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Premier League: The Relegation Dogfight is Coming

While Winter has been coming for a while, the Relegation battles have just begun.

Black Seats Fulham by Kinolamp is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Premier League: The Relegation Dogfight is Coming

Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Away from the top of the table, the relegation battle is starting to simmer nicely.

Huddersfield are rooted to the bottom with 11 points from 22 games, scoring a meager 13 goals in the process. Manager David Wagner left the club on January 14 after the goalless draw with Cardiff by “mutual consent,” which (for once) does not seem to be code for getting sacked.

Irrespective of whether or not that is the case, the team are in serious trouble and little things like being awarded a penalty away from home and then having it overturned by the assistant referee are normally a good indicator as to how your season is going. Huddersfield are three points behind Fulham and eight points from safety, so it is a safe bet to assume that (barring a miracle) they will be playing in the Championship next season.

Fulham must also be thinking that their luck must turn soon.

It takes a special set of skills to lose a match to an opponent that doesn’t have a shot on target in 90 minutes. After taking the lead within 90 seconds away at Burnley, the Fulham defense scored two own goals in the space of three minutes, which eventually resulted in a 2-1 victory for the home side.

Having spent a bunch of cash in the summer, owner Shahid Khan must have thought that mid-table obscurity was achievable, but his team have been fairly crap since day one, amassing 14 points and letting in 49 goals.The obvious answer is to raid the transfer market (again) in January, but there is no guarantee that new recruits will make the difference before the end of the season.

Despite the defeat, Fulham boss Claudio Ranieri was upbeat … losing the plot perhaps, but he certainly succeeded in hiding how annoyed he really was.

“Football is fantastic. We deserved more but that’s football,” he said, after the game. “They had three chances and scored two own goals. We are alive, we never give up and we continue to fight. I am satisfied with our performance. We knew it would be a battle, they won so they are right and we are wrong.”

Yep, Burnley is a long way to go for two own goals

The shot-less win saw Burnley move up to 15th spot, and there is now four points separating Palace in 14th and Newcastle in 18th. Southampton and Cardiff both have 19 points so far, with Newcastle dropping into the bottom three after their defeat at Chelsea.

If I was putting money on which teams would get relegated in May, then I would have to say that history is against both newly-promoted teams (Cardiff and Fulham) and Newcastle.

Since their “success” in the mid-90’s and the early naughties (defined as losing a double-digit lead to Manchester United in 1995/96 and finishing in the top five between 2001 and 2004), the Toon Army have struggled in the top flight and have suffered relegation twice in the last 10 years. Granted, they bounced back at the first attempt both times, but they are still considered to be one of the big clubs (by their fans, at least) and have a stadium that is on a par with most—if not all—of the Big Six.

,With that in mind, there is a small gap beginning to develop in the bottom half of the table, with Brighton, Bournemouth, and Everton sitting on 26, 27 and 27 points, respectively. To put that into context, Wolves are 10th with 29 points while West Ham (9th) and Leicester (8th) are unlikely to get dragged into a relegation fight this season.

Dave is a journalist, writer and blogger who moved to Boston MA from London to 2009. In his previous lives he has worn a suit to work, run a small and unprofitable record label, managed a heavy metal band and gained a degree in Media Communications at the age of 37. Dave is quite keen on Tottenham Hotspur, the England national football team, the Boston Red Sox and the Boston Bruins. Dave also has a soft spot for the New York Mets ... as he believes that all sport revolves around fan-focused misery. With that in mind, he has no interest in the New England Patriots or Manchester City.

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