The battle to stay up is well and truly on. Who will retain their Premier League status?
We assess the endangered clubs, the fixtures, and what might seal their fate.
As it stands…
15. Brighton: Played 36/Won 8/Drawn 13/Lost 15/GD -16/POINTS 37
16. West Ham: 35/9/7/19/-15/34
17. Watford: 35/8/10/17/-21/34
18. Bournemouth: 36/8/7/21/-25/31
19. Aston Villa: 36/8/721/-27/31
20 . Norwich: 36/5/625/-42/21
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Brighton: Newcastle (H), Burnley (A)
West Ham: Watford (H), Man Utd (A), Aston Villa (H)
Watford: West Ham (A), Man City (H), Arsenal (A)
Bournemouth: Southampton (H), Everton (A)
Aston Villa: Arsenal (H), West Ham (A)
BRIGHTON (37 POINTS)
Brighton need just one more point – and may not even need that – to secure their place in the Premier League next season after Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Southampton. It’s been a positive restart for Graham Potter’s side – and how important might that late turnaround against Arsenal be? Neal Maupay’s winner was their first win of 2020 in all competitions and it’s done wonders for the confidence within the club. With eight points in the bag from seven games, the Seagulls are almost there.
After the draw with Southampton, Brighton boss Graham Potter said: “We want to try to get more points, we’re in a good place, but we need to carry on, it’s as simple as that. Two more games to go, and we’ll try to get as many points as we can.”
WEST HAM (34 POINTS)
David Moyes has always given off an air of confidence regarding West Ham’s ability to avoid the drop this season and his players have responded since the restart. Wins over Chelsea and Norwich have put the Hammers in control of their own destiny; one more win should be enough. However, they have two ‘six-pointers’ to content with in their remaining three games. Saying that, they are unbeaten against the rest of the current bottom six (W4 D4) in matches this season.
Moyes said: “Every one is a big one, isn’t it? Everybody told me today was a big one, everybody said Newcastle was a must-win. Every game is a must-win when you’re a manager. We are in a position where we have our noses in front and we have to make sure we do our job to remain a Premier League team.”
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WATFORD (34 POINTS)
When Nigel Pearson was appointed by Watford in December, the remit was simple. His job was to keep a team up that was then cut adrift at the bottom of the table in the Premier League. He is close to achieving another great escape. A win at West Ham on Friday would go a long way to securing their status under cult hero skipper Troy Deeney.
And with trickier tests against Manchester City and Arsenal to come, that game probably is the time for Watford – and Pearson – to finish the job.
Pearson said: “Anything can happen. We have to keep our focus now, and it is not about thinking the job is done – we have got three more games to make sure we win enough points ourselves.
“What happens elsewhere can help, but if you are reliant on that you are in for a bit of a shock, so our focus has to be there.”
BOURNEMOUTH (31 POINTS)
Bournemouth kept their Premier League survival hopes alive after coming from behind to beat Champions League-chasing Leicester 4-1 on Sunday – a result that keeps them on the coat-tails of the rivals above them. And just turns up the heat on both West Ham and Watford ahead of Friday. Unfortunately for the Cherries, they weren’t able to follow that up with an unlikely result at Man City, despite a brave performance at the Etihad.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe said after that 2-1 defeat at City: “It’s not about performances at this stage of the season, we really want points, but I can’t fault the lads. You can only look at what’s happening in the present moment, and we were excellent, really unfortunate. I’m absolutely devastated to come away with nothing after giving so much to the game.” Howe and his side will have to refocus quickly on their next test with Southampton.
ASTON VILLA (31 POINTS)
Aston Villa’s point at Everton on Thursday night will have felt like a defeat after Theo Walcott punished Anwar El Ghazi’s bad miss with a late equaliser, after Ezri Konsa had put Villa ahead. Villa may well look back on El Ghazi miscuing from two yards out as a big moment in their season if they go down – but with Arsenal and West Ham to come they’ll have to swiftly put that disappointment behind them as this fallen English giant try to salvage their Premier League status.
Villa boss Dean Smith said: “The lads are devastated in the dressing room because we deserved more out of the game. We had a few chances to take the lead before we did, and then we missed a massive chance to go 2-0 up with El Ghazi putting it over the bar.”
WHAT ARE THE ODDS?
Bournemouth and Aston Villa have it all to do according to Sky Bet, both remain hot favourites to end their stay in the Premier League. The Cherries are a 1/6 shot while Aston Villa are at 1/10.
Meanwhile, if you think there are a few twists and turns to come over the last three games, then Watford are 10/3 to go through the trap door and West Ham can be backed at 8/1. Brighton are assumed safe by the bookmakers with 500/1 on offer for their unlikely relegation.
This article originally appeared on Sky Sports.