Relegation battle prediction: who will go down?

February 25, 2013 in Premier League

With Manchester United twelve points clear already, the battle for the title is probably over; City will need a massive miracle to fight back, but having got their luck last season, it seems very unlikely that lightning will strike twice. The relegation battle is always interesting, and as we approach the final two months of the season, things are hotting up. With Wigan destroying Reading on Saturday, Southampton showing the defensive frailties that I suggested they would have, and Villa showing some signs of a fight at last, who will join QPR (I have already condemned them to relegation) in the Championship next season? I am going to try and shed some light on this by predicting these four teams remaining games to see who will stay up and who will drop down.


March fixtures with points prediction

Reading have the trickiest set of fixtures in March, but I fancy them to get a result against Villa, to earn them a vital three points. Wigan have three home games and I think they will beat Norwich, who don’t travel well, but I can’t see them beating Liverpool and Newcastle. I have a feeling Southampton will stay unbeaten in their four games; they will beat QPR and believe they have enough about them to snatch draws in their other fixtures. Villa, sadly, will have a poor month, losing against City, Reading and Liverpool. Their point will come against QPR, and I reckon that will be a nervy 0-0 draw. These results mean that Reading leapfrog Villa into 18th by a point and Wigan stay one point ahead of the Royals. Southampton, meanwhile, put themselves right out of the drop zone by six points.


April fixtures

Another first week of important fixtures, with Reading vs Southampton being a key game. The last game between these two teams at the Madejski was a 1-1 draw, and that’s what I think will happen again. I believe the Royals have enough to beat Norwich and QPR too, which will give them a massive boost. I predict that Villa will have a good month, claiming vital wins against Fulham and Sunderland, who always struggle away from home; two tough away trips will be fruitless for them though. Southampton should pull away and be safe by beating West Ham and drawing against West Brom. Wigan have the trickiest fixtures, and I can see them beating QPR, but nobody else.

The table at the end of April will have Reading two points clear of Villa, and three clear of Wigan, with just three games to go. A potentially tense finish.


May fixtures

Villa should get a crucial month off to a great start by beating Norwich at Carrow Road with Christian Benteke grabbing a double, while Reading get a point against Fulham with Adam Le Fondre coming off the bench and scoring a late equaliser. Southampton get destroyed by former player Gareth Bale and lose easily. Wigan get bullied by Romelu Lukaku, who scores and forces Gary Caldwell to put into his own net, but they rally back, and Franco Di Santo nets a stunning equaliser to earn the Latics a big point.

All four of the teams lose on game 37 with Chelsea, City and Arsenal all easily beating their opponents, and Sunderland battle to a scrappy win over the Saints. This means on the final day of the season, Reading are 17th with 34 points, Villa are also on 34 points but have a worse goal difference, and Wigan are on 31 points with a better goal difference than Villa. Three teams, two relegation places.

As you can see, Wigan play Villa at home in a must-win game for both teams with Reading playing West Ham at Upton Park. The Royals have the advantage and use this to good effect by doing what they did in the Championship, winning their crucial games. Jimmy Kebe and Alex Pearce secure a win for Brian McDermott’s team which sees them survive at Wigan and Aston Villa’s expense, who give it their all but the result means they are powerless to avoid the drop.