Out of boredom, I have sort of compared the next five matches the four teams competing for fourth place have in the next month or so.
Bear in mind that City and Villa have a game in hand on us, and might or might not still have it in a months time – scheduling changes do happen when the fixture list builds up.
Also, all these predictions are my opinion, and so things could happen in a very different matter. Injuries, suspensions, fatigue etc could all have an effect – especially as the FA Cup and the League Cup come in to play. We ourselves have a tie against Unirea Urziceni in between those ties.
Oh, and I haven’t taken into account Birmingham’s fixtures either – they could pull off some surprises as well.
Liverpool: Currently have 37 pts.
26th Jan: Wolves A: should be a win.
30th Jan: Bolton H: Bolton could pull off a surprise, but given their ability to gift goals to the opposition, I’m going for a Liverpool win.
6th Feb: Everton H: Without wanting to underestimate our dear rivals, I’m going for a draw.
10th Feb: Arsenal A: Going to the Emirates and getting anything from there will be a result, but can’t see it with the way that lot are playing at the moment. Loss.
21st Feb: Manchester City A: Big match. Bigger than the Arsenal game probably. Really need to win, but under Mancini they aren’t as generous as they used to be. Draw?
Probable points total at the end: 45 pts.
Manchester City: Currently have 38 pts.
31st Jan: Portsmouth H: City win.
6th Feb: Hull A: City win again.
9th Feb: Bolton H: Hopefully Coyle could do us a favour, but going to have to go for a City win.
16th Feb: Stoke A: Tricky side to beat Stoke (as we well know). City players will have to be up for it, but seeing as it is at the Britannia, going for a draw.
21st Feb: Liverpool H: Draw
Probable points total at the end: 49 pts.
Tottenham Hotspur: Currently have 38 pts.
26th Jan: Fulham H – Hodgson has got Fulham playing a way that could rival the best on their day. They have it in them to beat Spurs like they did us. Its at the Lane though, so Spurs win.
30th Jan: Birmingham A: McLiesh has got Birmingham playing above themselves. I can’t see it lasting, but they could cause an upset against Spurs. Still reckon Redknapp will see them off though. Win.
6th Feb: Aston Villa H: Big match for Spurs. The draw will be the most likely option.
10th Feb: Wolves A: Should be a win.
21st Feb: Wigan A: Another win.
Points at the end: 51 pts.
Aston Villa: Currently have 36 pts.
27th Jan: Arsenal H: Arsenal win.
30th Jan: Fulham A: Tight, but I think Villa will win.
6th Feb: Spurs A: Draw.
10th Feb: Manchester United H: Hopefully that lot at Old Trafford can do us a favour and do Aston Villa. Don’t bet on it though, but it should be an United win.
21st Feb: Burnley H: Villa win.
Points at the end: 43 pts.
It seems, by my amateur predictions, we will be behind City and Spurs in the table. That is taking into account how we have been playing, but if we play like we did against Spurs, a win against Everton is not out of the cards, and maybe dare I say it, something from the Emirates. Either way, the next month is vital as at the moment we are relatively confident following that Spurs win. If we don’t continue that momentum at least up until the Merseyside Derby, we could/should be back where we were before the Spurs match by then, as the teams around us have a better chance of getting 4th place given their fixture list, and in the cases of City and Villa, games in hand. Obviously even if we are playing catch-up in a month, we can still finish 4th, but this is going into the business end of the season, and now is the time to come good.
In the next five games, Fulham play both Spurs and Villa, so they could do us some favours there. Arsenal play us and Villa as well, so those two teams could have a big say in how the battle for 4th place pans out. Also Villa and Spurs play each other, whilst we have to play City. If we beat City, given the other side’s fixtures, I reckon we will either need Villa and Spurs to draw, or Villa to beat Spurs. A Spurs win would not be in our best interest (neither would a Villa win, but moreover Spurs).
So at the end of all guessing, it seems that things could be as vague as they are now in a months time. I’m sure Rafa will keep telling us (and his players) to not take any notice of how other teams get on, just try to win our games.
What do you think?