Seasiders up against it
A few weeks ago on my last blog I presumed that we should have won at least two of our four homes games in April. Alas, the calendars have rolled over on to May and we still didn’t register a single win. Even worse, the defeat to Wigan, whilst being a truly abysmal performance, allowed our closest rival the opportunity to catch up with us in the survival race.
But even following that defeat we’ve still had enough chances to give ourselves some breathing space ahead of the last few games, and we’ve still not taken them.
Against Newcastle we had umpteen chances to score and only finished one, whereas at the other end we made one mistake and paid the price for it. The clinical nature of this league is such that stupid errors, like the ones we seem to be making week after week, are going to be punished every time (unless Kenwyne Jones is playing!). If our own finishing was half as clinical as most of the other teams in the division, then we’d be safe and dry by now.
But it wasn’t, and now we find ourselves in a very precarious position with three very difficult games to go. With away games at Spurs and Man United, completed with a far from easy home game against Bolton, I fear that we may have given ourselves too much to do.
An absolute maximum return of four points from those games is all that I can realistically forsee. That would put us onto 39 points and hopefully would be enough to keep our heads above water, but it’s never that easy.
More than likely however, safety for us will rely on other teams’ results. With the majority of our relegation rivals playing each other, we either need an unprecedented succession of draws or one team to beat all the others, whilst not dumping us back into the drop zone.
The team best positioned to do that is Blackburn, with games against West Ham and Wolves. The only question that surrounds them is whether Rovers are good enough themselves to win both of those games. I doubt it.
What this all means is that with three games to go, everything in the relegation zone is as clear as mud. Although next week’s game against Spurs may go a fraction closer to finishing off the jigsaw, I don’t think anybody will really know for sure how this season will end until the very last match – which is a bad sign when you’re last game is at Old Trafford.
Up the Pool!