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Rudolph Hucker

February and the Bottom Eight.

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No side will get relegated because of February results

because there will be eleven further games to change things but, whether you

are a club hoping to climb or maintain the gap, it could make a huge

difference. This is what I think will happen and not what I hope will happen.



QPR will

ultimately avoid relegation in my opinion. They are ‘in the mix’ only four

points from leaving the bottom three.  

They are playing well and with team spirit. They need a win to fire them

and will target their home game against Norwich City as the game to achieve

this. A win places huge pressure on rivals yet to play.



They will have Lutonesque desire and passion for this one

game and Norwich City will need to go there with the same attitude to compete. QPR

will fancy a result at Swansea next game, before they play Man Utd at home, and

they have a good run in. But, they need the initial win, giving the game an

added dimension for Norwich.



Aston Villa looks

in a lot of trouble. The only game they might fancy winning in February is West

Ham at home.  February could begin to cut

them adrift.



Wigan is a

perennial survivor and when they get their act together they have quality

strikers. Saturday’s game against Southampton is a real six pointer as will be

Reading away at the end of the month. They won’t expect anything in between at

Chelsea and have an FA Cup game. Wigan will have a big say in the shape of

things and their last game is at home to Villa. A successful Wigan might be

good for Norwich because in the final analysis they are likely to stay up




Reading will

target their home games, it is their best chance of survival and Norwich’s dour

draw there now looks a good result. They will look for a result against

Sunderland this Saturday because February could otherwise be pointless as they

go away to Stoke and Man Utd.



Southampton drew

praise from Ferguson last weekend and look well organised.  They have a six pointer at Wigan on Saturday

and its Man City at St. Mary’s next before Newcastle in the Cup and a massive

six-pointer v QPR at the end of the month. This is a side at a crossroads but

most punters, I would expect, think they will have enough to stay up. A poor

February though will put pressure on them.



Norwich City is

probably the highest placed team most pundits expect to be relegated. February

puts matters in their own hands.  There

is no cup game and Norwich need to wrap certain players in cotton wool, or

else! But, an improvement in goal-scoring will make a huge difference and that

is the dilemma of Norwich City’s season right from when they failed to manage

their striker department pre-season.



The QPR game is huge, not just for Norwich to gain points

but more importantly to deny QPR both points and momentum.  To follow are two home games against tough

outfits who will be difficult to beat and more so if they become ‘must win’ due

to defeat at QPR, so 30 points might be tough to achieve this month, but 30

points would be a massive psychological lift going forwards.



After their big run, Norwich has been kept aloft by the form

and fixture clashes of sides below them. This time has passed. Norwich has to

rely on their own results in February to avoid a full-on relegation scrap

however promising the final home games.



Newcastle is

interesting. They have brought in a number of new players they hope adapt

quickly. They hover above the danger zone with two Europa cup games and only

two league games in February:  Chelsea

this weekend which looks ominous and a game they will look to for a win at the

end of the month against Southampton.  This month looks a tough one for them.



My final side under pressure is West Ham. They have been doing poorly of late but have winnable

games coming up of Swansea at home then Aston Villa away before Spurs at home.

Like Norwich it is very much in their hands to cement their position and if they

do not there is nowhere to hide.



I anticipate poor months for Aston Villa, Newcastle and

Reading; frustrating months for Norwich, Southampton and West Ham and good

months for QPR and Wigan. This would make Wigan look safe to stay up and put

QPR right in the mix, possibly out of the bottom three.



But a Norwich win at QPR might see them go on to pick up 5 –

7 points this month, a loss maybe 2 while QPR founder. Make no mistake, SKY

know how to pick games and QPR v Norwich is massive for both clubs.

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Newcastle will be absolutely fine, as will West Ham.

The key thing is there are 3 worse teams than us, even though they are picking up a few scalps (which always happens).

QPR have a huge job on their hands to stay up.

Reading, Southampton and Wigan have worse squads than us and less points. I know Wigan have this reputation but I don''t think it means much, it wont save them this season.

I don''t want to rely on teams being worse than us but I think it might be our saving grace.

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Sounds like you think a lot of QPR right now. I still think they''ll struggle and hope I''m proved right. Harry only works with big budgets. He''d never have touched QPR without that. They haven''t gone on any run since he took over and have continued to draw or lose on the whole. I agree that a win would be big for them (and for us in a negative way) but we have nothing to fear against them. They are a team that hasn''t had chance to settle and we need to get right in there against them and make them suffer

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