EPL relegation roulette: two slots filled, one slot pending

Fulham FC players walking off the field after a 0-1 victory over Bournemouth
Fulham FC players walking off the field after a 0-1 victory over Bournemouth

The fans at Craven Cottage were on the seventh heaven when Fulham secured back to back wins against Everton FC and away at Bournemouth this month. These victories came rather late as Scott Parker's team are relegated from the Premier League and the London-based club will compete in the Championship the next season.

Fulham had returned to the Premier League after four years since their relegation to the lower tier at the end of season 2013-2014. Signings such as Aleksandar Mitrovic, Andre Schurrle, Joe Bryan and the others failed to make an impact in the league and owner Shahid Khan sacked two managers, one of which was Claudio Ranieri who won the PL with Leicester City FC three seasons ago.

On the other hand, Wolverhampton Wanderers who were promoted with Fulham FC last season have done exceptionally well under Nuno Espirito Santo. The deadly duo of Diogo Jota and Raul Giminez has terrorized oppositions including heavyweights like Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United.

Another team which got relegated this time out was Huddersfield. They earned their promotion to the Premier League for the first time in season 2017-2018. 'The Terries' as they are fondly referred to, just scraped three victories in the 34 games they played. It is one of the worst performances by a bottom-placed team in the league.

With two teams already relegated, Cardiff City FC currently sits in the 18th position. Neil Warnock side has tried their level best maintain their place in the league next season. The Welsh side finally tasted victory against relegation contenders Brighton and Hove Albion in a 0-2 thrashing at the American Express Community Stadium.

Previously, the manager and the players were left fuming on the pitch as Chelsea snatched a narrow win at the Cardiff City stadium. Neil Warnock blamed the referee and the linesmen for the error of judgment and went on to say, "It is the best league in the world and has the worst officials."

Neil Warnock and Chris Hughton embracing each other before kick-off at the American Express Community Stadium.
Neil Warnock and Chris Hughton embracing each other before kick-off at the American Express Community Stadium.

Chris Hughton's would not be sitting comfortably in the bench this weekend when his side takes on a fairly dominant Tottenham in midweek. It is a must-win game for the Seagulls to secure their hopes of playing in the Premier League next season. And with Warnock and his men knocking at their footsteps, it is time that players like Jahanbakhsh and Knockaert deliver pop up with goals away from home just as they did against bitter rivals Crystal Palace.

Southwards in Hampshire, Southampton had a tough start and only salvaged one victory in the first half of the season. An Austrian coach named Ralph Hassenhuttl was appointed as manager after sacking 3 managers in a span of a year. Their fortunes changed as the men from the city overlooking the British Isles beat Leicester, Huddersfield Town, Tottenham, and even Arsenal. The Saints play Watford in midweek who have a strong team who qualified for the FA Cup finals. With Troy Deeney as their talisman, this one could be a thriller.

Sean Dyche's Burnley side salvaged a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge last night. A wonder goal from Jeff Hendricks opened the scoreline before Kante tapped in from an assist off Hazard's foot, and Higuain blasted one which hit the inside of the woodwork and went straight in. Barnes then scored in the 24th minute to restore parity.

Burnley currently sits in 15th position with 40 points in their bag. However, they can aim to finish further up the table. Newcastle United and Bournemouth have 41 points apiece and The Magpies will have a huge task at hand when they play Brighton and Hove Albion away. This match could be significant in both teams final standings in the table.

Bournemouth are in for a bumpy ride as they face Southampton, Tottenham, and Crystal Palace in their final three fixtures. Winning at least one of the three would be on the mind of Eddie Howe and his men who will keep their place in the league next season.

The battle to avoid relegation is fought between Cardiff City, Southampton, and Brighton. None want to back down and the next two weeks will be crucial for all the teams especially Cardiff City. Burnley and the other two are staring at relegation but, taking into consideration their recent form, it is hard to imagine them not being in the Premier League next season.

There will be drama as always. But, next season would be more interesting as Norwich, Sheffield United and Leeds United will challenge for the Premier League.

Edited by Nnanna Mba


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