It is surprising that a city the size of Bristol has not had a team play in the Premier League before but that could all change with the season Bristol City are having. The red side of Bristol have been the talk of the season with Lee Johnson’s men having caused upsets in the league and the League Cup. But will they grace the top flight for the first time since the late 1970s?
After finishing 17th last season, they are currently occupying a play-off place in the Championship among some of the early season favourites such as Fulham, Aston Villa and Derby County. Not many people would have expected them to rise so high in the table, but they are mixing it up with the big boys.
A lot of the credit this season goes to their impressive ability to convert from set pieces. With the height of captain Aden Flint and the set-piece ability of Jamie Paterson; the Robins have prospered. Flint has converted seven goals this term, and in turn, Paterson has the same amount of assists to his name.
However, their ability to see out games has been their own undoing; especially in recent weeks. Having held a 2-0 lead over Leeds United, they fell to a 2-2 draw. This was on the back of having taken a 3-0 lead over bottom side Sunderland and somehow managing to throw it away and succumb to a 3-3 draw. These results could hurt them in their push for promotion.
Lee Johnson usually plays a solid 4-4-2 formation allowing his side to play two strikers up front and with the form of top goal scorer Bobby Reid it makes sense for them to play as many up front. Reid has a great ability to hold up the ball, and with another striker, Bristol can be really dangerous. Famara Diedhiou has been his partner recently, and with four goals in his past six games, his inclusion is proving vital with their push to make the Premier League.
The former Barnsley boss is an up and coming manager who is a really likeable character. Despite a recent slump in their form, Johnson is adamant he will make things right. He takes responsibility for losses rather than making excuses about anything or everything. He is willing to learn the ins and outs of the game to progress as a manager. If Bristol City do fail to make the Premier League this year, the board will struggle to keep hold of their manager with plenty of Premier League or higher end Championship clubs looking at his CV.
With the form letting the side down at the moment, they will be annoyed to find themselves as low as 6th. This slump could prove detrimental to their push for promotion and Johnson will have to get his men ready for the final few games of the season if they are to consolidate their play-off place. It is nearly impossible for them to be promoted automatically and they find themselves five points behind Fulham in 5th place, but if they manage to rediscover their form, they could safely get a play-off place. If they have a good run of form until the end of the season, then that form can carry them through the playoff semi-final and final at Wembley.
It will be a tough ask, but with Johnson at the helm, Bristol City have a superb chance of making the Premier League for the first time in their history.