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Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Fulham look doomed, but who will be dropping in to the Championship?


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Fulham are rooted to the foot of the Premier League and Saturday's defeat at Cardiff City could have a devastating effect on their hopes of beating the drop.

The Cottagers lost that massive six-pointer in Cardiff and their 13-year spell at the top table of English football looks to be coming to an end.

Fulham are now on to their third manager of the season, have conceded an incredible 65 goals, lost more games than anyone (20) and have only picked up two points since turning over West Ham United on New Year's Day. 

With nine games left to play, Fulham's days in the Premier League look numbered. March will be a tough month for Felix Magath. They host Newcastle this weekend, before taking on Manchester City and Everton. They then take on fellow strugglers Aston Villa, Norwich, Spurs, Hull City, Stoke and Crystal Palace, so, while the Great Escape looks daunting, they still have a chance.

But who will go down this season?

The bookies have Fulham as their favourites for the drop. Coral have them best priced at 1/6, but Cardiff, even though they saw off Fulham on Saturday, are the bookies' second favourites. The Bluebirds are 1/2 at Ladbrokes, followed by Crystal Palace at 13/8 at Coral. 

Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer's men have some massive games ahead of them, starting with a douoble header of Everton and Liverpool, followed by two more six-pointers against West Brom and Crystal Palace.

West Bromwich Albion have been in the mire following Steve Clarke's dismissal. Pepe Mel was appointed to replace the Scot but he is already fearing for his job having failed to record a single win. The Baggies are 2/1 for the drop, the same price as beaten Capital One Cup finalists Sunderland. With no cup activity now to distract them, the Black Cats can now totally focus their efforts into staying up and I think Gus Poyet's men will be safe.

The Baggies are still to play seven teams in the bottom half of the table, but their form is worrying everyone at the Hawthorns. Can they turn it around?

The Black Cats have a few games in hand on their relegation rivals, but they still have to play Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea and Man United at home. It will be tough for the travelling Wearsiders, but Poyet has them moving in the right direction.

Norwich City are next on the list with Chris Hughton's men at 3/1. The Canaries' form has been erratic to say the least and the axeman has been hovering over the manager's shoulders, but somehow Hughton keeps managing to evade the bullet.

City will be hoping to get some points on the board soon though, especially as they end their campaign with games against Liverpool, Man United, Chelsea and Arsenal.

After that, Hull City and Swansea City are 16/1 each to go down with West Ham United at 20/1. It would be a shock to see last season's Capital One Cup winners go down - there's far too much class there to go down - while Hull will be buzzing having reached their first FA Cup semi final in decades.

As for West Ham. Well they looked doomed a few weeks ago but have turned it all around. The Hammers' form will give hope to everyone in the bottom half that a bit of belief can transform their season.

So who is going down? Whatever your view, we'd love to hear from you.

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Colin Illingworth

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