After Tuesday night’s fixtures that saw Cardiff edge another 3points ahead of ourselves and Villa, a lot of fans have conceded that the race for that second automatic promotion spot is over, and who would blame them? The gap is now 8 points between Fulham and Cardiff and with only nine games remaining it would take a considerable swing in our favour for us to clinch second. It is most likely gone, but who knows what could happen if we keep winning? The truth is that we can’t do anything about Cardiff or Aston Villa. We have already played them both twice so the only thing that is in our hands is our own performances. To give ourselves the best possible chance we have to keep winning and if the others slip up, it will be within our grasp to capitalise.
We have come through the ‘big six’ with five wins and one draw which is remarkable, but our remaining nine fixtures include three London derbies and a few games against teams desperate for the points that will see them stay in the Championship. There is really no let off in terms of difficulty, they are just difficult in a different way. Cardiff and Villa have arguably the more difficult games, and with games against each other, points will have to be dropped somewhere along the line, it just depends on who drops what. See below for a list of the remaining nine for ourselves, Villa and Cardiff.
It’s all about percentages
If you have read my articles before, you will know that I love to look at the numbers behind the game. This time I thought that I would have a look at our winning ratio in comparison to other teams alongside what teams have had to achieve in the past five seasons for the automatic promotion spot.
As you can see, the win percentage required to achieve second spot in the league is generally on the raise. Although, you can also see that it isn’t just about the win percentage as Middlesbrough and Watford had the same amount of points in 2015/16 and 2014/15 respectively but had slightly different win percentages which comes down to draws. What we can see very clearly, however, is that Fulham will need to up the win percentage by a fair it if we are to overtake Cardiff. Even if they do drop points, it’s what we do with that that will count come the final day of the season. Cardiff don’t play the most attractive form of football, but it is working. A 62.1%-win rate would have won them the league in three of the past five seasons so credit must be given where it’s due.
For Fulham attention must just continue to focus directly on our own game. The QPR game is the first after the ‘big six’ but we can expect a ferocious atmosphere, especially considering they humbled Villa on Tuesday night. If it was the other way around and it was QPR who was battling for promotion, we would be determined to make them slip up, so that’s what we can expect on Saturday. They are pretty much clear of the relegation zone so aren’t exactly fighting for their lives, but they are certainly battling for West London bragging rights. We come into this one knowing that a win puts a lot of pressure on Villa and perhaps a little bit on Cardiff, so let’s keep the run going.