At the top of the English Premiership there is excitement over who will finish in the final four spots that provide Champions League Qualification. There are roughly five teams still in contention, despite Brendan Rodgers ruling Liverpool out. Chelsea might be stuttering, but they have been the best team this year and will likely win the Premiership, which is why the battle at the bottom of the table is much more exciting
At the bottom of the table there seven teams that are with 13 points of each other. While this means that Newcastle are probably safe, and almost definitely will not be relegated as the bottom team in the Premiership, they are only nine points clear of QPR, who are 18th. This year’s relegation battle is extremely exciting because it is difficult to predict who will finish in the bottom spots. Leicester are currently bottom, and will likely be relegated, but they have played better in recent weeks, so they may be able to pull out. As mentioned before, Newcastle are nine points clear of the relegation zone, but they have played poorly since John Carver took over, and seem to be in free fall, with many players seemingly focused on the season being over. In addition to this, many of the teams battling for survival still have to play each other.
Aston Villa hosts Burnley and Leicester host QPR in two of the biggest final games of the year. It is likely that at least two of those teams will be relegated, and it may not be decided until that final game. This is certainly more exciting than the battle at the top of the table because so many teams are involved, since none of them have been able to put together any runs of form. Realistically it looks like any team that can win two or three of their final seven games would be able to pull away from the pack, although Leicester will need to win many more than that to stand any chance of survival.
With an increased pot of money available to the teams in the Premier League next year, it is important for every team that they avoid relegation. It isn’t just about being able to attract better players the next season, it is about having access to the largest TV deal that the Premier League has ever signed. This means that teams have to fight in every game to make sure that they are not in the dreaded bottom three at the end of the season. Below are the three teams I think, in order, will be relegated.
18th: Aston Villa: They have fought against relegation for the past few seasons and I think that their luck will finally wear out. They have Christian Benteke scoring goals, but the tactical naivety and gung-ho strategy of Tim Sherwood is risky, which was shown with the very entertaining 3-3 draw against QPR on Monday.
19th: Burnley: They have been inconsistent all season and I am not convinced that they will be able to secure enough points to stay up. Their next game is against Arsenal so it is unlikely that they will be picking up points this weekend. A very important game will be their fixture against Hull on May 9th. If they win that then they might stand a chance.
20th: Leicester: I can’t see them moving from bottom of the Premier League. They have gritty determination, but their play has been weak, and they have lost to too many other relegation candidates. They stormed the Championship last season, but they seem to be heading straight back down.