Monday 23 October 2017

Race against the drop hard to call

SO that's the end of QPR's bid to stave off relegation.

A 3-2 defeat at Craven Cottage leaves them seven points off Aston Villa in 18th place, equal on points with Reading on 23. It's been weeks since anybody thought Reading had a snowball's chance of staying up, so clearly the time has come to write off Redknapp's men. Their departure, their crass out of control spending, won't be lamented by many.

Fulham's victory pushed them into tenth with a game in hand ahead of West Ham, who too have a game in hand. Mathematically they're not out of it, but if you're looking at contenders for the drop look to the aforementioned Villa (on 30 points), Wigan (on 30 with a game in hand), Sunderland (31), Newcastle (33), Norwich (34), Southamption (34) and Stoke (34).

Southampton and Wigan are both on decent runs at the moment (Southampton's visit to Reading this weekend is a huge game for them), great rivals Newcastle and Sunderland on the other hand both look in serious trouble. The four-nil hiding Manchester City gave Newcastle last weekend will need to be answered quickly with a win at St James this weekend and, with Sunderland likely to lose to Chelsea in London this weekend, the derby on April 14 is looking more and more significant as the weeks go by.

Irish fans really should cross their fingers and hope that Villa avoid the drop – five Irish players were on the pitch on Monday when they won the NextGen series defeating Chelsea in the final – a win against Stoke this Sunday would be a good start.