The battle to beat the drop in the Premier League is heating up with just five games to go; five teams all fighting for survival and just one spot left to fight for. With Reading and QPR now as good as relegated, the battle to avoid relegation couldn’t be more intense. Norwich City, Stoke City, Aston Villa, Sunderland and Wigan Athletic are all in contention. But who will be relegated in May?
Chris Hughton’s team has not looked in danger until recent weeks when their strikers have struggled to score. Norwich have shown some fight recently with a battling draw against Swansea last week and were within minutes of pulling a shock win at the Emirates to be cruelly denied by three goals in seven minutes. They have shown the fight and passion they need to avoid relegation. Norwich’s home games against Reading and Villa are crucial if they want to avoid relegation. Norwich can’t afford to leave themselves needing a win against Manchester City away on the last game of the season to avoid relegation.
If Norwich show the passion they have in recent games then Chris Hughton’s side will almost certainly avoid being relegated.
Remaining fixtures: Apr 20, Reading (h); Apr 27, Stoke (a); May 4, Aston Villa (h); May 12, West Bromwich Albion (h); and May 19 Manchester City (a).
Predicted finish: 14th
Stoke were eleven points clear of relegation during Christmas but in 2013 the team have struggled having just picked up one win in fourteen games and collected just a point from a possible 21. Not surprisingly, this has seen the Potters dragged into a relegation battle where their recent form is the worst in the Football League so far this year. With three consecutive defeats, it will dent the confidence further. If Stoke are going to secure their Premier League status, Tony Pulis needs to instill some belief and confidence in his team in order to pick up the crucial points needed in their next five games.
Stoke travel to Queens Park Rangers on Saturday and host Norwich the following weekend which they must win. They then have a potentially pivotal away fixture at Sunderland, a home game against Tottenham Hotspur and a trip to Southampton on the final day and needing to find at least four points out their next five games to avoid relegation which is tough considering they only managed to pick up three points out the possible thirty nine.
Remaining fixtures: Apr 20, QPR (a); Apr 27, Norwich (h); May 4, Sunderland (a); May 12, Tottenham (h); and May 19 Southampton (a).
Predicted finish: 15th
Aston Villa found their form at the right time with a crucial win at the Britannia Stadium that saw them move out of the bottom three. But with tough away games on the horizon at Old Trafford and home to Chelsea, Paul Lambert’s side will have to fight to the wire for their Premier League safety.