Fulham FC sprang back to life on Sunday, with a startling 1-0 victory over European-bound Everton.
The win, Fulham’s fourth of the season, places gives them 23 pts – an effective four points away from safety.
However, Odds and Sods will now make a bold prediction. Fulham will not be relegated.
The club has momentum.
Fulham finally has started to mesh in this latter part of the season, spurred by the return of Jimmy Bullard and Brian McBride. They have also had an impressive run, earning four points from two grueling fixtures against top half opposition in Everton and Blackburn.
The club was unlucky at the onset, bafflingly blowing a few first-half leads, followed by a morbid holiday respite – lasting through Februrary. Fulham are a decent side with extraordinarily bad luck. They are due for some good football.
Fulham also have an easier schedule.
They do face a problem. They have only three home matches remaining and have not won away all season. However, two winnable relegation six-pointers come in the next two away matches at Newcastle (Mar. 22) and at Derby (Mar 29.). They also have additional six-pointers with Sunderland and Birmingham at home and Reading away. Should Fulham climb the table it will come at the direct expense of their fellow bottom dwellers.
The only top four side that Fulham play is Liverpool at home (Apr. 19) – who may be conserving players for a Champions League run.
If Fulham finagles four points, from the next two matches. That leaves them with 27 pts with six matches remaining. If they again get four from Sunderland and Birmingham at home, that is 31 pts. It’s not unreasonable they get four pts from the other four matches amassing the total 35 pts. That may be enough to keep them up, particularly with some help.
That estimate also assumes merely a reasonable level of competence, not an impressive run.
Bolton have a much tougher road. They still must travel to Man Utd., Chelsea, Aston Villa and Tottenham. They also host Arsenal and Man City. They have only one relegation six-pointer at home to Sunderland (May 3.). Relegation seems a certainty at this point.
Birmingham have a slightly less arduous schedule, but still must host Liverpool, Man City, Blackburn and Everton.
Sunderland still have to host Man City and Arsenal and travel to Aston Villa.
Any fixture poses a problem for the soccer circus at this point. But Newcastle face away matches with Tottenham, West Ham, Portsmouth and Everton. They also host Chelsea in the penultimate match.
It’s not impossible that one or two teams from this group take a tumble, opening a door for Fulham.
They do have the fewest points, but they have the edge in talent and the easiest schedule. If Fulham can denounce their doldrums and play at close to their potential, there is no reason they can’t avoid the drop.