By Ian S Palmer
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There’s still one more opening in the English Premier League for the 2015/16 season as three teams will be relegated and three promoted from the second-tier Championship League. So far, Queens Park Rangers and Burnley will be dropped to the Championship next term and will be joined by either Hull City or Newcastle United, depending on the season finale results on May 24. As far as promotion goes, the top two teams in the Championship, which were champions Bournemouth and runners-up Watford, earned automatic passage into the top tier.
Middlesbrough vs Norwich City Betting Preview – bet365 has this as a very close match when it comes to the betting odds with Middlesbrough at 19/10 to win this match and Norwich 6/4 and with 90-minute draw at 23/10
The third and final promotion will be decided at London’s famous Wembley Stadium on Monday, May 25 when Middlesbrough takes on Norwich City. Middlesbrough finished the 46-game season in fourth place with 85 points from 25 wins, 10 draws and 11 losses. Norwich City finished one point and one position above them in third place with 25 victories, 11 draws and 10 losses for 86 points. Middlesbrough advanced to the playoff final by beating fifth-place Brentford 5-1 on aggregate in their two-game playoff series. They downed their hosts 2-1 in Brentford before shutting them out 3-0 at home in the return leg at Riverside Stadium.
Norwich City took on sixth-place Ipswich Town in the postseason and took them out 4-2 on aggregate over two legs. The first encounter ended in a 1-1 draw in Ipswich with Norwich posted a 3-1 win in the second leg at home at Carrow Road. Norwich was relegated from the Premier League last season and could return to the top flight after just one campaign in the Championship. Norwich finished the regular season with 88 goals to their name and just 48 against. Middlesbrough was better defensively as they allowed just 37 against, but they struggled offensively by scoring just 68 times.
Middlesbrough heads into the final showdown with three wins, a draw and a loss in their past five games while Norwich has a pair of wins, two draws and a defeat. The two clubs met twice during the regular season with Middlesbrough thumping the Canaries 4-0 at home back on November 4. They also shut Norwich out on the road in their second meeting with a 1-0 win at Carrow Road on April 17. Over the years these teams have met each other a total of 24 times competitively. Middlesbrough has 10 wins while Norwich has six and the other eight ended in a draw. In addition, Middlesbrough has outscored their rivals 38 -23 in those game. To make matters worse for Norwich, they’ve managed just a single win over Middlesbrough in their past 11 encounters. On the bright side, Norwich has lost just twice in their last 21 games overall with a 15-2-5 record.
If the game is tied after 90 minutes the two teams will play 30 minutes of extra time. If it’s still level then it will be decided by a penalty shootout.