Relegation battle hots up – six teams now involved

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish

Under pressure Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish

After the weekend games it now looks like there are six teams involved in the Premier League relegation battle.

Many thought that Aston Villa had accumulated enough points not to get dragged into the relegation scrap but after an injury crisis and a long run of poor results Villa are now in the mix. Manager Alex McLeish must be having nightmares, after a poor run of luck with injuries to key players and his captain Stiliyan Petrov facing a fight against Leukemia. He must have a sense of Deja Vu as his memories of last season’s relegation with Birmingham are now becoming all too real with the Villa. It is going to be tight for Villa who have not won since 10th March and still have to face relegation rivals Bolton and former manager Martin O’Neil’s Sunderland before finishing off against West Brom, Spurs and Norwich.

Current League Table

Pos              P  GD  Pts

15 Aston V 33 -13   35
16 QPR       34 -19   31
17 Wigan    33 -26   31
18 Bolton   32 -29   29
19 Bl’burn  34 -28   28
20 Wolves 34 -39   23

Under Threat

Queens Park Rangers have like Wigan struggled for most of the season but following an injection of cash from new owner Tony Fernandes they have spent extensively in the January transfer window and with new manager Mark Hughes at the helm they may now have just enough talent to escape the drop. However, their remaining four fixtures are the most difficult of the threatened clubs, with Spurs, Chelsea, Stoke and Man City still to play, so I think it will be a very close shave for them.

Wigan have had a mixed time of it and have occupied a place in the bottom three for long periods of the season, but the team have recently hit form and are now playing their best football which should be enough to save us. Winning three of the last four games, with historic wins against Liverpool and Manchester United in the process, Roberto Martinez’s team have gelled since the change in formation. The move to three centre backs and two marauding wing backs in Boyce and Beausejour has been critical and the three Scots Maloney, McCarthy and McArthur have been a revelation in midfield with forwards Moses always threatening and Di Santo providing a hardworking foil. If we can continue to play with same confidence and self-belief and get a fair rub of the green from the match officials then I expect we will be playing Premier League football again next season.

Bolton have had a difficult season both on and off the field with debts around £110 million and a lack of funds available to bring in new players. Key defender Gary Cahill was sold to Chelsea and the Bolton defence always looks vulnerable and prone to mistakes. Although the recent trauma of the Fabrice Muamba’s life threatening experience will have strengthened the team’s resolve to stay up, I still think Bolton will struggle to score enough goals and will occupy one of the relegation slots.

Blackburn owners the Venky's

Blackburn owners the Venky's

Blackburn have had a torrid season with most Rovers fans complaining about the Indian owners Venky’s and campaigning to remove their manager Steve Kean. Central defender and captain Chris Samba went on strike during the transfer window and has not played since and his defensive partner Ryan Nelson was strangely released to go to Spurs. Striker Yakubu alone has produced a creditable tally of 17 goals but his colleagues in defence have so far conceded a worrying 73 goals. It is looking terminal for Rovers with Norwich, Spurs, Wigan and Chelsea still to play.

Wolves manager Terry Connor

Wolves manager Terry Connor

Wolves are now nine points adrift at the bottom with four games remaining and it looks as though the sacking of Mick McCarthy and replacement by his assistant Terry Connor was too late to make a difference to their fate. It is not mathematically impossible for Wolves to escape, but even the most optimistic Wolves fan will now have to accept that their team will be relegated come the end of the season.

My Predicted Final Table

15 Wigan Athletic
16 Queens Park Rangers
17 Aston Villa
18 Bolton Wanderers
19 Blackburn Rovers
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Remaining Fixtures

Aston Villa

21/4: Sunderland (H)
24/4: Bolton (H)
28/4: West Brom (A)
6/5: Tottenham (H)
13/5: Norwich (A)

Blackburn

21/4: Norwich (H)
29/4: Tottenham (A)
7/5: Wigan (H)
13/5: Chelsea (A)

Bolton

21/4: Swansea (H)                                                                                                                      24/4: Aston Villa (H)
28/4: Sunderland (A)                                                                                                                    2/5: Tottenham (H)                                                                                                                      6/5: West Brom (H)                                                                                                                    13/5: Stoke (A)

QPR

21/4: Spurs (H)
29/4: Chelsea (A)
6/5: Stoke (H)
13/5: Man City (A)

Wolves

22/4: Man City (A)
28/4: Swansea (A)
6/5: Everton (H)
13/5: Wigan (A

Wigan

14/4: Arsenal (A)
21/4: Fulham (A)
28/4: Newcastle (H)
7/5: Blackburn (A
13/5: Wolves (H)

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About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, QPR, Wigan Athletic, Wolves and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Relegation battle hots up – six teams now involved

  1. Bernard says:

    Good, concise reporting mate! I think QPR will drop instead of Bolton Wanderers though. (much as I hate to say it)!

  2. ianhaspinall says:

    Cheers Bernard. I definitely think QPR have some difficult games ahead, but Bolton have to play more fixtures than everybody else so that might be their downfall.

  3. peter Y says:

    fair comments harry. i do think qpr have some really difficult fixtures, i like the look of you last 2 games, enjoy tonight, perhaps it’s one of those that you shouldn’t expect to win, then again i didn’t expect you to beat united.
    don’t expect anything from the ref !!

  4. Swandancer says:

    Can’t believe i’m saying this…Come on Wigan..don’t want see you go down….from a Swan…

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