In ten days time only one of Newcastle United, Sunderland and Norwich City will remain in the Premier League. In this article I hope to decipher who has the relevant strength and credentials to survive in what promises to be the most lucrative Premier League of all time next season.
Newcastle United: Aston Villa (A) and Tottenham (H)
Sunderland: Chelsea (H), Everton (H) and Watford (A)
Norwich City: Manchester United (H), Watford (H) and Everton (A)
Newcastle United (odds of survival 4/7)
It appears that Newcastle are at a disadvantage compared to their relegation rivals due to having one less games than both Sunderland and Norwich. Newcastle did have a game in hand back in April and that game finished 1-1 against Manchester City; not a bad result to be fair.
Rafa Benitez has rejuvenated the Toon Army after a sticky start and have started to pick up good results in recent weeks. Their last two games look winnable as well. Aston Villa have improved offensively but are still poor in defence, so I expect Newcastle to get the result away from home at 8/13. The home game against Spurs, last of the season of course, also looks winnable as long as Spurs secure second place this weekend against Southampton. I feel that if Spurs have everything sewn up by next Sunday many of their players, especially ones expected to play in Euro 2016, will take a laid back approach to avoid injuries. This one could be a draw.
Sunderland (odds of survival 8/11)
Sam Allardyce and his Sunderland side have become very hard to beat since March having only lost once since then. The only problem with that is during those eight games the Black Cats have drawn six of those games. Sunderland have an advantage over local rivals Newcastle with a game in hand, but one of those games is against Chelsea this weekend. Allardyce is most likely set up to frustrate the Blues, but unfortunately I think the former Champions will have just too much and will edge Sunderland out 1-0 @ 17/2 or 2-0 12/1.
The other two games however I do think Sunderland have a chance of getting results. Everton travel to the Stadium of Light next Wednesday will very little to play for and have not been very consistent this season. I think Sunderland will win this game and take that confidence to Vicarage Road next Sunday and gain a point away to Watford.
Norwich City (odds of survival 2/13)
I believe Norwich face the toughest fixture of the three teams but like Sunderland do have a game in hand over Newcastle. Norwich kick off their survival run against Champions League chasing Manchester United who know that a win over the Canaries puts them one point behind rivals Manchester City overnight. So for that reason I think Man United will go all out here to smash and grab the three points @ 4/5. Norwich will have a bigger chance of victory in their other home game this Wednesday night against Watford.
Watford have little to play for and with the rumours surrounding Quique Flores possibly leaving, the team may become distracted and offer the Norwich the chance victory. Norwich’s final game this season is against Everton at Goodison Park. Much like Watford, Everton have also got manager troubles but this time it’s from the fans not the board. If Norwich score early or prevent the Toffees from doing so, the crowd will on the teams back and that could be enough for the Yellows to grab a point here.
So adding up all the results above I see the relegation zone finishing something like this:
17th Newcastle 37
18th Sunderland 36
19th Norwich 35
So I believe that Newcastle will survive despite having one less game to play than both their relegation rivals meaning the appointment of Rafa Benitez will have worked out.
On a side note, in the Championship promotion battle I think Middlesborough will follow Burnley back to the Premier League and replace two of these sides by avoiding defeat to Brighton on Saturday lunchtime @3/10. This will mean that the Seagulls will have to endure the dreaded playoffs and join Hull City, Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday.
The playoffs of course lead to a final at Wembley where the winner will receive the most lucrative prize in English football; promotion to the Premier League.