As the cold and frigid feel of winter leaves our bones and we edge ever closer to the balmy warmth of spring, our thoughts as always turn to six-pointers; that time of year when all is to play for and everything is there to be lost, whether it is the title race or the relegation battles. Six-pointers take on a new importance as the season starts to draw to a close.
But what is a six-pointer?, I hear you ask. Well, for the few unfortunate souls who have never lived through a title race, promotion battle, or a relegation dogfight, the six-pointer is where six points are truly in the mix for your team.
It is where your opponents in a particular fixture are in the mix with you (a similar league position) at the bottom of the table or the top and if you win, they lose, and that is just as important as the points for keeping you above them in the table.
In a strange season that has not seen any team drop off the pace ("doing a Derby") it makes for one of the most open relegation dogfights ever. Because of this there are six-pointers almost every weekend at the bottom end of the table.
The 2006/7 season was one of the most exciting at the wrong end of the table. The last breath of the season saw West Ham, Wigan Athletic, and Sheffield United all desperate to survive the dreaded drop, with Wigan and Sheffield United playing each other in a classic six-pointer.
The Blades were the unlucky losers in more ways than one as the 2-1 defeat sent them down. Wigan escaped on goal difference to fight in the top tier of English football for another season.
Unfortunately, this season, with no team really mounting a challenge at the top end of the table to oust Manchester United, who seem to be taking that bull by the horns, it looks like the all the action for the Premiership will be at the other end of the table for a change.
With only eight points separating 10th place from 20th in the Premiership, the season is set for one of the best finishes in the league's history. In the coming weeks there are exciting fixtures between close league rivals, Stoke City and Portsmouth, Hull City and Spurs, Bolton and Newcastle United, Hull and Blackburn, Sunderland and Spurs. The list does not stop there but goes on right up to the end of the season.
In the coming months there are many, many more tantalizing fixtures to wet our six pointer appetites that mean much more than just winning three points, but taking three points away from your opponent as well. Let battle commence.
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