Date:Wednesday May 3 2006
Leeds United are the team Crystal Palace will be hoping to avoid in the playoffs according to a vitalfootball poll. Asked who would be Palace's toughest opponent 55% of respondents said Leeds, 26% Preston and 19% said Watford.
Palace play Watford in the first leg of their semi-final on Saturday at Selhurst Park, with the return leg scheduled for the following Tuesday. The mechanics of the draw guarantee a final between teams favouring different philosophies.
While it is over-simplistic to say that this playoff campaign will be characterised by a battle between the pragmatic North and the hedonistic South statistics do lend this perspective substance.
Watford and Palace have scored more goals this season; Preston and Leeds have conceded fewer. All four teams strive to play what by Championship standards equates to 'good' football, but with varying degrees of optimism.
Whoever emerges triumphant at Cardiff on May 21st will care little for aesthetics however. Pessimism aside, the glass of the victors will be much more than half full.
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|Crystal Palace||0||-||1||Man City|
|Crystal Palace||2||-||1||Aston Villa|
|1. Man City||8||6||0||2||12||18|
|3. Man Utd||8||5||1||2||4||16|
|4. Crystal Palace||8||5||0||3||4||15|
|5. Leicester City||8||4||3||1||2||15|
|6. West Ham||8||4||2||2||6||14|
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