We already know the Villains are heading down
But can they drag the Tyne-Wear clubs or some Eagles with them?
Followers of Paddy Power know that we love to take the piss out of obvious things from our comfy armchairs in Power Tower.
How England always flop at the big tournaments. How no one is really sure what Rovin Van Persie does these days. But most importantly, how utterly useless at football Aston Villa are. For the purpose of this article, we’re speeding up the inevitable and saying that Villa are in the Championship next season. Up until the game week just gone it looked like a shootout to survive between three teams, is that the case anymore?
Norwich’s brilliant result against Man City, Newcastle’s defeat to Leicester and a couple of postponements meant that going into the last gameweek the bottom five of the Premier League table looked like this:
Norwich’s hard fought win over West Brom coupled with another Palace defeat has brought the Eagles into contention. They have a little bit more breathing room after the draw in the Tyne-Wear Derby. That result wasn’t exactly ideal for Newcastle nor Sunderland.
Can’t decide who to back? Let Paddy Power’s resident relegation expert (aka Bolton fan) tell you who’s going down.
A few weeks ago things looked fine for Alan Pardew’s Eagles. But they haven’t won a Premier League match in 13 weeks and are bottom of the form table. Three of their next four games are away from home against three of the top six in Man United, Arsenal and West Ham. Sandwiched around a massive game with Norwich in Selhurst Park.
Usually that home game would leave fans filled with confidencebut they’ve averaged less than a point per game at home this season. Pardew has been relegated before with Charlton, and probably should’ve been with Newcastle. His Palace side are still outsiders to go down, but watch the odds tumble if they don’t arrest their form.
Palace’s home form is mirrored by the Black Cats. Sam Allardyce has just two home wins since Christmas (one of them against Villa so does that really count?). The bad news for Sunderland is that five of their remaining eight games are at the Stadium of Light. Letting the lead slip in the Derby could prove key in the run in.
Sunderland have managed to survive the last three seasons without reaching the magical 40 point barrier which doesn’t exist and is more realistically the 36 point barrier. Three more victories will get them past that. It’s very hard to see where they are going to come from though because they still have to play four of the top eight.
They are on course for both their lowest points per game and goals per game average in a decade. Jermaine Defoe can’t do it all on his own and at to go down the Black Cats might have run out of luck.
The draw in the Tyne-Wear derby has left Newcastle in with a shout of survival. They were relegated in 2009 with 34 points and for 70 minutes of the derby at the weekend were the worse side. You will see a hibernation of Magpies from St.James Park should they return to the nest that is the Championsip for 2017.
If Benitez can still be in the race heading into the final three games, Newcastle should survive. They’ll play Palace at home and then a dead and buried Villa. One FACT that will worry Rafa is that Newcastle have the worst record against teams in the bottom half. In 14 games, they’ve won just three times.
They simply cannot afford to drop points against Norwich this weekend, or they will be six behind with six to play. Leicester managed to claw back that gap last season but that’s the only occasion since West Brom’s great escape in 2004 when it’s happened since. Their odds for relegation are currently which shows that our traders think they’re gone. One more loss and it could be curtains.
Norwich’s next three games – Newcastle (H), Palace (A) and Sunderland (H). Remain unbeaten in those three and they are surely safe. They might be able to afford a loss to one of those teams. But two defeats will spell trouble because their last three games of the season are Arsenal, Man U and Everton.
Robbie Brady’s vital goal against West Brom steadied a fast sinking ship for the Canaries but they could be in trouble if it comes down to goal difference. Sunderland are currently three goals better off, with Newcastle three goals worse. They’ve failed to score in 20% of their games and concede 1.74 goals per game, scoring just 1.03 in comparison.
Something which is bleaker still is that they haven’t beaten Newcastle since 2011 and Palace since 2013. They’ve a good record at skinning the Black Cats with only one defeat against Sunderland since 2006. Norwich are in the best position at the moment and are to go down. But it’ll all come down to the next couple of games.
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