Of my five teams, four are currently sitting in a positionw here you’re eyeing the relegation spots while looking at how they’re doing. That said, it’s March, and I’m confident two – Metz and Spezia – will survive.
It’s possible all five will, which is quite something. Here’s how this week went down…
Fulham 1-0 v Sheffield United at home.
Sure, this might be on paper the easiest fixture of the season, but Fulham – who yes, I wrote off totally earlier this month – are starting to put the squeeze on the likes of Newcastle and Brighton.
For much of the game Sheffield United didn’t turn up here, though they did create a couple of decent chances after Lookman put Fulham ahead on the hour mark.
The goal had a bit of luck to it, particularly in Lookman breaking the tackle just before he took his shot, but another win is all Fulham will care about, and they’re looking more and more likely to put Newcastle, in particular, under serious pressure. They have a tough run coming up now, but do play Newcastle, now only three points above them, on the last day of the season.
Elche 1-0 v Eibar at home, and 0-3 v Barcelona away
While Elche were probably realistic enough to write off this week’s second fixture, their first win in months in the league, against Eibar, was plenty of cause for hope this week. Eibar are the team currently occupying the spot Elche will need to grab if they’re to escape the drop zone, so this was a big one.
In truth, Elche were really quite lucky to get a win from the first game, which saw Eibar pepper their goal at times, but were more clinical and grabbed a win despite a very good claim for an Eibar penalty being turned down.
Elche did get to half time level with Barcelona in their second game of the week, with Boye having a decent chance to put them in front, but Barcelona were always likely to win this one, and Messi ended up with a couple of goals in a comfortable match for the catalan superclub.
Metz 2-1 vs Bordeaux away
Bordeaux were in poor form going into this one, and as Metz continue their unlikely charge towards Europe after a horrible start to the season, there was always a decent chance they were going to put it up to the traditionally stronger side.
Metz were by far the better team here, despite going behind in the first half and taking an age to get the equaliser in a contest between the two sides with the best shirts in French football’s top tier, in my opinion.
Metz finally got the winner with almost the last kick of the game, but should have been out of site by that point. Is Europe a serious possibility for the hot relegation favourites? It doesn’t look out of the question, as they sit in sixth…
Arminia Bielefeld 0-3 at home to Wolfsburg
It’s going to go down to the wire for Arminia Bielefeld, who are inconsistent in the extreme and struggle to score goals. After matching Bayern in a strange 3-3 draw last time out, they got pelted at home here by Wolfsburg.
Arminia have lost every single game they’ve been behind in all year, and that theme continued, as Wolfsburg looked very comfortable in this one, with Arminia creating only one really decent chance at 0-1 down, resulting in a mishit finish.
Woflsburg are pushing for a Champions League place so this probably wasn’t a game where Arminia expected a result, but concedng two weak goals – only the final long-distance finish looked unstoppable – cost them. The struggle continues.
Spezia 0-3 away to Fiorentina
A disappointing away loss to a team they started the day above for Spezia, though given their unexpected position a full nine points clear of the relegation zone after winning their last two, perhaps its understandable they took their foot off the pedal a little.
Things were fairly even early on, but Fiorentina well and truly took control in the second half, pressuring Spezia, who offered little up front. The scoreline is pretty harsh all things considered, but after undoing Milan last week, Spezia were always going to struggle to do it again.
I think they’ll take it on the chin in the circumstances, bigger games to come and they look comfortable.