The Three That Remain

Jamie McDonald

After a tumultuous season down by the River, three games are all that is left to decide Fulham’s fate. Will there be top-flight football at the Cottage next season, or will fans have to get used to the likes of the Championship?

What is left?

Home to Hull City

After a 6-0 thrashing at the KC earlier this season, not only is this game a crucial match for relegation purposes, it also has redemption written all over it. The Tigers have been a mixed bag as of late, advancing to the FA Cup (albeit a very easy road) but winning only two of their last five league matches. Although sitting 14th in the table at 36 points, there is still most likely work to be done in order to stay up. After their clash with Fulham they travel to Birmingham to face Villa the following week, and then have a tough run in of Manchester United away (insert joke here), and Everton at home. Given that closing schedule, they will be gunning to try and take all three points from the Whites in order to solidify their position in the premiership for another year. The Tigers' strike force of Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long is serviceable, and as usual Tom Huddlestone will be a nuisance in the central of midfield. As we are well aware, this is basically a must win for Fulham and most surely a grind-it-out type of match if we are to do just that. With the backing of impressive fan support as of late, hopefully we'll see a little Cottage magic and truly let the league know that the Great Escape II is on.

Away to Stoke City

It is well known that Stoke has made the Brittania a fortress. Boasting an impressive home record of 9 wins, 6 draws, and 2 losses coupled with 10 points in their last five league matches, in my opinion this is the toughest game remaining on Fulham's schedule. The only break that we may get is the fact that there isn't much left for the Potters to play for. Cemented at 10th in the table on 44 points, Stoke will neither drop nor qualify for European competition next season. Additionally, they struggled to dispose of a terribly out of form Newcastle side (victims of seven straight losses) and drew away to Cardiff last weekend. Hopefully this kind of form will continue into their fixture with the Cottagers.

Home to Crystal Palace

Fulham's fate could very well come to a nerve-racking final day fixture with Palace. The tension at the Cottage will be unmistakably thick in the air if this is truly to be the case, and with Palace having already secured their ticket for the 14/15 EPL campaign, Fulham will have all to play for in this one. Yes, the Eagles have been flying high having pulled themselves out of the relegation fight with five wins in succession, but I can't count out Fulham when so much is on the line. I mean, we all want to believe that with that much at stake we could somehow find a way, right? Possibly throw in Pajtim Kasami to complete a wonder-strike brace for the season series? But I digress; this match could very well make it the best or the worst day of the year for us Fulham fans. Jason Puncheon has seen a nice run of form as of late, bagging four goals in the last four matches. Their defense has also been stellar, compiling four clean sheets in their last five. Their only blunder was in an impressive 3-2 victory at Everton. The task will be tough, but it's a relegation battle after all. These matches are inevitable.

What Will Happen

Take this with a grain bag of salt, because I'm equally as qualified as said bag at this point, but here is how I believe things will play out:

Pos

Team

W

D

L

Pts

16

West Bromwich Albion

7

16

15

37

17

Fulham

11

3

24

36

18

Cardiff City

8

10

20

34

19

Sunderland

8

9

21

33

20

Norwich City

8

8

22

32

Yes, I have our beloved Fulham somehow avoiding the drop. Let me warn you, I'm a glass half full type of person, but I really believe we have a decent chance of pulling off the second Great Escape. I believe in Felix, I believe in the players, and I believe in you, the fans. This is by no means out of the club's reach and I fully expect them to go out and grab it.

With that positive note, I leave you to the final three weeks of football. It has been a season to forget for Fulham, but on a personal level, I have had a great time supporting this club (call me crazy). It has been frustrating, deflating, and sometimes a downright laughable ordeal, but through all of the bad I can confidently say, relegation or not, they have gained a fan for life. Instead of the glamour and money, I've chosen to stick with the incredibly inviting and family-like atmosphere that Fulham embodies. And if we do go down, that is exactly what we will do: stick together. Because that is the only thing we can do, and we will. Now let's go cheer on the boys as they pull off the improbable once again. COYW!

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