Needing More Than a Great Escape

Discussion in 'Fulham FC News and Notes' started by MicahMan, Feb 18, 2019.

  1. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

    Mar 4, 2014
    In the 2007-2008 season Fulham had their “Great Escape” to avoid relegation. Fulham closed out that campaign with three straight wins to finish even with Reading at 36 points and claim safety with a superior goal differential of -22 to -25.

    There are a number of similarities between the two seasons:
    • New managers were brought in mid-season
    • The second half of both seasons started with Fulham in 19th place
    • After the New Year’s Day match 2008 Fulham had 15 points and 2019 Fulham had 14
    • The new year started with both teams 5 points from safety
    • Both seasons saw Fulham lose in their opening FA Cup pairing to a team from the fourth tier of English football
    In 2007-2008 Fulham were 6 points from safety with just five matches left, but they managed to win four of those matches to close what had been an 8 point gap with Reading. Fulham’s explosive finish earned 1/3rd of its points for entire season.

    During the Great Escape, Fulham was never more than 6 points from safety, but never got within 3 points until the penultimate match of the season.

    Could something similar happen this season?

    For starters, in 2019 Fulham already find themselves further adrift than in 2008. Fulham currently sit 8 points from safety and given Fulham's atrocious goal differential, the true margin is 9 points (unless Fulham also starts beating Chelsea 6-0!). Closing a gap that is three points larger means that Fulham will need an even Greater Escape to avoid relegation this time around.

    There is a very narrow path for Fulham to earn 37 points that would probably allow them to avoid relegation. First, they must earn wins against the six weakest teams that they will face the remainder of the year:
    • West Ham (Away)
    • Southampton (Away)
    • Leicester (Away)
    • Everton (Home)
    • Cardiff (Home)
    • Newcastle (Home)
    Each of these teams has less than 1.4 Points Per Match in the corresponding home/away form. Based on PPM the toughest matchup of those six is this week at West Ham who have 1.38 PPM at home.

    If Fulham can get those 6 wins, then they have a little more to do by earning draws at Watford and Wolverhampton who each have just over 1.5 PPM at home. That would get Fulham to 37 points and allow for loses vs. Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, and Bournemouth. On paper, the potential loss that has the best chance for surprise points is against Chelsea who have 1.69 PPM at home and who are a bit of a mess right now.

    While it isn't impossible to imagine that scenario blessing Fulham with 37 points, it is also highly unlikely. That kind of finish would require 1.67 PPM while Fulham has only earned 0.65 PPM to date. Even with Fulham's improved form under Ranieri, they only have 0.85PPM meaning that Fulham will need to be just about twice as good for the remainder of the season.

    The most discouraging fact is that Fulham still hasn't won away from Craven Cottage this season and the most realistic path to safety would require three straight road wins starting on Friday. If Fulham pulls off that unlikely trio of victories then there will be a new found sense of optimism at the club that could build into momentum for a late push to safety. The more likely outcome is that in the next two weeks Fulham will have not done enough to stay within striking distance for a miracle finish like the 2007-2008 club pulled off.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
    BarryWhite, sacffc, SoCalJoe and 3 others like this.
  2. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

    Mar 18, 2006
    Peoples Republic of South Texas
    Solid piece of reportage and analysis -- good work
    BarryWhite and MicahMan like this.
  3. SullyTexan

    SullyTexan Active Member

    May 16, 2018
    Depressing...but great analysis. I have a bunch of air miles...might try to get over for the Premiership funeral vs the Brown Ale'rs for the final home match. Compared to being at Wembley last May...this might have a bit of a different feeling.
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