Friday, April 9, 2010

It may be FA Cup semi final weekend in England but tomorrow will see the Premiership basement battlers take centre stage, with the two games being played featuring the three bottom four sides that still harbour hopes of survival.

It's been a tough season for the Premiership's less financially well off clubs. Portsmouth are lucky to still be in business but at least have the FA Cup semi final against Spurs to take their mind off their other woes from this season. My team, West Ham, should be too good to go down but are playing horribly and are really in the mire. Then we have Burnley and Hull City, the division's two low key sides, and the purists favourites to stay up.

From a football romantic point of view, I so wanted both Burnley and Hull to stay up. As we've said so many times before in this blog, it would be great not only for English game to have these two unfashionable battlers survive the drop, but it would also give hope to fans of smaller sides throughout the country that promotion to the top flight doesn't necessarily mean instant relegation again (Hull have already proved this point last season of course). It would be a victory for true football over money football.

It certainly doesn't look like this will be possible. Many have already written off the survival hopes of both sides and I'd hate their survival in the Premiership to be at the expense of my own Hammers! At least it would be some form of silver lining if this were to happen.

Burnley have suffered big time since the departure of the talismanic Owen Coyle. They weren't in the healthiest of states before he left Turf Moor, but their home form and early season results at least gave some reasons for optimism. Their first half capitulation at home to Manchester City last weekend showed what a desperate state the team is currently in. The defence in particular has been appalling for weeks now but that opening seven minutes was both the best and worst opening by teams that I can immediately remember.

Hull City haven't had the breaks in the last few games. Losing late goals and going down to ten men due to injury are just some of the bad luck that seems to be plaguing them. With their own talisman, Jimmy Bullard, now back healthy though they certainly look like a more confident side and I still have this inkling that he may save them.

Tomorrow's match at the KC Stadium between Hull and Burnley is absolutely immense. There's no over exaggerating the importance of it to both teams and the financial implications for both sides alone is staggering. You certainly have to fancy the Tigers to get the business done, raising their survival hopes whilst pretty much condemning Burnley in the process.

Even three points tomorrow might not be enough to save either side, but it's going to be a cracker, which I'll be fortunate enough to see live on TV where I currently am.

I can't wait. This is real top flight action as far as I'm concerned.

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