April 2, 2019

EPL FREE KICKS: The Terriers have been put down, now who’s next?

by In: Soccer

We’ve talked about the title race, the chase for spots in Europe and the increasingly interesting midtable battle — which now features five teams separated by two points fighting for seventh place.

But what about the life-and-death battle at the bottom of the table?

This weekend we saw the first team fall victim to the harsh reality of relegation: Huddersfield Town will be plying its trade in the Championship next season.

The Terriers tied the record for earliest relegation, clinching their demotion with six games remaining. The team whose record it tied, Derby in 2007-08, was actually the worst side in Premier League history, collecting just 11 points with a -69 goal differential. At least with 14 points and six games to play, Huddersfield at least has a chance to salvage some dignity and avoid being included on lists of ignominy.

The next team bound for relegation is Fulham, which sits in 19th and is a whopping 16 points from safety. With only 18 points available from their remaining six games, the Cottagers are a safe bet to be sent down — a real shame, too, after seeing owner Shad Kahn splash some serious cash back in the summer.

Now, here’s where the real race for safety comes in: Just five points above 18th-place Cardiff City are three teams sitting on 33 points. Any of Brighton & Hove Albion, Southampton or Burnley could hit a rough patch and see themselves slide into that relegation spot.

The numbers to look at here are the games remaining, though. Burnley is worst off, having played 32, while Cardiff and Southampton have a game in hand and Brighton has two. The Bluebirds, though, have one big number working against them in their fight to climb out of 18th: Minus-31. That goal differential is nine worse than Burnley’s number and well behind the other two sides. As for remaining fixtures, we will see Cardiff kickoff against Burnley and Brighton over the span of three days this month, making for some incredibly compelling, drama-charged football.

If we were guessing, it seems most likely that Cardiff returns to the second-tier, destined to continuing on as a yo-yo team, but as they say, “that’s why they play the games.”

As for the Terriers, what happens next? Several players will likely be on the move, but their biggest asset is Aaron Mooy. He should bring in a tidy transfer fee and has shown the class it takes to run a midfield in the Premier League. We should see some midtable teams lining up bids for the Aussie.


There weren’t a lot of standout performances to choose from this past weekend, so it’s fitting to honour a player that has been steady through the season, but also came up big.

Bernardo Silva doesn’t get a lot of headlines for what he does for title-chasing Manchester City, but he’s a key part of the team. The Portuguese midfielder is tough to outwork and is smart with the ball. With a goal and an assist against Fulham, that give him six and eight, respectively, on the season.

He is one of few City players to play in almost every game this season, either as a starter or sub, missing just one contest. Silva won’t get many votes for team of the season, but City would be much worse off without him.


If you’re ever in a debate over who’s the best Premier League striker ever, be careful if you’re arguing in favour of Thierry Henry over Sergio Aguero. With his goal this weekend, Kun now 228 goals in 328 games – the same amount the Frenchman had, but in 48 fewer games … We’re not sure it will matter in the end, but Cardiff fans should be very bitter about Cesar Azpilicueta’s goal standing up, despite the fact that he was clearly offside. Next year, with VAR in action, that’s an easy overturn … That own goal in injury time to lose the game against Liverpool is just one of those classic examples of “Spurs being Spurs.” Tottenham now has just one point from the past five games and is quickly falling down the table. If you don’t think Arsenal is thrilled to have the upper hand against its rival again, you’re kidding yourself … The Gunners have no matched their point total from last season and still have seven games to play. A nice turnaround form Arsene Wenger’s final season … Gerard Deulofeu had a pretty funny wardrobe malfunction against United. The poor Spaniard was forced to have his black leggings cut off because they didn’t match the team’s green kit … If you think that you’re going to get anything different from Newcastle under Rafa Benitez, you’re very wrong. Compare the stats from last year to now through 31 games and there’s very little difference. In terms of shots, shot conversion rate, passing accuracy, possession, shots faced, expected goals, expected goals against and distance travelled, they’re all within marginal amounts of each other … It’s that time of year again when transfer rumours start popping up. The big one this week: Paul Pogba to Real Madrid. The United midfielder praised Zinedine Zidane and the feeling seems to be mutual. The Red Devils have a history of selling their stars to Madrid, so we won’t rule it out, but finding a replacement would be tough.


In a title race this tight, any little error could cost a team the championship.

But let’s not go about saying that if and when that happens, that either Liverpool or Manchester City bottled it.

In reality, Liverpool — which sits first in the Premier League by two points, but City has a game in hand — is on pace to have the fourth-best season in league history. City could reach 98 points, only two behind last year’s record haul of 100.

So, we could see both teams win out and have the team with the fourth-best season in Premier League history finish in second. That’s just the kind of craziness we have come to expect in the world these days.

Let’s just remember that when placing blame at the feet of the excellent side that will inevitably finish as runner-up.

Although, there might not be much worse if it turns out to be Liverpool, after the long wait its fanbase has been through,

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

Leave a Reply