Relegation’ is the word on everyone’s lips ahead of the Premier League finale. Wolves, Birmingham, Blackpool and Wigan could all join West Ham in the Championship next season. Perhaps, this is the most hotly contested relegation battle the Premier League has ever seen.
Man United v Blackpool
Man United will probably field a relatively weakened side against Blackpool. Its clear Sir Alex Ferguson will want to protect his key players ahead of the European Cup final against Barcelona.
To some, this may provide a chance for Blackpool. Perhaps it does. But Man United’s ‘weakened side’ is still a very good side. One must consider the second leg of this year’s Champions League the semi final. Man United played a rotated side against Schalke. That side smashed Schalke 4-1.
Furthermore, Man United have a formidable home record this season. In the Premier League, they have a 94% winning ratio at home. That is sensational. In fact, it’s the joint highest winning ratio in Premier League history. (Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in the (2005/06) also had a 94% winning ratio.) So, Man United at home, even with a weakened side will be incredibly difficult for Blackpool.
Stoke v Wigan
This is a really tough game for Wigan. The Lactics may be coming into some form, as they are unbeaten in their last three matches. But Stoke will be up for this game. Stoke may be in Europe and are in a relatively pleasing mid table position. But, Stoke have just come off the back of two defeats against Man City and one of those results include a FA Cup Final defeat.
The severe bad news for Wigan is that, Stoke coming into this game are unbeaten in their last 8 home games. Furthermore, because Stoke have just been beaten by Man City in the final. You would expect Stoke to come out and give a real strong performance for their fans, seeing it’s their last home game of the season too.
If Stoke are seriously driven to win, as I expect they will be, I think Wigan will have little chance of getting something out of this game.
Tottenham v Birmingham City
This is an odd game. It’s odd simply because its depends on how Tottenham play. There’s a lot of speculation that Tottenham are not interested in the Europa League. So they may not turn up against Birmingham City. I would have to disagree. Harry Redknapp is aware that European football is better than no European football. Furthermore, Redknapp knows that being in Europe could be a crucial aspect to whether he can sign top stars in the summer.
It’s clear Birmingham City have had a poor season at home. Their form in the final third of the season has been woeful. Birmingham have not won their last 5 games at home. To make things worse, Birmingham also haven’t won in their last 6 away games. It’s hardly, the most inspiring form ahead of a tough match against a Tottenham side, who have been unbeaten in their last 16 home games.
However, there is a glimpse of hope for Birmingham City. Tottenham have not won their last three home games.
I think it will be a close game, but Spurs will edge it.
Wolves v Blackburn
This game is a massive opportunity for both teams to confirm their Premier League status for next season. Both sides find themselves level with 40 points. Both teams are also unbeaten in their last three games. It’s going to be a really close game. I Have a feeling it will be the game of the weekend.
But Wolves are at home. This will play a crucial aspect in this fixture. Furthermore, Wolves will feel they have more momentum coming into this game especially after the team beat Sunderland away last weekend.
However, what will further motivate the Wolves players is that Blackburn have a 17% winning ratio away from home this season. It’s a shocking stat for Blackburn. In addition to this, Blackburn haven’t won in their last 8 games away games.
Wolves are the favourites for this game. Their last result saw them win and Mick McCarthy will be demanding Wolves finish the job off at home.
But as we know, relegation candidates are incredibly inconsistent. So anything is possible.
But I’m going for a home win.
So, here is how my predictions will leave the foot of Premier League standing.
If my predictions are correct, Blackpool and Wigan are the two teams who will go down. But what visibly stands out is that the two teams who go down along with West Ham, they go down due to their goal difference.
Even if my predictions are incorrect, I firmly believe the goal difference statistic will play a massive role in a team’s fate to whether they stay in this division.
It will most certainly be an incredibly tight ending to the Premier League season.
Things you may like to read
Stoke City – The symbol of progression - http://tiny.cc/azbvf
Why it’s only right Kenny Dalglish got the Liverpool job - http://tiny.cc/ttj43
Just how good is Gary Cahill? - http://tiny.cc/jpccx