What a start to 2018 by Fulham on Tuesday night! With results going our way on New Year’s Day, you just knew that it was essential for Fulham to make up some ground on the teams around us against Ipswich, who we had previously blown away at their place earlier on in the season, and we did, thanks to a remarkable 7-minute spell midway through the second half.
We are now well past the mid-point in the season with 26 games played, so I thought that it was a good time to have another check on our progress in comparison to last season in terms of results against the same teams and not just the same stage. Obviously six of the teams that we face this season will be different to last year because of relegations and promotions from other leagues so below is the system that I have used to deal with those situations-
Premier League to Championship
- First placed Newcastle compared with Hull who finished 18th in the PL.
- Second placed Brighton compared with Middlesbrough who finished 19th in the PL
- Play-off winners Huddersfield compared with Sunderland who finished 20th in the PL
League One to Championship-
- First placed Sheffield United compared to Blackburn who finished 22nd in Championship
- Second placed Bolton Wanderers compared to Wigan who finished 23rd in the Championship
- Play-off winners Millwall compared to Rotherham United who finished 24th in the Championship
I must warn you, the points tally at the end of this assessment doesn’t make for great reading because of some poor results against the likes of Sunderland but it just means that in the second half of the season we really can’t afford many more slip-ups.
On the face on it, it doesn’t look great as against the same teams we have picked up six less points because of two more defeats. We have lost points on last year’s tally on eight separate occasions, the worst being the loss at Sunderland in comparison to last year’s 4-1 win over Huddersfield or the losses to Brentford and Burton Albion. However, we have gained points, turning three draws into victories, alongside turning last year’s disappointing loss at home to Birmingham into a victory. It’s really a mixed bag but it is crucial that in the second half of the season we avoid as many slip ups.
The table this year is even tighter than it was last year, and we are now only 4pts off the last play-off spot and 10pts off Derby County in 2nd. It would take a massive fall from grace from Wolves to not finish top but I think that every team from Ipswich in 12th and Derby in 2nd will be eyeing up a play-off spot at least.
Only one thing is certain; it’s going to be another dramatic race for the play-offs, but hopefully it ends in glory rather than heartbreak for us this time around.