Thursday, June 8, 2023

It’s exciting and nervy down at the bottom

One point is not enough

Today sees a game that may well decide the winners of this season’s Premier League, but it also sees a crucial game at the other end of the table as Wolves take on local rivals West Brom in a game that could see them climb out of the relegation zone.


The battle at the bottom is one of the most exciting and fascinating for many years and may well go all the way to the last kick of the last game. There are still six teams who are in danger and all of them are just not quite managing to pick up the points they need. They are getting the odd point here and there, but just can’t get the three points that would make all the difference.

Yesterday, West Ham and Blackburn played each other and both sides would have fancied getting an all important win. For Blackburn, three points would have meant almost certain safety, whilst for West Ham, three points could have taken them out of the drop zone. The end result was a 1-1 draw that was better than losing, but not really sufficient for either of them. It leaves West Ham three points from safety and Blackburn just three points above the bottom three.


Wigan played at Aston Villa who have probably just about secured Premier League football for next season. For Wigan, three points would have taken them out of the bottom three and given them a real fighting chance of survival. Like West Ham and Blackburn, they almost managed it, but in the end, had to settle for a 1-1 draw that was better than losing, but not what they needed.

The next struggling side to take the field was Blackpool who before yesterday’s games were outside the relegation zone by just one goal. They had the toughest assignment of all the strugglers as they travelled to North London to take on Tottenham. They battled as they always do and managed to take a lead and got within one minute of picking up an unlikely and absolutely vital three points until Jermain Defoe equalised and sent them home with just one.


The last of the relegation battlers to play yesterday was Birmingham and unlike the other four, they never looked likely to get anything from their trip to Newcastle and lost the game 2-1.

So of the six teams fighting to stay in league, four of them picked up one point and one got nothing. Against that background it is not hard to see what a huge three points it would be for Wolves if they were to beat West Brom today.


None of the bottom teams are coming with a late run yet none of them are fading without a trace either. They are all half decent teams and will count themselves as unfortunate if they get relegated.

If Wolves get a point today, which has to be a serious possibility, the picture at the bottom won’t have changed at all apart from Birmingham being one point nearer to trouble than they were before the weekend’s games.

It is incredibly nervy for those involved and incredibly exciting for the neutral. So much rests on the next two games and the width of a post, a last second block, a great save, a twenty-five yard screamer or a referee’s mistake, could have an enormous impact on the future of any of these six clubs. I wish them all well and I’m really glad I’m not involved!


Graham Fisher



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