Although any writer does get a sense of satisfaction if any of their predictions come true, it is never as satisfying when your “fulfilled prediction” holds such a negative connotation for their team. A few months earlier, I did say that Fulham will be heading down to the Championship and their recent performances do not bode well for surviving to fight for another EPL season. I also made several predictions about the top tier teams, and even my worst case idea did not resemble where Manchester United currently sit (but I was spot-on about Liverpool’s season). With that being said, did Fulham just provide us the perfect example for these two team’s seasons?
For Manchester United, we saw a huge difference between the Red Devils on the title-path and this season’s squad. The very last thing that a United team would have done in the past few seasons would have been to give up a goal in stoppage time and end up losing points…instead, they would be scoring themselves in that time and bringing all three points back to Old Trafford. The loss of two points coupled with the method in which they were lost shows a bigger gulf that what we would find in statistics or in mere match facts, but it shows that the magic (at least, for now) has left Manchester United. Any true follower of footy will know that you cannot encompass everything in the information that you can find on wikipedia or some other stat-based site, and United are definitely missing something this season (Sir Alex?).
For Liverpool, we saw the difference that a season can make and what an in-form team truly looks like. Despite struggling for the entire 90 minutes and encountering one of those fixtures that truly tests the mettle of a squad, Liverpool are returning to Anfield with 3 points and maintained their place in the top four. The past two fixtures have proven that Liverpool can succeed without Suarez carrying the entire scoring load. Liverpool are deadly enough if SAS (Sturridge And Suarez) are providing all the firepower, but this squad truly should scare anybody if the rest of the team finds their scoring touch. Countinho, Henderson, and Sterling are starting to find their attacking feet and that should scare the rest of the EPL even more than an in-form Suarez. Although Steven Gerrard will not be around forever, Liverpool proved that they do have serious top four credentials…the same cannot be said for their Manchester rivals…
Poor Fulham would have preferred to have been seen as anything other than a measuring stick for two of the bigger teams, but that might be the biggest impression they leave on this season once the final match has been played. Will Manchester United regret those two points as we enter into the home stretch? Will Liverpool need those two gained to remain in the top-four once the season comes to a close? We are getting ever closer to the answer…and Fulham needs more than a healthy Clint Dempsey in order to save their season…brace yourselves!