What is there to say about tomorrow evening? All Addicks will already have the permutations left imprinted in their minds and we’re all aware that we may end the day still not knowing if we will be relegated or not. No pain no gain? Perhaps. We know there’s going to be plenty of pain, for us fans and for the players, who will have to work the legs off Leeds if we are to prevail. So let’s stick to what we (think we) know – and please correct me if any of the following is wrong!
As far as points deductions are concerned, what I believe from the EFL statement and other posts/reports is that we can forget about Sheff Wed or Derby dropping into the mix for this season. If their disciplinary commissions give either/both a points deduction sufficient to put them in the bottom three, they appeal. Irrespective of the outcome of an appeal, the process would take us beyond the mid-August EFL AGM, which I’m led to believe marks the formal end of the season. So any points deductions would apply next season, not this. I think it’s pretty safe to assume that they would appeal if the alternative is relegation (and that they won’t bother if they are safe).
Wigan’s situation is different. They will end tomorrow’s games outside the bottom three and so will take a 12-points deduction for going into administration. But that deduction is subject to an appeal, scheduled for 31 July. If Wigan end tomorrow’s games outside the bottom three even with the 12 points deducted, they drop the appeal. Otherwise, whoever ends up fourth from bottom will have to wait longer for finality. Of course if Wigan end tomorrow night in the bottom three and go on to win an appeal against the points deduction, presumably the club set to be relegated instead of them will be exploring (quickly) every available legal avenue.
We know that if we win at Leeds we are safe (conceivably there is still our own EFL investigation, but we could pull the appeal trick too). Obviously if we don’t win we can forget about anyone above us (not including Wigan). If we draw, we will be relegated (along with Hull and Barnsley) if Luton and Wigan both win their games. If we draw and Luton do not win, we are safe (Hull, Barnsley, Luton/Wigan). If we draw, Luton win but Wigan do not, we would occupy that fourth from bottom spot and stay up if Wigan’s appeal is rejected (Barnsley could match our points total but surely not overturn the goal difference under this scenario).
If we lose, we require either Luton to lose and Barnsley not to win (in which case we are safe, period) or Wigan and Barnsley not to win (fourth-bottom again, waiting on the appeal). So although Barnsley’s game is still material, for us it only comes into play if we lose, enabling Barnsley to go above us if they win. Of course if we lose and Barnsley win, we still stay up if Luton lose and Wigan do not win (fourth-bottom again).
If I had the time I’d do a proper critical path analysis. But putting odds on these games is the bookies’ business. Some salient factors could be that if West Brom are winning 6-0 at half-time at home to QPR and have secured automatic promotion, will Fulham and Brentford continue to bust a gut? It is a worry, so let’s hope QPR do us a favour (whether or not they stop West Brom from going up is irrelevant here, they need to be in with a shout to keep Fulham and Brentford interested).
There’s no point either in deliberating on how up for the game Leeds will be. We have a greater motivation than them, it’s a fact. We have to make sure we capitalise on that and run them into the ground. At the same time we’ve developed a nasty habit of starting games pretty poorly. At Birmingham we could easily have been a couple down in the first 10 minutes, we also gave Reading and Wigan a goal start. Cannot have that tomorrow night, let's be at it from the start. We have all summer to rest up, one more effort.