The Drop Zone in the English Premier League

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The drop zone. Not a place you ever want to be. What’s intriguing every year in the English Premier League and why every single game matters, is there’s relegation. There’s a drop zone that teams hover in throughout the year that must be terrifying for the manager and the owner and the players. For fans though, as long as their team is near the drop zone, it’s exciting.

The excitement surrounding the English Premier League is still high. Manchester must win their final game against Wigan to ensure the title is theirs, and Chelsea must at the least keep winning to have a chance, but down at the drop zone there’s a whirlwind of hope, worry and down right desperation. Who’s going to join Derby in the Championship? It’s two of these four clubs and a lot of money on the table to lose:

  • Fulham
  • Reading
  • Birmingham
  • Bolton

This past weekend, Fulham was able to escape with a win against Birmingham: With the stakes so high – £35million is said to be the cost of relegation – the match was short on quality but high in drama, particularly in a nail-biting second half.

Fulham, is on a two game win streak, can they hold on? Amazingly their good run has given them life when a few weeks ago there was little hope. Clint Dempsey, who scored the goal against Liverpool to keep them in the premiership last year, may have to rescue the team again.

I’d love to see Fulham stay in the top flight, and not just because the team is full of Americans, it’s more about the team redeeming themselves. Sure, the American element does come into play, I am a fan of Dempsey and McBride, but I’m a fan of teams finding form when everyone is counting them out.

More likely though, another American will end up scoring to keep Fulham in the EPL, and that’s Brian McBride. McBride has been on a scoring tear ever since he’s returned from injury. He’s become a true professional, it’s hard to believe that he plied his trade in the MLS with the Columbus Crew.

What a learning experience it is for Dempsey and McBride, spending the past two years battling each week to keep their teams place in the top flight of England. I’d say U.S. national team coach Bradley will have to recall McBride to the national team, his goal scoring ability, especially with his head, is just too much to pass up for South Africa. Will he be too old by then, unfortunately he just might be as he’s 35 right now.

Fulham are not just winning but winning in style as they say. They are constantly creating chances and should have won some of their past games—was it just a lack of confidence and momentum? They’ve been creating chances like this for months; with McBride out injury for a number of months they lacked a true finisher.

McBride Goal Versus Manchester United

One question about Fulham remains is what happened to Eddie Johnson? I think the poor kid got the boot, just didn’t have enough skill and nerve to play in the EPL. Seems harsh. Sometimes you just have to find the right team and coach who believes in you and gives you confidence to play at your best. Johnson can still score goals and all teams want a proven goal scorer.

Extra: I’m asking him here. I start pulling on him here. That’s what the jockey was saying when describing his Derby win. I caught the Kentucky Derby and was very moved by the horse pulling the jockey along for the win. There aren’t many sports where the partnership between the animal and a human being is crucial to success and winning. I don’t know anything about horse racing but it was just beautiful to see the horse and the jockey pull away.

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