Saturday, June 3, 2023

A closer look at the battle to beat the drop in the Premier League

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 16 May 2023


Southampton have already been relegated from the Premier League, but the race to avoid joining them looks set to go down to the wire.

Two of West Ham, Nottingham Forest, Everton, Leeds and Leicester will play alongside the Saints in the Championship next season.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the relegation battle with two games to go.

West Ham (Leeds H, Leicester A)

Given their own plight and their opposition in the final two rounds of fixtures, West Ham will play a deciding role in who goes down. It will take an extraordinary set of results for them to be relegated as they are six points clear of Leeds with a significantly better goal difference, so would need to lose both games heavily and see a number of other results go against them. Their only concern will be how their European exertions affect them, with their match against Leeds coming days after a Europa Conference League semi-final second leg against AZ Alkmaar.

Nottingham Forest (Arsenal H, Crystal Palace A)

Seven points from the last four games has hauled Forest out of the bottom three and they now could stay up even if they lose their remaining fixtures. Safety will be assured if they draw with Arsenal at the City Ground and then Leeds lose at West Ham and Leicester fail to beat Newcastle. However, two defeats, including on the final day at Crystal Palace, and results going against them elsewhere would see them drop back into the Championship.

Everton (Wolves A, Bournemouth H)

Everton, on paper, have the kindest fixtures of those in the fight and they will fancy their chances of staying up, with their Bank Holiday win at Brighton last week looking pivotal. They will confirm their survival if they win at Wolves and then Leeds lose at West Ham and Leicester fail to beat Newcastle. Two defeats could be enough for Leeds to overtake them by drawing just one of their two games, although that will be dependent on a minor goal difference swing.

Leeds (West Ham A, Tottenham H)

Leeds are relying on other teams to lose, but they also have to do their own business under Sam Allardyce, with so many permutations still possible. The most worrying one is they will be sent back to the Championship if they lose at West Ham, Everton win at Wolves and Forest pick up a positive result against Arsenal. But, as mentioned, they could stay up by drawing just one game, if Everton and Leicester lose both of their matches. They will be hoping to take advantage of West Ham’s European distraction as Allardyce visits his old club on Sunday before a vital home game against Tottenham.

Leicester (Newcastle A, West Ham H)

Leicester, Premier League champions seven years ago, could be relegated if they fail to beat Newcastle on Monday night, Forest pick up a point against Arsenal and Everton beat Wolves. Defeat at St James’ Park would also mean Everton would only need two points from their final two games. To stay up, Leicester realistically need to win at least one of their remaining games at Newcastle or at home to West Ham, although it is possible two draws could be enough.


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