Premier League relegation watch - Must-win for Hull

21 April 2010 09:59
With just 18 days to go until the climax of another enthralling Premier League season, 'squeaky bum time' is in full swing at the bottom as well as the top of the table; you'd think sales of Bran Flakes would go through the roof every April.

At the bottom there are four teams still desperately trying to keep themselves clear of the trap door to the Championship.

Wolves have a six point cushion above the bottom three, and in all likelihood are safe already. They got a good point at Fulham lat Saturday, and have by far the easiest run-in of their rivals.

They host Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, a team sitting comfortably in the middle of the table with little to play for, and Wolves should take all three points in that one.

Next up for them is a trip to Portsmouth, who will have one eye on Wembley, before a final day home against bottom half side Sunderland. Wolves could realistically end the season with three wins on the bounce, rounding off a good season back in the top flight.

Wolves' remaining fixtures

West Ham came back down to earth with a bump on Monday evening when they were soundly beaten by a Liverpool side who barely got out of second gear.

The biggest game of Gianfranco Zola's managerial career will take place on Saturday, when the Hammers host Wigan Athletic.

The Latics are one of the league's most inconsistent sides, and Zola will want to ensure there are no slip ups on Saturday, and his team collect what could be a £30 million victory.

Given that West Ham's last two games are at Fulham and at home to Manchester City, Saturday's game is their best chance of a win, and they must grab it with both hands.

West Ham's remaining fixtures

Hull City play their game in hand tonight against a tiring Aston Villa. Tigers boss Iain Dowie must capitalise against a depleted Villa, and set the tempo from the start. This is their best chance of victory.

Hull also play Sunderland and Wigan before the end of the season, rounding off the campaign with a home game against Liverpool. Even without Torres, Liverpool should be too strong for them, and Dowie will be looking for a minimum of seven points to keep his side in the Premiership. Two home wins and a draw at Wigan should be enough to keep Hull's heads above water.

Hull's remaining fixtures

Burnley have resembled cannon fodder since Brian Laws took charge. Sitting four points adrift of safety, and with games against Liverpool, Birmingham and Tottenham to play, Burnley's points tally for the season has probably already been accumulated. Back to the Championship they go.

Burnley's remaining fixtures

So, I expect Iain Dowie to keep Hull up by the skin of their teeth, while it could be all change at Upton Park come August, with 'No More Mr Nice Guy' being the first order of business.

Source: DSG