a 2-0 EFT loss at Portsmouth, it’s hard to see them causing an upset in this one.
Back Pompey to end the year in style.
Lincoln City v Forest Green Rovers
The final round of fixtures sees the two teams promoted from last season’s National League do battle at Sincil Bank and, while Lincoln are currently on course for a second promotion in two years, Forest Green enter the clash knowing that a loss will see them end 2017 bottom of the EFL. Unfortunately for the visitors, it seems likely that the result will go to form.
An improved run in October and early November looked to have given Mark Cooper’s men a renewed sense of belief but it’s now four defeats in five for the visitors. Even with the goals of Christian Doidge, the Green Devils aren’t likely to score that many. Given their defensive vulnerabilities, this could be a major problem.
Lincoln have shipped just eight home goals, losing only two of 12 matches. Perhaps more impressively, Danny Cowley’s men have picked up 13 points from the last five games, keeping four clean sheets in the process. Should they perform like they have been once more, another three points should be on the cards.
It won’t be as easy as the gap in the table suggests, but Lincoln would be out pick for the victory.