As somebody once famous stated it is now squeaky-bum time at the bottom of the Premier League table.
Seven teams are still in the battle for top-flight survival this season, with some of them in worse shape than others.
Two of last seasons promoted teams QPR and Burnley look doomed to an instant return to the second tier of English football.
Burnley are currently eight points away from safety and QPR are just one point better off than the side from Lancashire.
Weekend defeats mean that both teams would need football miracles to happen in the last three games of the Premier League season to stay up. Sunderland produced a phoenix from the flames rise last season, but that looks beyond the leagues current bottom two.
That means there are now essentially five teams fighting to avoid that dreaded third relegation berth this season. Some teams have hit form at just the right time and some are just in absolute freefall at the moment. Here is a guide to those prospective candidates:
Villa have improved greatly under Tim Sherwood and a 3-2 home victory over in-form Everton last time out was a much-needed one. However, despite that victory the Villans remain just two points clear of the drop zone.
A home date with midtable West Ham at Villa Park this weekend could be a chance for the Midlanders to further distance themselves from the drop zone. In-form Belgian striker Christian Benteke will also have a chance to continue his rich vein of form.
There is always one team that gets sucked into the relegation battle in the final weeks and this season that team is Newcastle, who suffered a 3-0 drubbing at Leicester last time out and finished the game with nine men following the dismissals of defenders Mike Williamson and Daryl Janmaat.
The Magpies run of eight straight defeats is the worst run of any side this season in the top-flight and their previously safe looking point’s total of 35 no longer looks so safe. John Carver’s side simply have to get something from their home game against West Brom this weekend if they are to avoid slipping into the relegation zone.
Hull City have picked-up consecutive victories in the Premier League against Crystal Palace and Liverpool, but face a tough test against Arsenal at the KC Stadium on Monday night.
Steve Bruce’s team will kick-off the game just one point outside the relegation zone with arguably the toughest set of fixtures remaining of any of the relegation-threatened teams. Getting anything against the Gunners would be regarded as a bonus. A win against Arsene Wenger’s men could prove absolutely priceless.
At the weekend Bruce’s team face a crucial home match against doomed Burnley at the KC Stadium in a must-win game for the Tigers.
The Foxes are one of the form teams in the Premier League of late, with only Arsenal and Chelsea picking up more points from their last six Premier League games. The side from the Midlands have won five out of their last six top-flight games, including last time out when they hammered Newcastle.
However, for all their good form Nigel Pearson’s side are just one point above the relegation zone and 18th place Sunderland also have a game in-hand on the Foxes, who face a home game with Europa League-chasing Southampton at the weekend.
Sunderland occupies the last relegation berth, but currently have a game in-hand on a host of their relegation rivals. However, that game in-hand is at home against Arsenal in a few weeks’ time. The Black Cats kept themselves in touch with their rivals by claiming a 2-1 home victory against Southampton last time out.
Dick Advocaat’s side face a tricky trip to Everton in the early Premier League kick-off on Saturday. They are just one point away from safety and after last season’s late heroics will be confident of producing yet another late-late show.
Burnley and QPR are currently favourites to be relegated and Sunderland are the favourites out of the others for the drop at odds of 4/6, while Newcastle are odds of 5/1 and Hull are odds of 6/1 to be in the Championship next season.
The Midland teams Leicester and Aston Villa are odds of 13/2 and 16/1 respectively, despite the fact that the Villans are only two points outside the drop zone.
Some seasons the fight for survival in the Premier League is often more exciting and intriguing than the fight for the title, this season is one of those seasons. There is still time for more twists and turns in the fight for survival and as last season proved anything can happen between now and the end of the season.
Who will be relegated from the Premier League this season?
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