Sunday, April 01, 2007

Run-In on a Full Tank of Gas

I hope I'm not tempting fate by daring to compare our own potential for redemption this season, with Portsmouth's incredible escape from relegation in 05/06. As a source for inspiration, there's really no better place to look.

On 11th Mar 2006, Pompey entertained Man City having accumulated just 18 points from their first 28 games. They subsequently accumulated 20 points from their final 10 matches to finish the season on 38 points, comfortably ahead of Birmingham in 18th place on 34 points.

The nadir of our season (the first two defeats aside of course) occurred after the defeat at Fulham on 16th Oct 2006 had ensured that Dowie's reign had begun with just 3 points from 8 games. Hence whilst we had far more games left than Pompey to rise from the dead (and had 23 points from 28 games, as opposed to 18) hindsight taught the South Coast side that only 35 points would ultimately be needed for safety. Charlton meanwhile are likely to require considerably more.

As a reminder of how desperate our cause was when Pards arrived, this is how the Premiership table looked the day he arrived. Arguably it doesn't tell the full horrific story because our previous four games had been 'Boro (lost 2-0), Liverpool (lost 3-0), Spurs (lost 5-1) and of course the Wycombe debacle. It really has been the most remarkable turnaround:

16 Sheffield Utd 20pts
17 Blackburn 19pts
18 West Ham Utd 18pts
19 Charlton 12pts
20 Watford 11pts

Here's a look at the respective run-ins of the relegation threatened sides:

West Ham: Arsenal (A), Sheff Utd (A), Chelsea (H), Everton (H), Wigan (A), Bolton (H), Man Utd (A)

Charlton: Man City (A), Reading (H), Everton (A), Sheff Utd (H), Blackburn (A), Spurs (H), Liverpool (A)

Sheff Utd: Newcastle (H), West Ham (H), Man Utd (A), Charlton (A), Watford (H), Villa (A), Wigan (H)

Wigan: Bolton (H), Villa (A), Spurs (H), Liverpool (A), West Ham (H), Boro (H), Sheff Utd (A)

Villa: Everton (H), Blackburn (A), Wigan (H), Boro (A), Portsmouth (H), Man City (A), Sheff Utd (H), Bolton (A)

Fulham: Everton (A), Man City (H), Reading (A), Blackburn (H), Arsenal (A), Liverpool (H), Boro (A)

Man City: Charlton (H), Fulham (A), Liverpool (H), Arsenal (A), Watford (A), Villa (H), Man Utd (H), Spurs (A)

Boro: Watford (H), Villa (A), Liverpool (A), Man Utd (A), Spurs (H), Wigan (A), Fulham (H)

Newcastle: Sheff Utd (A), Arsenal (H), Portsmouth (A), Chelsea (H), Reading (A), Blackburn (H), Watford (A)


Charlton's battling results and the mediocre points total required to secure a UEFA Cup place, implies that every single team (perhaps only Blackburn and Watford aside) still has something to play for in the Premiership, other than mere positional prize money. Whilst this will clearly change as the weeks go by, for now the old cliche about 'no easy games in the Premiership' applies.

Having said that, West Ham clearly have the most horrendous run-in and are in need of a miracle, whilst Wigan's look similarly uncomfortable; their final game against Sheffield United may require an 18 certificate. Elsewhere, Boro's spell of three consecutive tough games (Liverpool/Man Utd/Spurs) will be looming large in Gareth 'weakened side' Southgate's mind if they fail to pick up at least four points from their next two games. It really would be a delicious irony if it turns out that his failure to play a full-strength side against Man City, plunges Boro into the relegation scrap that they clearly did not consider themselves to be in.

Mid-table mediocrity was never this interesting.


At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

You can drive yourself totally bonkers trying to speculate on the various club's prospective point accumulations over the last seven games. I have gone through the BBC Predictor at least four times and although being cautiously optimistic about our boy's chances, still see them finishing in at least sixteenth spot or perhaps one notch higher, having earned 10 additional points to finish with 40. They need wins from at least two or their three home games (preferably all three!) plus one away win and a draw somewhere along the line. Hopefully,one or two of the clubs they meet will have settled into a late-season, mid-table complacency (Charlton in previous seasons!), which will assist a hungry and determined Charlton side to do some damage.

At 6:27 PM, Blogger Chicago Addick said...

You're making me nervous....

At 7:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to remind fellow fans but if we hadn't been stitched up against fulham (ref) and watford (Lisbie) we'd already be safe in theory and only 3 points behind Newcastle.

Our form under Pardew is UEFA cup-chasing form.

This season gets more frustrating as it goes by, even when we are winning just thinking of what could have been had pardew's situation had been different earlier in the season

At 9:15 AM, Blogger Reet Smoot said...

boro really haven't help us at all i hope you are right. come on the addicks!


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