The race for Premier League survival is starting to hot up, after yesterday’s games.
There were crucial victories for Wigan, and Aston Villa who defeated fellow strugglers Norwich, while Newcastle claimed a draw at West Ham.
It seems that the Premier League’s own Steve McQueen Wigan could complete yet another great escape this season.
Despite being a goal down twice the Latics won 3-2 at midtable West Brom yesterday. The victory leaves Roberto Martinez’s men are just two points away from safety.
The side from Lancashire seem to escape at the last minute every season. The perennial survivors host fellow strugglers Aston Villa on the last day of the season and it could decide their fate.
Monday night’s clash between Sunderland and Stoke has become a must win game for both teams, after Villa and Wigan’s victories. Stoke should be secure on 40 points, but Wigan could still catch the Potters.
Meanwhile, Sunderland will be desperate to recover from the awful 6-1 defeat at rivals Villa last time out. Prior to the Villa Park humiliation the Black Cats were looking in good spirits under new boss Paolo Di Canio.
The north east side will go into their home clash with the Potters in a very nervous position. The Blacks are just two points clear of the relegation zone and Wigan. This game could be another test of Di Canio’s managerial metal.
Aston Villa has hit form in recent weeks and has surged up to 40 points. The Villans are not quite safe just yet, but they are in decent form and have their destiny in their own hands. If they avoid defeat at Wigan on the last day of the season, they should be safe from relegation.
Villa has hit form at the right time, after struggling for much of the season. It seems that the Villans young team are starting to mature.
Norwich’s 2-1 defeat against Villa in yesterday’s game at Carrow Road has put the Canaries right in the mix. The Villa defeat was even more painful due to the fact that former-Canaries boss Paul Lambert is now at Villa and got one over on his former-team. Norwich finished above Villa last season, but that may not happen this season.
The Canaries host West Brom next weekend, by which time they could be outside the relegation zone only on goal difference, if results go against them. Norwich will want to attempt to secure their safety next weekend against the Baggies, as the Canaries face a trip to former-champions Manchester City on the last day of the season.
The visitors do not have much to play for, but will want to end their season on a high note. Victory is vital for the club from Norfolk though.
Southampton has played some good football this season, but they are currently only five points clear of the relegation zone. The Saints have looked safe from the drop in recent weeks. However, with just two games to go they could still be in the thick of the relegation battle.
The side from the south coast face an away trip to rivals Sunderland and a home clash with Stoke. Both teams are still involved in the relegation dogfight, and failure to win could cost the Saints their place in the top flight.
I think that Southampton will have just enough to stay up this season. It would be a shame to see such a good footballing team relegated.
Newcastle has been on a poor run of form recently, with two heavy home defeats followed by a decent draw away at midtable West Ham yesterday. If results go against the Magpies by next weekend, they could be in the drop zone.
Next weekend’s visit to bottom of the table QPR is a must-win game for the Magpies, with a home game with Champions League chasing Arsenal on the last day of the season. Alan Pardew’s side is in big danger of the drop.
The fight for survival is very tight. What happens in the next week could determine who will join Reading and QPR in the Championship next season. The rest of the season promises to be dramatic and fans of teams near the bottom of the table will be praying that their team survive the drop.
Two teams that will be playing in the Premier League next season are Cardiff and Hull. The pair met yesterday on the last day of the Championship season and a 2-2 draw was enough to send City up.
Cardiff had already clinched the Championship title prior to the game, but still put in a good performance at the KC Stadium. Congratulations to both clubs for their promotion.
Who will join QPR and Reading in the Championship next season?