Here is a quick look at the remaining fixtures for Saints, West Ham & Reading as the season approached it’s finale…..
So in the grand scheme of things, how do these fixtures shape up?
Well from a very basic point of view if all three clubs match their results from the reverse fixtures this would be the resultant points:-
1st Saints – 90
2nd West Ham – 87
3rd Reading – 84
It is extremely unlikely that results will turn out like that though so what other factors could we look at?
West Ham have one more home game (5) than Saints and Reading (4) but actually this might not be an advantage, as West Ham have the worst home form, dropping points in as many games as they have taken the maximum (9). All three clubs have the same amount of away trips (6), which slightly favours West Ham over Reading with Saints the biggest strugglers on the road.
Saints play the most sides in the bottom half of the table (6), with Reading and West Ham facing the same amount each (4). This is a particularly encouraging number for Saints fans, as Nigel Adkins side have only conceded one goal to a bottom half club in 2012!
Reading are the team on form, having won eight games on the bounce until a draw with Doncaster Rovers in their last outing.
Form over the last ten games for all three teams reads:-
Reading:- LWWWWWWWWD – 25 points
Saints:- LDDWDWWWDW – 19 points
West Ham:- WWLWDWDWDD – 19 points
If everyone stays true to the form book, Reading will complete an impressive end to the season and win the league with 92 points, leaving goal difference to separate Saints and West Ham for the second promotion spot (based on a win for West Ham in their game in hand).
What will probably decide the fate of the clubs will be the fixtures of 31st March and 13th April when Reading travel to Upton Park and St. Mary’s respectively. Two wins for the Royals would put them firmly in with a chance at the title. Saints have the best record against their title challenging opponents though, unbeaten, having taken five points from three games. Reading are also unbeaten, taking four points from two, while West Ham have let themselves down in these fixtures with just one point from three.
So who will be lifting the football league trophy on the 28th April? Not easy to tell, but one thing is for sure, for Saints, Royals and Hammers respectively it is going to be one hell of a ride!