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After a loss at Chelsea on the opening weekend of the season, Hull City manager Steve Bruce gave a frank and intelligent response to the defeat. Cheap Vapormax Nz Sale . "It was always going to be difficult here. Our season will be defined by games like next week, no disrespect to Norwich of course." Hull went on to beat Norwich 1-0 and Bruce will have been able to mark a big three points in the column of season defining matches. Bruce hasnt spoken publicly about just how many of these matches his team faces, but if he did hed probably say 24. In the last four Premier League seasons, seven teams have always finished in the top eight. United and City from Manchester, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham from London and Liverpool and Everton from Merseyside. Only two teams in the past four years (Aston Villa of 09-10 and Newcastle of 11-12) have cracked the top seven and even in those years, Liverpool or Everton still finished in the top eight. The fact that not all of the super seven can win the league is irrelevant to teams below them. All seven of them are seen on a different level to the others and it will not be surprising at all to see them fill the top seven spots in the Premier League when it ends on May 11th, 2014, just as they did last season. These seven teams are the elite and although the other teams will pick points off them on a regular basis they are not points that should be expected often and do not accurately define their success long-term. Teams like Hull know any points gained against the super seven are an important bonus and, subsequently, points against the other 12 teams, lets call them the decisive dozen, are essential. There are, of course, clear divisions of talent inside the group of teams outside the bottom seven but the gap in quality is not what it used to be. Football managers often drop cliches into their answers such as, fine lines and small margins, when it comes to separating success and failure, and it isnt difficult to see why. Last season just 13pts separated 8th place West Brom, who everyone described as having a great season, and relegated Wigan Athletic. West Brom finished with 49pts, 35 achieved against the decisive dozen and an impressive 14 against the super seven. Wigan finished with 36pts, 30 achieved against the decisive dozen and just 5 against the super seven. This means in 24 of the 38 matches (almost two thirds of the season-63%) West Brom gained just five more points versus the weaker teams in the league than a team now playing outside of the Premier League. From this we can draw a few conclusions. There will be some who feel Wigan got relegated because they didnt get enough points from the top seven but, in fact, the truth is they didnt get enough against the decisive dozen, and neither did West Brom. Let us take a closer look at the last four Premier League seasons. These tables are in the order of the non super seven teams and how they performed in decisive dozen games. Next to their point total in those games is their point totals against the super seven. 2009/10Aston Villa 48-16Birmingham 41-9Stoke 40-7Fulham 34-12Bolton 34-5Sunderland 32-12West Ham 31-4Wolves 29-9Wigan 26-10Hull 20-10*Burnley 19-11*Portsmouth 16-3* *- relegated It is no surprise to see the bottom three teams had the worst records in decisive dozen matches (these three teams were worse than the rest by some margin) but it is a surprise that two of them were better than many against super seven sides. 2010/11Fulham 44-5Sunderland 35-12Stoke 35-11Bolton 35-11Newcastle 34-12Blackburn 34-9Wigan 33-9WBA 31-16Birmingham 30-9*Aston Villa 29-19Blackpool 28-11*Wolves 26-14West Ham 24-9* Unlike 2009/10 when 31 points would have been enough to survive, the 2010/11 season was very competitive at the bottom with two teams being relegated on 39pts. Trends to notice here are how relegated teams fail to get more than 30pts in the first column and the substantial drop off Birmingham and West Ham had in those totals from the season previous. They were relegated because of their inability to get more decisive dozen points, not points against the super seven which are actually admirable. Another thing to look at is how a team like Aston Villa fared in decisive dozen games. Villa finished 9th that year with 48pts but were very average in games not against the super seven which pointed to an obvious regression coming if they didnt evaluate themselves properly while preparing for the 2011/12 season. 2011/12Newcastle 50-15WBA 40-7Fulham 39-13Norwich 39-8Swansea 35-12Sunderland 35-10Wigan 31-12Aston Villa 31-7Stoke 29-16Bolton 29-7*Blackburn 23-8*QPR 22-15Wolves 22-3* Like West Ham and Birmingham in 10/11, Bolton and Blackburn were relegated because a significant drop off in points gained in column one to the season previous, both slipping under 30. Villa didnt bolster their squad the way they needed to and were very fortunate to survive in 2011/12, gaining just two more points in decisive dozen games (12 less in column two) and avoiding relegation by that same margin. A look at the performances of Wigan, Stoke and QPR also pointed to some serious concerns heading forward as they gained far too many points against super seven teams than their results in decisive dozen matches suggested they should. 2012/13West Ham 40-6Swansea 38-8Fulham 37-6Aston Villa 36-5WBA 35-14Stoke 34-8Newcastle 33-8Sunderland 31-8Wigan 30-5*Norwich 29-15Southampton 29-12Reading 23-5*QPR 18-7* Such concerns for Wigan, Stoke and QPR did materialize. All three teams saw their point totals in super seven games drop by 50 per cent or more and two of them were relegated. Stoke survived after gaining more points in column one but they still had their worst season of their five in the Premier League. Sunderland, Norwich and Southampton ended last season in a similar spot to Wigan, Stoke and QPR. Norwich and Southampton, in particular, scored far too many points against super seven teams than their record in decisive dozen matches suggested. Southamptons imbalance comes from a change of manager in January. Under new boss Mauricio Pochettino they claimed 10pts from just six super seven games but in the summer he rightfully spoke about the teams poor performances against teams in the bottom half last season and then