Ian Carnaby’s Sports News

March 3rd, 2018 | Ian Carnaby's Sports News

Fulham lifted us out of trouble last week with a splendid home win against Championship leaders Wolves. As I’ve been writing for a while now, no team is playing better than Fulham but they started so poorly that a top six finish is probably all they can hope for, not one of the automatic promotion spots. Aston Villa’s extraordinary late rally and Cardiff’s single goal victory over a slightly fading Bristol City meant that the Londoners made relatively little ground, and Wolves are too far clear anyway.

West Brom were terribly disappointing against Huddersfield and defeat at Watford will probably spell the end of their Premier League sojourn and, quite possibly, Alan Pardew’s brief spell in charge. I wouldn’t care to bet on the game but Watford look all fired up to me and need to stay safe themselves.

As one who watches Southampton regularly I am still amazed that no moves were made to strengthen the squad, especially up front, many months ago. I’m not sure who is in charge but manager Mauricio Pellegrino gives the impression that it was always going to be hard but there is slow and steady progress. All nonsense, of course. Southampton were eighth last season and 15,000 people (at least) could have told the board which areas needed addressing. Pellegrino seemed to think that the ‘miracle’ late point against Burnley was job done. Someone needs to take him aside and tell him that two of the last six away games have to be won.

Things will not be decided this weekend, of course, but if the Saints fail to beat Stoke at St Mary’s I think they’ll go. There simply isn’t the fire-power up front away from home. I wonder if anyone has told Pellegrino that not letting Shaqiri run with the ball might be quite a good idea. No bet.

Swansea’s chances may well rest on their remaining home games and I just wonder if the brief but impressive flurry a few weeks ago will be enough. The game against West Ham will not be pretty and I imagine it will be low-scoring The draw is the only bet on a quiet day all round. (Southampton v Stoke will only go ahead if the concourse and surrounding areas can be cleared of snow and ice, incidentally. The pitch is perfect.)

Swansea v West Ham 15 units THE DRAW at 12/5

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