The Premier League weekend started off on Friday itself, strangely enough. There were two games and both concerned the things down the dreaded red zone of the Premier League. And Fulham and Cardiff were handed big opportunities to get results or get some points on board to make their situations slightly easier in the relegation.
But as it went on, things became worse for the Cottagers and the Bluebirds, who would have hoped for better results in the scrap for the drop.
Fulham sank deeper into the relegation, as they endured a 3-1 loss at the hands of West Ham, while Cardiff were at the receiving end of a proper rout at the hands of Watford, who hammered Neil Warnock’s men 5-1.
Claudio Ranieri’s men did take the lead though, as Ryan Babel’s first Premier League goal since 2010 helped Fulham take a slightly surprising lead at the Olympic Stadium in East London. But Manuel Pellegrini’s men showed some fight and turned the tie around by the end of the first half itself.
Javier Hernandez and Issa Diop scored before the end of the first half, as Michail Antonio took the tie away from Fulham’s reach.
The result left Fulham second bottom, seven points off 18th placed Southampton. Ranieri’s men will now face the resurgent Saints on Wednesday in what would be a massive relegation ten-pointer, but a defeat for Fulham could all but seal relegation for them.
In Wales though, the Gerard Deulofeu show blew Cardiff away. The Spaniard got his first goal in the 18th minute and Watford had scored just once before the end of the first half. But two goals in two minutes for the former Barcelona man saw him grab his first ever Premier League hat-trick. A Troy Deeney brace later worsened the woes for the Bluebirds.
Sol Bamba did pull one back late in the game, but it was a mere consolation in a game that was a really chastening experience. The loss left Cardiff just one point above Southampton, who travel to Arsenal on Sunday and a positive result for them could see Cardiff drop back in the bottom three again in the season.
Tomorrow, the early kick-off game sees Tottenham travel to Burnley in a game that will probably see Harry Kane comeback to action after he injured his ankle during Spurs’ 1-0 defeat to Manchester United in January. A Spurs win could take them to within two points of both Manchester City and Liverpool, as the latter face United in a massive North-West derby on Sunday.
Elsewhere, Bournemouth will host Wolves and will hope to get back into the top ten of the table with a win over Nuno Santo’s men. They could climb upto tenth with a win at the Vitality Stadium.
Newcastle will take on Huddersfield, with the Terriers yet to register a single win in all competitions ever since they beat Wolves 1-0 in late November.
Crystal Palace will travel to Leicester in a bid to jump over the Foxes in the table and complete the double over Claude Puel’s men.