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Fulham Controls Own Destiny

Well, that certainly was exciting.

Fulham, on the verge of relegation now for months, managed to continue its run to remain in the Premiership by blanking relegation rival Birmingham City 2-0. Fulham won only 4 games in their first 33, but have miraculously taken 3 of the last 4 and now sit just above the relegation zone with one game left to play.

Craven Cottage’s hero in its must-win against Birmingham yesterday? None other than American captain Brian McBride, whose second half goal resulted in complete frenzy among the Cottagers’ faithful.  McBride scored on a header that was delivered to him with precision by Jimmy Bullard. Fulham added another late goal, but it was McBride’s game-winner that will be remembered.

The good news? Despite not winning back-to-back games in nearly two seasons, Fulham did just that on Saturday to move above Birmingham City and Reading and out of the relegation zone.

The bad news? Well, Fulham is still not safe. There is still work to be done. Though Fulham controls its own destiny next Sunday, there are still plenty of scenarios that could result in their expulsion from the EPL.

Bolton’s win yesterday makes them statistically safe from relegation (barring a Nintendo-style 14-0 loss to Chelsea), meaning only one of the three remaining relegation rivals (Fulham, Reading and Birmingham City) will stay in the Prem. 

Birmingham City drew Blackburn for the final game of the year, a tough matchup. Meanwhile, Reading gets Derby at home, a match they should win, meaning Fulham will likely have to beat Portsmouth (@ Portsmouth) on Sunday to remain in the EPL. With Fulham ahead on goal differential, if the two teams both complete the season at 36 points, the Cottagers would stay in the Prem.

On the bright side, Portsmouth is likely to rest some players this weekend for next week’s FA Cup Final, so Fulham may not have to deal with some of their more valuable players. On the down side though is the fact Reading is almost sure to beat the pants off Derby, the worst side to take the pitch in the Premier League in decades, if not ever.

So, despite a historic run to avoid relegation, Fulham still is clinging to the bottom of the Prem. with one game left to play. While Fulham controls their own destiny, a tough battle awaits this Sunday, one that could result in the Cottagers’ disappearance.

One thing is for sure going into the season’s final week. Brian McBride, Clint Dempsey and the rest of the Cottagers have never been such huge fans of lowly Derby County.