So, it's that time of year again. Not just the time of year where we're staring ominously at the drop line, but the time when weather conspires to give me a day off work, so I spend part of it throwing this together. There are seven relegation-threatened teams at the moment, and the threshold for relegation has risen rather steadily. I'm using 38 points as a benchmark, but it could be pretty variable; if Fulham gets cut loose and another team falls off, it could be lower, but the possibility also remains that it gets bumped up, as most of the teams in the mini-league have been getting results in recent weeks. As always, the numbers are the average seasonal points total of their opponents: the PL average is 1.38 points per match (up over last year, actually...fewer draws!), so anything above that represents a harder-than-average schedule. I've added a new metric: Form Since Ralph. This is basically just the form of every side in the 11 matches since Hasenhuttl took over. Crystal Palace - 6 home, 6 away. 0.92 points/match needed. Average opponent home: 1.39. Average opponent away: 1.40. Average opponent overall: 1.40. Games against mini-league: 5 (2 H, 3 A) Form Since Ralph: 15 points in 11. Palace's schedule is pretty darned average, so their outlook is pretty average: win the winnable games. They have been in good form, and three wins and a couple draws is their target, and home matches against shaky Brighton and doomed Huddersfield may well prove pivotal there. Brighton - 6 home, 6 away. 0.92 points/match needed. Average opponent home: 1.17. Average opponent away: 1.65. Average opponent overall: 1.41. Games against mini-league: 5 (4 H, 1 A) Form Since Ralph: 6 in 11. Brighton has the sort of schedule you would want in this position: their away matches are brutally difficult, but they have plenty of matches at home from which to fashion three wins. And on the season, their home record is actually quite good: the best of the mini-league, in fact. Losing to Burnley didn't help matters, and their overall form is awful, but they have every chance to dig themselves out. No matter the outcome, those home matches against the other strugglers will play an outsized role in the home stretch. Burnley - 7 home, 5 away. 0.92 points/match needed. Average opponent home: 1.63. Average opponent away: 1.57. Average opponent overall: 1.61. Games against mini-league: 3 (2 H, 1 A) Form Since Ralph: 18 in 11. Burnley's in good form, but that owes in no small part to an easier schedule. They have gotten the job done against the mini-league since Christmas (10 points in 4 such matches), but the downside is that their remaining schedule is utterly brutal. Upcoming matches against Newcastle and Palace could be pivotal; fail to win those, it will require some Dychean underdog magic to keep their heads above water. That their goal differential is already worse than some of the other contenders doesn't help. Newcastle - 6 home, 6 away. 1.08 points/match needed. Average opponent home: 1.19. Average opponent away: 1.23. Average opponent overall: 1.21 Games against mini-league: 6 (4 H, 2 A) Form Since Ralph: 12 in 11. You'd have to think that Newcastle has every chance of finishing atop the mini-league. There are plenty of six-pointers on the docket, and they have been quite good in such games to date: 3 wins, 4 draws and a single loss in eight. With a home match against Huddersfield next, they are in good stead to establish a bit of a cushion, and likely to maintain it. Cardiff - 6 home, 6 away. 1.08 points/match needed. Average opponent home: 1.56. Average opponent away: 1.44. Average opponent overall: 1.50. Games against mini-league: 4 (1H, 3 A) Form Since Ralph: 14 in 11. Cardiff's schedule is difficult: a steady procession of midtable sides at home, an alternation between top sides and bottom feeders away. Given that they have just one win against the top half, that's tough sledding. If not for two gifted wins against us, you'd have to think they would be down, but our generosity gives them a fighting chance. Southampton - 6 home, 6 away. 1.17 points/match needed. Average opponent home: 1.44. Average opponent away: 1.43. Average opponent overall: 1.44. Games against mini-league: 4 (2 H, 2 A) Form Since Ralph: 15 in 11. Our schedule isn't the toughest, but neither is it favourable. The relative lack of matches against the bottom eight might almost be a relief, however, given our mediocre record in such fixtures: 2 wins, 5 draws and 3 losses means that we've been barely better against poor teams than against the league as a whole. Four wins and a couple draws is the target; with Tottenham, Liverpool, Arsenal and Man Utd among our final twelve, that means either results against big clubs, or a level of dominance against the rest that we haven't demonstrated to date. Eep. Fulham - 6 home, 6 away. 1.75 points/match needed. Average opponent home: 1.62. Average opponent away: 1.27. Average opponent overall: 1.47 Games against mini-league: 3 (2 H, 1 A) Form Since Ralph: 8 in 11. Fulham is very, very close to being inked in on the Championship schedule. Theirs is an incredibly tall task against fairly difficult opposition; anything less than wins in their next two against West Ham and ourselves and you would have to imagine that their race is run. The good news? Once relegated, they won't be on the schedule of most of our competitors. Huddersfield - 2.25 points/match needed. Not even bothering with anything else. A team that has taken just 1 point in 11 matches and gotten outscored 22-4 for their troubles is not going to play the final third of the season like a title contender. Huddersfield is so very, very down.