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