For every club that exceeds expectations, there is another one that constantly falls down. This has happened quite a bit in the English Premier League season.
While the top of the table has been extremely competitive, so has the bottom, as a number of teams are in danger of relegation after poor starts to the year.
In the first part of Matchday 21, these struggling squads continued to disappoint with weak showings against both good and bad opponents.
Here is a look at the updated league table and results from Jan. 11, along with a breakdown of the most disappointing clubs from the day of football.
|14||West Bromwich Albion||21||4||9||8||-5||21|
|17||West Ham United||21||4||6||11||-9||18|
|Cardiff City||0-2||West Ham United|
|Southampton||1-0||West Bromwich Albion|
|Manchester United||2-0||Swansea City|
Heading into the weekend, there were only two matches featuring two teams both on the top half of the league table. One will be played on Sunday when Manchester City travels to Newcastle United, but the other might have been tough to find.
Hull City currently sit at 10th in the league table, but they looked nothing like that on Saturday, as they could barely muster any offense against Chelsea.
With the 3-5-1-1 formation, Hull spent little time in the attacking zone and ended up getting only two shots on goal and a single corner kick. Obviously, it would be tough to score on Petr Cech regardless, as this was a historic match for him:
FT Hull City 0 Chelsea 2. Chelsea go top at the start of the BPL weekend. Cech gets his 209th clean sheet, a club record.— FOX Soccer Trax (@FOXSoccerTrax) January 11, 2014
However, this was an embarrassing home performance for a club trying to prove it belonged. Losing to Chelsea is not a bad thing, but they did not give themselves any chance to win this match.
Things have not gone well for Cardiff lately with only one win in the last 10 matches. However, a recent win over Newcastle United in the third round of the FA Cup should have given the squad some confidence.
That did not happen, as they lost to West Ham United, a squad that entered the day in 19th place in the league table.
Cardiff held possession for 63 percent of the match and found a way to get seven shots on goal. However, they could not get the ball in the back of the net, even when their opponent went down to 10 men after a James Tomkins red card.
The good news is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still confident. According to BBC Sport, the new manager said after the match:
We'll work at it. I know this is not going to be all singing and dancing of course, I expected it to be a tough job but we'll look forward to going to Manchester City next weekend.
We're five points off 10th place. There's two leagues: it's so tight from 10 and down so we'll be competitive in that league, don't worry.
There is a lot of season left, but Cardiff have to do a better job of taking advantage of winnable matches like this; otherwise, they will find themselves in the Championship again next season.
A few years ago, Fulham were regulars on the top half of the table and constant competitors for the European tournaments. However, they have been constantly dropping and are now nothing more than an embarrassment.
It is one thing to have a bad loss to Arsenal or Manchester City, but Fulham allowed four goals in a defeat against Sunderland on Saturday.
Not only is this the most Sunderland have scored in a league match this year, but it is only the fourth time they had more than one goal. As Ian Darke of BT Sport puts it, Fulham were "leaking goals":
Fulham leaking goals. 4 at home to Sunderland is a shocker. Poyet has wins over Man C Chelsea Everton Man Utd and Newc since appointed— Ian Darke (@IanDarke) January 11, 2014
Defense has been a problem for Fulham all season, and they now have the worst goal differential in the league at minus-24.
Although they are not currently in position for relegation, they will have to turn things around soon to avoid dropping out of the Premier League for the first time in over a decade.
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