As always, the battle to avoid the drop in the Premier League is fierce and desperate and it is still anyone’s guess who will follow Southampton down to the Championship. Following the Saints' defeat to Fulham, they have taken up the first of three spots as their 11-year stay in the Premier League comes to a disastrous end, but there are still two unwanted gaps to fill.
19th Leicester City – 30 points
Fixtures: Newcastle (A), West Ham (H).
In what has been a truly disastrous season for the foxes their memorable stay in the Premier League is taking a real test, after the recent appointment of Dean Smith the club have only picked up one win since, but due to how poor teams are around them they stand a chance. Following their defeat to Liverpool on Monday night, things look very bleak for the foxes.
With the recent return of Jamie Vardy, he has been amongst the goals straight away netting in two of his last three games and they do have true star quality in their side with the likes of James Maddison. The huge problem for them is the leaking of goals, having conceded 5 to Fulham in their most recent outing, it is certainly not the Foxes’ defence that will pull them over the line.
Their fixtures do not get any easier as they face an in-form Newcastle who are both chasing their European aspirations, and on the Final day face the Hammers but could be all over by then if they do not pick up positive results in their next game. The 2016 Champions are in for a huge push now to avoid the drop and return to the Championship for the first time in 9 years.
18th Leeds United – 31 points
Fixtures: West Ham (A), Tottenham (H)
Leeds are in the midst of back-to-back relegation battles and they recently appointed a perennial survival specialist. Sam Allardyce and he and his team face a huge test in their bid to extend their 3 year stay in the Premier League, he was brought in with just four fixtures remaining and has picked up one point from his first two games, a 2-2 draw with Newcastle.
The game against Newcastle was one they definitely could have won having missed a penalty at 1-0 up but Bamford missed the chance to drag them out of the relegation zone.
As opposed to scoring goals they have a huge problem conceding goals, as they have let in a league-high 71 goals. This has even led to Allardyce turning to Joel Robles, but still, they have conceded 4 in Allardyce’s first 2 in charge, albeit against Newcastle and Manchester City.
Allardyce has only ever faced one relegation in his long career (West Brom, 2021) and does not want to add to that. Leeds’ last two fixtures do look tricky but with Tottenham’s Champions League hopes in tatters and West Ham effectively safe, they could grab something to set up a final-day showdown again. With the power of the Elland Road crowd on the last day of the season, anything is possible.
17th Everton – 32 points
Fixtures: Wolves (A), Bournemouth (H)
The Toffees certainly are in the driving seat to secure their Premier League status for another year, the win against Brighton last week was a huge step in their quest to survive but have certainly still looking over their shoulder nervously, following their most recent defeat to Manchester City. Their fixtures are certainly more favourable than those below with Wolves and Bournemouth already securing their Premier League statuses.
They have only won 4 games since the arrival of Sean Dyche, but they have certainly put their destiny in their own hands, with many feeling that one more positive result could be enough with Leeds and Leicester having more difficult fixtures, on paper. Everton have struggled for goals all season, with just 32 goals scored all season they have struggled all season to put the ball in the net. The recent return of Dominic Calvert-Lewin has put life into the toffees, proving his importance in the last few games.
They have the advantage on those below but still face a huge battle to avoid their first relegation in over 70 years, two positive results are enough for them but in a season of poor quality and unrest for Everton they can at least secure another season in the top-flight.
16th Nottingham Forest – 34 points
Fixtures – Arsenal (H), Crystal Palace (A)
With two wins in their last three games, they have put themselves in pole position to secure their status as a Premier League club for a second year, with one more win surely being enough for Steve Coopers’ men.
They have used their home advantage brilliantly in recent weeks, with wins against Brighton and Southampton they are giving themselves every chance to stay up. Their run-in is not as easy as they may like, on paper but with the recent drop-off of Arsenal the City ground will be more than up for securing their fate straight away.
They have players like Taiwo Awoniyi and Morgan Gibbs-White firing them towards their ultimate goal and they are so close. Forest are in the driving seat to keep themselves in the Premier League, and with two games left their fate is definitely in their own hands and potentially in the process, relegating their biggest rivals Leicester.
One final push and more twists and turns still to come, who will stay afloat and who will sink?