Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

There Are Many Ways to Do It, but the Simplest Is Just to Win Our Games; Talking Point

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

There Are Many Ways to Do It, but the Simplest Is Just to Win Our Games; Talking Point

Article excerpt

TWO games, one objective: promotion.

The most basic reading of the summit situation is that if Boro win both their remaining fixtures then they will be in the Premier League.

There is no arguing with that. Beat Birmingham on Friday and follow that up with a final day home victory over Brighton and the long seven-year road to redemption will be over.

But despite the seeming simplicity, there are a still bewildering string of possible permutations in the promotion race going into the final game, several involving goal difference.

Boro currently have a goal difference of plus 32 while Brighton have closed a double digit gap in three games and are now on plus 30. Just two goals in it.

The people who said when you left school you would never need maths again were wrong. In fact, we have all become adept at complex mental arithmetic, quadratic equations and probability theory.

When there were four teams involved and six games for each, the variables were so complex it took NASA numbercrunchers to pick out a possible top two. Then Boro with their game in hand and commanding lead in goal difference ("worth an extra point") looked to be strong favourites but a last-gasp leveller at Burnley and a stalemate against Ipswich have forced a swift recalculation.

My back of an envelope calculations suggest there are nine different possible outcomes that will see Boro promoted, either by winning or drawing when the Seagulls swoop in on D-Day.

1 Win - Win If Boro win at Birmingham and Brighton defeat Derby at home on Bank Holiday Monday AND the goal difference remains more than plus one in Boro's favour - then a draw in the finale will do. Points will be equal but Boro will be promoted on goal difference.

2 Win - Draw If Aitor Karanka's side win away at hoodoo ground St Andrews and Brighton only draw against Derby then a D-Day draw will do. …

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