With the Championship promotion play-off semi-finals on a knife-edge, could home advantage prove the difference in the second legs?

It’s all to play for in the return fixtures after the first instalments of both semi-finals, at Carrow Road and The Hawthorns respectively, ended goalless.

With the away goals rule now consigned to the dustbin of football history, the semi-finalists – Leeds United, Norwich City, Southampton and West Brom – are on an even keel for the second installment.

So where will the potential advantage come from?

Look no further than the passionate support of home fans, the proverbial 12th man.

Both Leeds United and Southampton will be hoping that their home crowds will spur them on to vital victories when they host Norwich City and West Brom respectively.

Elland Road and St Mary’s are proper football stadiums, unfailingly bouncing on any given match day. Now imagine the atmosphere on the day the hosts will be doing battle with visiting rivals for the right to play for a Premier League berth.

Expect both sets of home fans to be in full voice, doing their utmost to create a raucous atmosphere, turning Elland Road and St Mary’s into cauldrons.

Whites vs Canaries

It’s difficult to say who would be the happier after the goalless draw at Carrow Road last Sunday. Ideally, Norwich City would have wanted a first-leg advantage, however slim, ahead of the daunting trip to Elland Road.

While Leeds United had one of the better home records during the regular campaign, the Canaries were notoriously poor travelers over the whole piece. The Whites dropped just 16 points at home this season, while the Canaries collected a paltry 24 points on their travels.

It’s not surprising, therefore, that Daniel Farke’s men are many people’s favourites to prevail on home turf against a side they have already beaten twice during the regular season.

Considering Leeds United finished the season 17 points ahead of Norwich City, it would be a real kick in the teeth, a footballing travesty, if the Whites missed out on at least a trip to Wembley Stadium.

Saints vs Baggies

Southampton, just like Leeds United against Norwich City, completed the double over West Brom this season, but could not make it a hat-trick of victories at the Hawthorns on Sunday.

However, the Saints will fancy their chances on their St Mary’s home turf as they look to keep their dream of an instant return to the Premier League alive.

When all is said and done, the much-vaunted home advantage does not always translate into an advantage on the pitch. On the day, form and history go out the window.

Two Cup finals

After a goalless 180 minutes of first leg football, the Championship promotion play-off second legs approximate cup finals. Two winners must emerge and face off on May 26 for the big prize.

The ties could not be any more delicately poised. All four contestants have an equal chance of advancing to Wembley Stadium en route to the Promised Land.

Q: In football, what does the term ‘12th man’ mean?
A: Home supporters

Q: How many points did Leeds United drop at home during the 2023-24 season?
A: 16

Q: Which four teams are in the Championship promotion play-offs?
A: Leeds United, Norwich City, Southampton and West Brom.

Q. What is Leeds United’s home ground called?
A: Elland Road

Q: Which football club’s home ground is named The Hawthorns?
A: West Brom

Q: Where do Norwich City play their home matches?
A: Carrow Road

Q: Which Championship football club play their home matches at St Mary’s?
A: Southampton

Q: The Baggies is a nickname for which football club?
A: West Brom

Q: Where will the 2023-24 Championship promotion play-off final be played?
A: Wembley Stadium


I'm Barrie Jarrett, born in Leeds, lived over a decade in South Africa, CEO And Co Founder of Planet Sport Limited and Planet Bet Limited.

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