Saturday’s Premier League results blew open the race for survival with north east sides Newcastle and Sunderland both picking-up wins.
The two had gone into the weekend on poor runs of form and looked to be heading for the drop.
However the weekend wins have revived their chances of survival, especially Sunderland’s win as it was against 17th place Norwich and moved the Black Cats to within a point of the Canaries.
History repeating for the Black Cats
Norwich blew a golden opportunity to move themselves clear of the drop zone by suffering what can only be described as a terrible 3-0 home defeat against Sunderland on Saturday. It could prove to be a pivotal result in the fight for survival.
Sunderland have a habit of putting themselves in the relegation mire, only to pull themselves out of it at a very late stage of the campaign. It has almost become an annual event at the Stadium of Light. I am just surprised the Sunderland fans have any nails left with their team putting their them through so much turmoil in recent campaigns.
In truth yesterday’s result came nowhere. The Black Cats have not been in terrible form, but have struggled in front of goal and that is why they are in the drop zone. Against Norwich they finally started to take their chances.
The improvement could not have come in a better game or at a better time. The win means that Sunderland are closing in on the Canaries, well like a black cat stalking a canary I suppose. Sam Allardyce’s side also have a game in-hand, which could prove crucial.
It seems just when we thought hope was lost for the Black Cats they produced a fantastic performance.
Quality finally shining through for Newcastle
Newcastle boosted their survival hopes with a 3-0 home win over midtable Swansea. Newcastle does have players in their team that are highly capable of producing quality. The problem is they are inconsistent.
The likes of Andros Townsend and Moussa Sissoko were both on the scoresheet for the Magpies on Saturday and the pair are two of the main culprits in being inconsistent. Townsend’s form has improved in recent weeks and he could prove vital in the Magpies fight for survival.
The win against Swansea was Newcastle’s first win in seven games and could not have been timed better. The Magpies have a game in-hand and could move above Norwich if they win that extra game, but that game in-hand is against Manchester City on Tuesday night.
The game will be a tough one as City have suddenly burst into life. Last time out the Citizens hammered Chelsea 3-0 at Stamford Bridge, courtesy of a hat-trick from Sergio Aguero. If Rafa Benitez’s team could somehow grind out a win against City things would look a lot rosier for the Magpies.
Too close to call
The fight for Premier League survival now looks far too close to call. Newcastle are currently odds of 3/10 to be relegated, with Norwich odds of 4/9 and Sunderland now odds of 4/6 to be plying their trade in the Championship next season.
It seems that none of the teams above the trio are likely to get dragged into the fight for survival simply because the games are running out.
Prior to Saturday’s game the two teams from the north east looked likely to join the already-relegated Aston Villa in the second tier next season. Norwich looked the most likely out of the three to get clear of trouble.
Well we should have known better with Sunderland. They seem to do their Steve McQueen great escape act every season and it seems the bookies are backing them to pull it off yet again this season.
As so often in the Premier League in recent campaigns the fight for survival could go right to the wire. Last season Newcastle escaped the drop on the last day of the campaign, while the Black Cats pulled-off some incredible results towards the end of the campaign to move to safety.
Both north east clubs survived the drop last year, but this season is likely to prove a very different story, with at least one of the sides set to go down.
The fight for survival is likely to rumble on and just like last season is likely to be more engaging near the end of the campaign than the fight for the Premier League title.
Who will be relegated from the Premier League this season?