Southampton? Swansea? Huddersfield? Stoke? Who’s going down?
In one of the most arresting relegation battles in Premier League history, here are the teams who could be going down.
The Premier League relegation battle is the gift that keeps giving.
In a season where the possibility of a title race was shot down before it even materialised, excitement has come from the scrappers at the bottom of the table.
With the exception of the top seven teams (including Burnley), all remaining 13 have been involved in the relegation race for some time.
Crystal Palace, having lost their first seven games, were dead-set to be the first team to go down and yet Roy Hodgson eventually steered the club to safety.
That improbable comeback sums up this season at the bottom, where unlikely teams have flirted with danger.
Thorny situation for West Brom
As it stands, West Bromwich Albion are set to drop down, despite picking up eight points in their last four games.
That included a 1-0 win over a lacklustre Manchester United, as well as a comeback 2-2 draw over Liverpool.
That they broke an eight-match losing streak after sacking the incapable Alan Pardew is no coincidence. First-team coach Darren Moore was promoted to manager till the end of the season and has already brightened up the situation.
It now means that they go down with some semblance of hope, even though a summer upheaval is on the horizon. They need to win their two remaining games (one against Tottenham) while hoping for Southampton and Swansea to lose two of their remaining three.
They’ll also need both sides to draw each other in their penultimate game. It’s asking of a miracle. Fans will be left to curse Pardew’s incompetence but at least they will now go down showing some fight.
Just out of the soup
While Swansea hold on to 17th by a point, it feels as though they are losing their Carlos Carvalhal-induced momentum at the wrong time.
Their Bournemouth clash in the coming weekend will be pivotal to their survival hopes: a win could reduce the pressure slightly ahead of their final two games.
Lose, and they face a final two home games against both Southampton and Stoke.
It means that their fates are in their hands but it also increases the pressure by several notches. They have three winnable games although pressure does weird things.
Too close to call
Southampton’s own Dusan Tadic-led win against Bournemouth last weekend was also momentous, as it has reduced the gap to safety by a point.
Their decider with Swansea away from home is sandwiched between one tricky game against Everton (also away) and a final home clash versus Manchester City, champions of England.
There could not be a better time to face a rampaging City than the last gameweek, given their possible lack of motivation.
But if City need a point or three to break the 100-point mark, Southampton could in all realism write their chances off. It really puts their eggs in the Welsh basket.
It is Stoke who are in the middle of having nearly no hope and nearly close to safety.
Three points off safety even with playing an extra game, their need for rivals to slip up is big.
And with a final-day showdown with Swansea, it opens up the chance to control fate in their own hands, if situations work out.
The points table only tells half the story right now: the truth is that all teams are closely intertwined.
Right on, Brighton
While concentrating on the bottom four, peer beyond the initial spectrum and you find yourself three more teams in the mix to go down.
Brighton at 14th, with 37 points, may have done just enough to stay up, and yet they play Manchester United at home, and then Manchester City and Liverpool away.
It’s a cruel schedule, one most felt would be their undoing, but they might just survive by the skin of their teeth.
They’re certainly a side that most would prefer stay up, considering their likeable squad and a good eye in the market.
That last statement is a perfect contradiction of West Ham, however, who would certainly produce laughter if the Olympic Stadium plays host to the Championship next season.
At 35 points, they are hardly safe; with an away trip to Leicester and then hosting Manchester United and Everton, it is again not an easy schedule.
They may have beaten Southampton a few games before, but one loss could see them get dragged into final-day drama.
Most neutrals would rather they go down than any of the other in the mix. Whether they can fight back that wave remains to be seen.
There is also Huddersfield, also on 35, who desperately need their rivals to slip up. They have to travel to Manchester City and Chelsea, then hosting Arsenal in Arsene Wenger’s farewell league game.
That’s pretty much the same death sentence as Brighton. A hugely likeable side, it would be a shame to lose them, for the league’s sake, instead of clubs who have served their time in the top tier.
Amusingly enough, the quirks of the fixture schedule have thrown curveballs into the bottom seven clubs, where realistically six are vying to avoid the two relegation spots.
It is ironic that this relegation battle makes up for the title race (or lack of) this season. But it’s much-needed drama, and it can hopefully extend to the last gameday to provide some excitement before the World Cup.
D-Day is upon us: one hopes that the teams deserving of relegation go down, rather than the likeable sides.
Who’s going down? Let us know your thoughts below.