For a season that promised so much more in the top half of the table and never really delivered, it is looking like it could end on a much more thrilling note at the other end of the scale. With the end of the 2014/15 Premier League season fast approaching, there is still much contention over who will be relegated. The three sides at rock bottom are showing some true fighting resolve, and a rejuvenated Villa look to end the season on a high under the recently appointed Tim Sherwood. West Bromwich Albion look reasonably safe now since defensive tactician Tony Pulis took the helm. The North East teams have had a tough time of late, with Sunderland sacking Gus Poyet and Newcastle slipping dangerously with their longest ever run of defeats in the Premier League. With so much still to play for, who will face the dreaded mire of Championship football?
Out of the eight teams that could still potentially face relegation, Ladbrokes have QPR at 1/6 and Coral are offering 2/5 for Burnley. Out of the two, Burnley have the favourable run in and could survive by the skin of their teeth. QPR, on the other hand, still have to face Liverpool and Manchester City away from home and look doomed. If they manage to pull a miracle out of the bag and pick up some points, the final game of the season against Leicester City will be huge.
Sunderland have a terrible run in and face Arsenal away from home on the last day of the season. Skybet have them at 10/11 to go down and 32red are offering 9/10. But nothing is yet set in stone. Could Sunderland pull themselves from the claws of defeat and rise from the ashes like they did last year? Maybe not after such a year of turmoil.
With the slippery slope that Newcastle have found themselves on during recent weeks, it may be worth a punt on them going down, with 32red pricing them at 40/1. Get it while it’s hot because it may look like they have an easy run in but they are due to face three of the other teams battling for survival and anything could happen. Keep in mind that Newcastle have lost six games on the trot. And with a lot of the fans boycotting the home games, it cannot be doing much good for team moral.
Villa look pretty safe with their recent revitalisation and fearsome Belgian Christian Benteke is firing on all cylinders as above. He has scored nine from his last ten games and the rate he is going he could be contending with the league’s top scorers come the end of the season. That is some feat when considering he only scored three goals in the whole campaign before Sherwood stepped in and gave him a boost. He does not look like stopping now. The FA Cup win over Liverpool to reach the final will have given the whole team a huge boost to see them through the rest of the season.
Hull are hovering dangerously around the drop zone and Ladbrokes have them at 17/20 to end up in there. They have the run in from hell and still have to face Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United. Not to mention a visit from Burnley in what is set to be a serious six-pointer. The future does not look so bright for them on paper but the East Yorkshire side have been known for their fighting spirit over recent years. If other results go in their favour, they could yet survive. One thing is for sure it is going to be a tense and nervous last few weeks for the fans.
Finally a look at Leicester City, who appear to be on the brink of a miraculous turn around. This season they have gone from dead bottom and odds on favourites to go down, to 32red now placing them at 19/10 for the drop. And apart from a visit from Chelsea that could see the London club clinch the title, they have a fairly favourable run in. After such a terrible run of form that lasted for a huge chunk of the season, it would be impressive if they managed to pull it back.
So, as it stands, there is still a lot to play for. The next few weeks are going to play host to some seriously exciting football. Any number of these eight teams could face the dreaded drop from the top tier of English football. The Premier League has seen some fierce relegation battles in its history and this one looks set to be up there with the best of them.