With just eleven games left of the premier league season, the fight to avoid relegation is getting crucial. Every point is important and teams at the wrong end of the table are fighting for their lives.
The five teams who are facing relegation are QPR, Reading, Aston Villa, Wigan and Southampton.
QPR seem doomed. They are seven points off Wigan who are in 17th place. QPR’s problem is they are struggling to score goals. With only three goals since the turn of the year, trying to get points becomes difficult when your defence is leaking goals and you lack creativity in the final third. The only hope QPR have is that Harry Redknapp has been in this position before. With fixtures against all of the other relegation strugglers, their chances of survival rely on these results.
Reading appeared revived since the new year. Picking up ten points in the first five games since the turn of the year, things were looking up. But defeat at home on the weekend against Wigan will deal their confidence a big blow. Their squad lacks premier league experience and will be a huge success if they were to avoid relegation. With home games against QPR, Southampton and Aston Villa, winning these three fixtures will go along way to securing safety.
Aston Villa are in trouble. A team full of youngsters and no leaders in the squad, relegation looks a real possibility. On their day, Villa can spring a surprise, beating Liverpool 3-1 at Anfield and picking up a point away to Everton, Villa must believe they can get these kind of results in their remaining fixtures. Forwards Christian Benteke and Andreas Weimann are key but their young defence need to mature fast to remain in the premier league.
Wigan have been in this situation before. They seem to come to life as the season comes to a close and escape relegation year after year. Their experience in this situation will do them well. Their fixture against Aston Villa on the last day of the season could be vital and could decide who stays up and who’s going down.
Southampton seem to be revitalised under Mauricio Pochettino. Their 3-1 victory over champions Manchester City was much deserved and their style of play will see them pick up results over the remaining eleven games. The Saints are three points clear of the relegation zone and their fixture Saturday against QPR could see them pull further clear, although a defeat could see them slip right back into the thick of it.
Although Sunderland, Newcastle, West Ham, Norwich and Fulham are several points clear of the relegation zone, a run of bad results could see them slip into a relegation fight.
With the new television rights coming into effect next season, this could be the worst year to go down. It will be a massive financial blow as teams in the premier league will receive a lot more money than in previous seasons.