Saturday 23 September 2017

Battle to avoid relegation hots up

Leicester City Manager Nigel Pearson's 'ostrich' outburst underlined how nerves are fraying at the bottom end of the Premier League
Leicester City Manager Nigel Pearson's 'ostrich' outburst underlined how nerves are fraying at the bottom end of the Premier League
Independent.ie Newsdesk

It's all over bar the gloating at the top but at the wrong end of the Premier League nerves are fraying - as Nigel Pearson's "ostrich" outburst underlined. With a month to go, eight teams are battling for survival . Three will not make it, but which three?

West Brom (Form: DWLLL)

P 34 GD -14 Pts 37

Last relegated: 2008-09

Fixtures: Man Utd (a) today, Newcastle (a) May 9, Chelsea (h) May 18, Arsenal (a) May 24

The revival under Tony Pulis looked as if it was juddering to a premature halt prior to victory at Selhurst Park but they are now probably a draw from safety and there is no manager in the league better at coaching his team to take a point.

Newcastle Utd (LLLLL)

P 34 GD -21 Pts 35

Last relegated: 2008-09

Fixtures: Leicester (a) Today, West Brom (h) May 9, QPR (a) May 16, West Ham (h) May 24

No points since February, supporters in mutiny, lame-duck caretaker manager. All the ingredients of a relegation-bound team are there. They probably need to scrape a couple of more points, which they should manage.

Hull City (WWLLL)

P 34 GD -13 Pts 34

Last relegated: 2009-10

Fixtures: Arsenal (h) Mon, Burnley (h) May 9, Tottenham (a) May 16, Man Utd (h) May 24

Two wins in a week have transformed the mood in the Tigers' camp. They may now just survive, with Burnley's visit crucial.

Aston Villa (LWDLL)

P 34 GD -22 Pts 32

Last relegated: 1986-87

Fixtures: Everton (h) Today, West Ham (h) May 9, Southampton (a) May 16, Burnley (h) May 24

The atmosphere at Villa Park, so moribund under Paul Lambert, is vibrant, but they remain at risk. Reaching the FA Cup final is wonderful for the fans, and good for players' confidence, but Tim Sherwood will be desperate to avoid copying Wigan's fate in 2013. A team with a spine of Brad Guzan, Ron Vlaar, Fabian Delph and Christian Benteke should not be in this trouble and ,if that quartet stay fit they will survive.

Leicester City (LWWWW)

P 34 GD -18 Pts 31

Last relegated: 2003-04

Fixtures: Newcastle (h) Today, Southampton (h) May 9, Sunderland (a) May 16, QPR (h) May 24

Playing matches with the same intensity their manager brings to press conferences has given Leicester the best chance of the promoted trio of staying up for a second season.

Sunderland (DLWLL)

P 33 GD -23 Pts 30

Last relegated: 2005-06 Fixtures: Southampton (h) Today, Everton (a) May 9, Leicester City (h) May 16, Arsenal (a) May 20, Chelsea (a) May 24

The new Coventry, forever battling and escaping the drop. When Dick Advocaat took over from Gus Poyet in March, Sunderland were out of the bottom three and it looked like the easiest £500,000 bonus the £100,000-a-month Dutchman would ever earn. But Sunderland are in the drop zone after four points from as many games under Advocaat. Looking at the run-in, they badly need to beat Southampton today.

QPR (DLDWL)

P34 GD -21 Pts 27

Last relegated: 2012-13

Fixtures: Liverpool (a) Today, Man City (a) May 10, Newcastle (h) May 16, Leicester (a) May 24

Relegation would be calamitous for QPR financially, but their ageing, well-paid players seem unable to stave it off. Dire home record will be their undoing.

Burnley (LLLDL)

P 34 GD -26 Pts 26

Last relegated: 2009-10

Fixtures: West Ham (a) Today, Hull (a) May 9, Stoke (h) May 16, Aston Villa (a) May 24

As it did five years ago, the Clarets' brave fight looks like drawing to a bitter close. Last week's defeat at home to Leicester was a killer blow.

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