spent money on his squad to address such an issue. No team knows more about small margins than Norwich City. After a loss at home to Aston Villa last May they had just 38pts from 36 matches and the Carrow Rd faithful feared relegation. The Canaries would go on to win their last two matches and finished 11th in the table, albeit just eight points ahead of Wigan. Last season Chris Hughtons side beat Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and didnt lose at all to Tottenham, yet still flirted with relegation because they were a worse team for 63% of the season than Wigan. Like Pochettino, Hughton recognized his team needed strengthening, and spent over 25 million pounds this summer on new players. He will be aware that in the last four seasons any side that finishes with less than 30pts in column one and 10pts or more in column two goes on to score less in column two the next year, forcing the team to either improve in decisive dozen games or get relegated. Norwich fit this mold and, even with investment in the summer are not a side that should expect to get 15pts from super seven games this season. They simply must gain more than 29pts than their 24 other matches if they want to maintain survival and six points from four of those matches so far is a good start. Cheap Vapormax Nz Clearance . According to the Red Wings Twitter feed, Zetterberg plans to practice with the team on Thursday and is aiming for a second round comeback. Cheap Vapormax Nz Shoes .com) - Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mat Latos had an arthroscopic procedure performed on his right elbow last week, the teams official site reported Wednesday. . The 48th-ranked Williams made her first appearance in Dubai since she won her second straight title here in 2010. Shed missed the last three years either because of injury or Sjogrens Syndrome.SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers scored early and then played enough defence to hang on. Scottie Upshall scored a short-handed goal and had an assist to lead the Panthers over the New York Islanders 4-2 on Tuesday night. Nick Bjugstad, Drew Shore and Aleksander Barkov also scored for the Panthers. Tim Thomas stopped 31 shots, and Ed Jovanovski had two assists. "We had chances tonight early in the game and they went in," Florida coach Peter Horachek said. Thomas Vanek and Colin McDonald scored for the Islanders. Kevin Poulin made 22 saves. The win was the first for Florida over the Islanders in five games, dating to the 2011-2012 season. The Islanders lost for the first time in five games and had a seven-game road winning streak snapped. Florida took a 4-0 lead on the short-handed goal by Upshall in the second. He took control of the puck as it slid away from New Yorks Andrew MacDonald at the blue line and skated in on Poulin, beating him on the stick side at 15:54 for his second short-handed goal of the season and first goal since Nov. 30 against Pittsburgh. "Anytime you get a flip up to a D-man who has trouble with bouncing pucks, youve just got to get on him," Upshall said. "It was one of those plays that I was lucky to poke it past him and stick with it and make a move." New York had come from behind in five straight road games to pull out a win, but a 4-0 deficit proved too much to overcome. "We talked about it before tonights game, that we wanted a better start," McDonald said. "Obviously, we didnt do that and got ourselves in a deeper hole than in the last couple games. Going down four, its just too tough to come back." The Islanders scored with 31 seconds left in the second. Matt Martin passed from behind the net in front to McDonald, who poked the puck past Thomas to make it 4-1. New York closed to 4-2 on Vaneks goal in the third. Vanek took a pass from Frans Nielsen behind the net and beat Thomas at 2:38. Thomas faced 15 shots in the third period but was abble to keep the Islanders in check after Vaneks goal. Cheap Vapormax Nz Free Shipping. "Its rare in the NHL to have that kind of cushion," Thomas said. "It was nice, but at the same time its a challenge, too, because you dont want to let the other team back into it. They were right on the brink of coming back there after they got the second goal." The Panthers took a 3-0 lead in the first, the first time they had scored three goals in a period since a 4-2 win over Dallas in the season opener on Oct. 3. Florida scored just 32 seconds in for its fastest goal this season. The Islanders turned the puck over at the blue line and Brad Boyes passed to Barkov low in the right circle. His wrist shot beat Poulin. "Early on we made some tough mistakes that cost us goals right away," Vanek said. Shores goal made it 2-0. Shore was the last Panthers player to touch the puck before it went off the skate of defenceman Brian Strait and into the net at 15:34. The goal was Shores first of the season. Bjugstad stretched the lead to 3-0 when his shot from in front beat Poulin on the left side with 36 seconds left in the first. Even though he gave up four early goals, Poulin made some good saves to prevent the game from turning into a rout. "Thats my job, I guess. To give the team a chance to win and thats what I tried to do tonight and every night Im in," Poulin said. "It wasnt an easy game tonight." The Islanders killed off a 5-on-3 penalty for 1:14 in the first period. The Panthers power-play drought extended to 0 for 22 in the past seven games. NOTES: The Panthers will host the 2015 NHL draft in Sunrise from June 26-27. ... Jovanovskis two assists were the first points for the Panthers captain since returning to the lineup from hip surgery on Jan. 4. ... Thomas faced New York for the first time since he left the team as a free agent in July. He was traded to the Islanders from Boston in February but never played a game for them. ... Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov, on injured reserve since Jan. 6, has resumed skating but is still inactive. China NFL Jerseys Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys NFL Jerseys Cheap Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap Basketball Jerseys Online Stitched Hockey Jerseys Wholesale Baseball Jerseys Football Jerseys Outlet College Jerseys For Sale Cheap MLB Jerseys Wholesale Soccer Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys For Sale Wholesale NFL Jerseys ' ' '