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A look at the bottom six – will the Irons escape?



By CandH’s top blogger Allen Cummings


When football in this country came to an abrupt halt on the 13th March, very few thought that 10 weeks on, and counting, we’d still be waiting for another ball to be kicked in anger.

At that time the Premier League boldly stated play would restart on  4th April subject to “conditions at the time”. How ridiculous a prediction that now looks – nothing new there then from the men in ‘suits’.

Despite a return to ‘training’, which is a very generous way of describing it, the long wait for proper action goes on.

When West Ham entered lockdown we were gearing up for nine crucial games which would decide our league fate. Relegation was a distinct possibility, as it still is, nothing has changed of course. The task ahead for David Moyes and his team, should battle recommence, is still crystal clear.

Win as many of those nine remaining games as possible. Do our bit for ourselves, and try not to rely on others to lend a helping hand. But as we all know it’s never ‘just’ down to us. What happens elsewhere can and often does make a huge difference.

So it’s worth a look at what teams around us have to face in their own run-ins – should the restart go ahead. Dividing the Premier League into two distinct groups – the top six clubs – and the bottom six clubs – it’s interesting to note how it pans out.

Of the six bottom clubs, the Hammers, Aston Villa and Watford, each have three games to come against top six opposition. Norwich will face top six sides twice, while Brighton and Bournemouth will each have to contemplate four of their remaining games being against top six opposition.

At the other end of the table there are a number of games where it’s going to be dog-eat-dog. When a win for one club is like a ‘six pointer’ because it also inflicts damage on a close rival.

West Ham will have to face bottom six clubs three times, likewise Norwich, while Watford have two bottom six opponents pending. Brighton and Villa will face fellow strugglers just once, while Bournemouth have no games left in which to boost themselves and damage an opponent.

It really could be shaping up for a nail-biting last day finale. And just ‘maybe’ that’s where the footballing gods might be smiling down on us. Of the six teams currently in the bottom positions, West Ham are the only one with home advantage on the last day of the season.

All the others, including Villa who have to visit the London Stadium of course, will have to travel to save themselves, should that be necessary. It could be a crucial advantage for us! Personally I believe we have the ammunition to be safe by then anyway. Let’s hope I’m right!

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About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

4 comments on “A look at the bottom six – will the Irons escape?

  1. It’s so hard to call as clubs at the bottom tend to raise their game at the end. I see it going down to the wire against Villa, with Fornals scoring the winner 😉 If there are no more games then we’re probably down on the weighted points system. So neutral venues is for us NOT the worst option!! Be careful please, all concerned, in opposing it. Obviously home and away is preferable. But we, in particular, have the most to lose if the season is not completed.

  2. And will any of those clubs do more “risky” training to avoid the drop vs. clubs that are safe? With the competitive nature of both the league and individual players typically being “win at all costs”, I wonder if clubs and even players push some boundaries here and those that don’t suffer the drop. A tricky, slippery, balance.

  3. I think the whole thing will get called off before it even starts. Players are ok training but supposedly a very high percentage of them (allegedly 70%) aren’t ok with playing under the current circumstances. Out of that 70% let’s speculate that 50% play plus the other 30% if 20% of the players refuse, the integrity of the league is shot to pieces… you could argue it already has been. If it goes ahead hopefully we come through but it will be a lottery and more clubs could get dragged in to the fight.

  4. It occurs to me that there is no fair way of deciding the relegation places unless the matches are played on the same basis as prior to March 13th. Anything that differs from that leaves it wide open for litigation. If the suits allow teams to play at home, thats great, but without fans takes away any advantage they may have. Another statistic to throw in the mix. Every one knows how fans lift their team, so maximum capacity at each club as follows; Bournemouth-11,500. Watford-22,000. Norwich-27,500. Brighton-31,000. Aston Villa-42,000. West Ham-60,000.Obvious which team suffers the most form closed doors football.

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