Who is going down?
With the Premier league entering it’s final furlong, here at sillyseason, we will take a closer look at the battle to avoid the drop, and those teams involved.
Three games remain in the top-flight season, with five sides’ still sweating over their future in the Premier League.
Burnley, Queens Park Rangers and Sunderland are the three teams who currently reside in the relegation zone in the Premier League, with Hull City, Leicester City, Aston Villa and Newcastle United perched above the trap door.
Burnley: 20th place: 26 points
The Clarets look set for a swift return to the Championship, following promotion as runners-up last season, and could be relegated should they fail to beat fellow relegation candidates, Hull City, at the KC Stadium on Saturday.
Goals have been hard to come by for Sean Dyche’s beleaguered side, with top-scorer Danny Ings on a concerning run of ten games without finding the net.
Indeed, the Turf Moor outfit have only scored 25 goals in 35 league games. Relegation is a seemingly inevitable occurrence in the coming weeks, but given the East Lancashire’s club’s philosophy, they have a contingency in place to bounce back next time.
Verdict: Going down
QPR: 19th place: 27 points:
Queens Park Rangers will probably be joining Burnley in relegation to the second-tier sometime soon, with Chris Ramsey’s hoops seven points from safety, in what has been a woeful season for all concerned at Loftus Road.
Having parted company with Harry Redknapp in January, club chairman Tony Fernandes took the brave option of appointing from within the club, Ramsey taking up the reins for the remainder of this season.
And that bizarre decision would prove costly for the R’s, who have tasted victory just once in their last ten fixtures. They too could potentially drop this weekend with defeat away at Manchester City.
Verdict: Once again, going down
Sunderland: 18th place: 33 points.
Having looked dead and buried a few weeks ago, Sunderland have hauled themselves to the brink of survival under recently-appointed manager, Dick Advocaat, after Gus Poyet’s sacking.
Two penalties from Spanish midfielder Jordi Gomez helped them overcome Southampton 2-1 at the Stadium of Light last Saturday, but with a tricky run-in, it is time to fear the worst for the Wearside outfit.
Advocaat made an initial impact early on, following the 1-0 win over bitter-rivals, Newcastle United.
But with trips to in-form Everton, Arsenal, and a final-day outing at champions Chelsea, we struggle to see where the points will come from?
Hull City: 17th place: 34 points:
Steve Bruce’s men are perched just above the bottom three, and despite back-to-back victories over Crystal Palace and Liverpool, will still be looking over their shoulder heading into the finale.
Having struggled for form prior to those games, the arrival of Dame N’Doye in January has spurred the Tigers on, and head into Saturday’s home game with Burnley knowing that three points will push the Humber club closer to survival.
N’Doye has notched five times during his spell, and Bruce, who has faced relegation-scraps before, will be a Premier League manager come August.
Verdict: Staying up:
Leicester City: 16th place: 34 points:
A few weeks ago, if you said to me that the Foxes would remain a top-flight outfit, I would have laughed at you to be honest!
But following a miraculous recovery which has occurred in the East-Midlands, Nigel Pearson’s Leicester City have won five of their last six fixtures.
The signing of Robert Huth, coupled with the return to form for Leo Ulloa and Jamie Vardy has spearheaded an unlikely revival for Leicester.
Ostrich-gate has somewhat deterred the fine work that Pearson has achieved, but three-points against Sothampton at the King Power would have the doubters with their heads firmly in the sand.
Verdict: Staying up
Newcastle United: 15th place: 35 points:
Eight straight defeats for John Carver’s side has seen Newcastle go from mid-table mediocrity, to relegation-threatened.
The squad at St James’ Park is perhaps even worse than the one that got relegated from the top-flight in May 2009, with dressing room unrest compounding the feeling of negativity around Tyneside.
Carver, who has been at the club for a decade, took over on a temporary basis from Alan Pardew, when the latter departed to take charge of Crystal Palace.
With no sign of an improvement in sight, last week’s 3-0 hammering at Leicester City just summed up the sorrow around the place.
The visit of West Bromwich Albion to St James’ Park is a massive game for Carver’s boys, and could it define their campaign?
Verdict: Staying Up, due to others failing:
Aston Villa: 15th place: 35 points:
Villa are on the crest of a wave under Tim Sherwood, who has dramatically changed the fortunes at Villa Park in the past few months.
The 46-year-old former Tottenham Hotspur manager has led the second-city club to an FA Cup final against Arsenal, and recent league triumphs against Everton, and former side Spurs at White Hart Lane.
Christian Benteke netted a brace in the 3-2 win over the Toffees, and has really come to fruition under Sherwood’s guidance, finding the net ten times in nine games.
The thought of a trip to Wembley will not be a hindrance, so the Villans’ will be fine!
Verdict: Comfortably staying up!
by Ben Reardon