With Burnley and QPR looking set to be relegated, one dreaded spot still remains. Two points separate Aston Villa, Newcastle, Leicester City, Hull & Sunderland, any one of those 5 could end up taking the unwanted 18th spot in the table.
Sunderland are currently in 18th, and have the most work to do. Their current form isn’t too bad, only losing once in their last 4, and picking up 3 points on two occasions in that time. The Black Cats may look back to last season, when they pulled off a marvellous escape this time last season, beating Chelsea and taking points off City. If Sunderland are to escape, they will be looking at wins against Everton and a vital clash against fellow rivals Leicester. Their final two games are away at Arsenal and Chelsea, and any points from them look very unlikely.
Staying in the north east, Newcastle find themselves in one almighty mess. A shambolic run of 8 defeats on the bounce has dragged them from mid-table safety into the relegation dogfight. After a pathetic performance last weekend at Leicester, John Carver has a mountain to climb, but they have one of the more simpler run ins. QPR already have one foot back in the Championship, and both West Brom and West Ham have nothing much to play for. On paper, they should pick up at-least one win, but on this current form, nothing is certain!
It’s been a resurgent Leicester City who have somehow found a spectacular run of form to drag themselves off the foot of the table. 5 wins in 6 games has catapulted the Foxes up the table. Nigel Pearson may be a controversial figure, but he has instilled a great fighting spirit in the squad, and their main striker Leonardo Ulloa has found his golden touch from earlier in the season. His goals being vital in their late surge. With Sunderland and QPR still to play, they will fancy their chances in retainer their status in the top flight.
Hull have been in a malaise for quite some time. last season they stumbled to 16th place, their run to the FA Cup final did mask their dire domestic form. This season has been the same, despite an abundance of new faces in summer. They face a tricky set of fixtures to end their season. Next up is Burnley, a win here is a must, as Spurs and United await in the subsequent weeks. If points are dropped to Burnley, it will be a nervous fortnight for the fans.
Tim Sherwood does not enjoy the best of reputations, but he has done a great job at turning around the season of free-falling Aston Villa. With 4 games left to play, and a 2 point buffer, Villa should feel some what comfortable, compared to their rivals. Christian Benteke has been stunning in the last few weeks, surely putting himself in the window for a big move come summer. The striker has been instrumental in Villa’s late season resurrection. Home games against West Ham and Burnley should provide the points required to survive, though with the confidence flowing in the FA Cup finalists, points at Southampton and Arsenal could be salvaged.
Of the 5 teams, Sunderland and Hull have the most to do, and Newcastle may get sucked in if their current form continues until the end of May. The other 3 will feel confident that they can obtain the points that they require. If we had to say one team, Hull City look like the unfortunate team. One thing is for sure, this fight will go into the final minutes of the 38th match of the season!