We look at the weekend’s fixtures to see how the league table could pan out on Sunday afternoon.
The Vital run in seems to involve fewer and fewer teams each week and as of April 8, the number of clubs affected in the relegation shake up has dropped from 11 to eight.
From bottom-placed Wigan up to West Brom in 13th, everyone has entered the Alex Ferguson ‘squeaky bum time’ which just seven games to save their respective seasons.
So, what about this weekend’s fixtures?
Wolves v Everton
Mick McCarthy`s Wolves have gone on a little run recently, including the 4-0 spanking of the Seasiders, but still find themselves in the bottom three after a mauling at Newcastle.
Everton, who have little to play for because of the way European qualification has taken shape this season, should still provide tough competition.
Vital: Wolves v Everton – Draw
Blackburn v Birmingham City
In what is the most intriguing relegation game of the weekend, out of sorts Blackburn host an inconsistent Birmingham City.
Both sides are surprisingly down there fighting for their lives in 14th and 15th. Whoever wins could go a long way to sealing survival. Whether Steve Keen’s team are hit by nerves again remains to be seen, but a good point at Arsenal last week has set them up nicely.
City themselves had a good result last week, whilst still having a game in hand on other teams around them.
Vital: Blackburn v Birmingham – Draw
Bolton v West Ham
The Hammers have revived themselves since the turn of the year and we don’t envisage them being one of the three that will drop.
However, Bolton will be smarting after last week’s defeat at Birmingham and want to bounce back with three points. The Reebok has been a tricky place to go and Avram Grant`s men could come unstuck.
Vital: Bolton v West Ham – Home Win
Chelsea v Wigan
Hard to imagine Chelsea dropping points at home to Wigan but stranger things have happened this season. Roberto Martinez’s side will have to pick up points away from home with the majority of their remaining games away from the DW.
Vital: Chelsea v Wigan – Home Win
Sunderland v West Brom
Sunderland have been abysmal of late, not winning since their trip to Bloomfield Road in January. Having said that, we can’t imagine them getting sucked in as they’re on 38 points currently and have too many teams below them to go down.
However, their poor run of form could continue against West Brom who have themselves been magnificent.
Sunderland v West Brom – Away Win
Aston Villa v Newcastle
A very difficult game to predict. As much as we would love Villa to continue their indifferent streak, Newcastle could go either one of two ways after the 4-1 win against Wolves last weekend: do they carry on from where they left off and leave Villa in the mire of pull their foot off the gas?
Vital: Villa v Newcastle – Home Win
With those results, the league table would look like this, without factoring in Blackpool’s result against Arsenal:
12. West Brom (39)
13. Sunderland (38)
14. Aston Villa (37)
15. Blackburn (35)
16. Birmingham (35)
17. Wolves (33)
18. Blackpool (33)
19. West Ham (32)
20. Wigan (31)