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Manchester City & Liverpool Show Staggering Offensive Improvement; Fulham Head For The Drop – Corresponding Fixtures Week 32

While the battle for the Premier League took a more interesting turn the previous weekend- what with Chelsea unexpectedly losing at Crystal Palace and Liverpool moving to the summit- it seems the battle to stave off relegation isn’t as interesting. While it is still difficult to predict with certainty which teams would drop to the Championship, a clearer picture seems to be emerging with respect to one side: Fulham. Unless something miraculous happens in the next 6 games, it looks like the West London side are going to spend the next season in English football’s second division.

In a way, Fulham’s decline is not a big surprise. To say they have lurched from one disappointment to another this season would be apt. First, they did not make any improvements to what was an ageing squad at the start of the season. It was easy to notice- for even those who take a passing interest in Fulham affairs- that the squad was in desperate need of replenishment. Some ageing players needed to be phased out but it wasn’t done. And the less we talk about their managerial musical chairs the better.

From appointing Rene Mulensteen as Martin Jol’s assistant to the latter’s sacking and Mulensteen’s appointment as head coach; from the appointment of Ray Wilkins and Alan Churbisley to the coaching staff to their subsequent dismissals following Mulensteen’s sacking; and finally, the appointment of Felix Magath. It all seemed as if Fulham were trying to hit a target in complete darkness while firing shots in all directions. The entire managerial shenanigans bordered on the pantomime.

But even in the backdrop of all these events, Fulham-though in the relegation zone for most of the season- were pretty much safe from our “Corresponding Fixtures Points Difference” point of view until about 6 weeks ago. To illustrate this let us first look at the Corresponding Fixtures Table after Game Week 32. As has already been mentioned in this series of articles, for the purpose of uniformity we are comparing Hull City’s fixtures to Reading; Crystal Palace’s fixtures to QPR; and Cardiff City’s fixtures to Wigan.


Fulham are currently 2nd from bottom(bottom of the PL table) in our Corresponding Fixtures table with a points difference of -9. Behind them are West Brom and Manchester United who have occupied those positions from the start of the season. Having finished with 43 points last season, it is now mathematically impossible for them to match their last season’s points tally. But even avoiding relegation looks like a distant dream. Last year, Wigan finished with 36 points and ended up getting relegated. For Fulham to reach 36 points, they need 4 wins out of their next 6 games. On current form, getting even a solitary win would be a remarkable achievement.

Fulham’s gradual slide towards the dreaded drop is reflected in our Corresponding Fixtures difference. Even whilst spending most of the season in the relegation spots, Fulham were pretty much matching last season’s results in the first half of the season. The table below illustrates it.


As we can see from the table above, Fulham were more or less picking up the same number of points as last season until Week 17 of the Premier League. In fact, by Week 20 they had picked up a point more from the corresponding fixtures. Since then they have regressed alarmingly and now seem dead certain to go down.

Looking at Liverpool’s and Manchester City’s offensive power

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Liverpool and Manchester City have the best attacking force in the league. What is striking, though, is the extraordinary improvement in terms of the sheer number of goals they have scored this season. The table below illustrates it.


From the same set of fixtures last season, Liverpool scored 55 goals; this season they have scored a staggering 88 goals. The improvement in terms of the number of away goals scored is also quite astonishing in Liverpool’s case. From the same 16 away games played last season, Liverpool scored 16 goals; this season, they have scored 40 goals- a 250% rise. Manchester City, who looked uninspired under Mancini last season have scored 80 goals from 30 games; this is 31 more than what they scored from the same set of 32 games last season.