Brighton & Hove Albion are unbeaten in 18 successive Championship games and are now looking like dead certs for automatic promotion to the Premier League. With Newcastle United previously favoured to go straight back up as champions under Rafa Benitez, it now looks as though Chris Hughton’s Seagulls could pip the northern club to the title. Can any of the other promotion hopefuls get close to these high flyers or will it be a straight two-horse race?
Brighton have come agonisingly close to reaching the promised land of top-tier football in three of their last four seasons only to lose out in the playoffs. The Seagulls have only ever spent four seasons in the uppermost echelons of English football in their history and have never featured in the Premier League. But they only need to continue what they are doing to ensure they achieve the ultimate goal this season. This incredible form has everyone favouring Brighton for automatic promotion, and football tips sites are advising to back the Seagulls in any fixture.

Newcastle started the campaign in devastating form but recent performances over the Christmas period suggest that the Magpies are not the invincible team that many thought would storm to the title. Benitez’s (see video above) side have lost two of their last three matches, thus allowing Brighton to claim top spot in the division. Hughton’s side now lead the pack by two points and with a game in hand, which is a fantastic position to be in as the league breaks for FA Cup fixtures.
Perhaps further cementing Brighton’s position at the top is their resolute defence and the fact that they have only lost twice in the entirety of the campaign so far. In contrast, Newcastle have already lost seven and have conceded five more goals than Brighton overall. In addition to this, last season’s winners Burnley only suffered five defeats in the whole campaign, highlighting how defensive solidity is key.
It is clear that Newcastle’s position is waning while Brighton’s hold at the top is strengthening. It seems unlikely that the Seagulls will drop out of the title race now, but one of the other challenging teams could force Newcastle out of the top two. Leeds United have been enjoying fine form under Garry Monk, and Reading also mean business under the stewardship of Jaap Stam. Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield Town and Derby County could also be in contention.
The Championship title has seemed like a two-horse race for much of the season but for the second half the battle could be about to intensify. Brighton are in pole position, though, as the other contenders scrap around them.

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