Crunch time: where the Premier League relegation battle will be decided | premier league

16th Leeds: Pl 33 Pts 34 GD -30

Why are they in this situation? Injuries which for much of the season deprived Leeds of last season’s top scorer Patrick Bamford, their England defensive midfielder Kalvin Phillips and their captain and key centre-half Liam Cooper have fractured the backbone of the team, which had a negative impact on the results. Marcelo Bielsa has done wonders at Elland Road, but things had started to go downhill under the Argentine this season and his replacement by the impressive Jesse Marsch on March 1 may have come a bit too late. Although Marsch praised Bielsa, he suggested that the intensity of his predecessor’s training regimen caused a “myriad of injuries” allied to physical and mental exhaustion. Moreover, Bielsa’s often enthusiastic and high-risk game plans led to a huge number of goals being conceded.

What is the probability that they stay awake? Leeds maintain a much worse goal difference than Burnley and Everton and face the toughest final matches. Conversely, they have the most points in the bag and look revitalized under Marsch’s tactically and emotionally intelligent leadership. They also possess Raphinha’s right-wing brilliance, have gotten Phillips and Cooper fit and remain optimistic that Bamford, by far their sharpest striker, will return for at least the final two games.

Which players are key to their chances? Bamford: It’s no exaggeration to say that his reintroduction in attack could be the difference between survival and relegation. Mentions also go to Illan Meslier, a remarkable goalscorer this season, Phillips, who provides much-needed control in midfield, and Raphinha, in his day an unplayable winger and creator of so many chances. Louise Taylor

Writers prediction 20th Norwich, 19th Watford, 18th Everton

Remaining devices Saturday Manchester City (h), May 8 Arsenal (a), May 11 Chelsea (h), May 15 Brighton (h), May 22 Brentford (a)

Patrick Bamford in action for Leeds against Aston Villa last month.  His early return could be the difference for Leeds.
Patrick Bamford in action for Leeds against Aston Villa last month. His early return could be the difference for Leeds. Photography: Simon Davies/ProSports/Shutterstock

17 Burnley: Pl 33 Pts 31 GD -16

Why are they in this situation? Sean Dyche’s tried and true methods no longer energized the team. The relationship between the players and the coaching staff had broken down. the old the manager was fired in mid-April, a few days after a dismal away defeat by last club Norwich, with the team set for the fall after four wins from 30 games.

What is the probability that they stay awake? Since Dyche’s departure, Burnley have picked up seven points from three games under goalkeeper Mike Jackson and his behind-the-scenes team, including captain Ben Mee. They looked revitalised, playing a brand of football unseen in the last decade; Burnley are attacking and allowing the players to express themselves in a way that would have resulted in a grunt from the technical area under Dyche.

Which players are key to their chances? The defense has always been stable and remains rigid. In the final third, however, things have to come to life. Dwight McNeil has found form under Jackson and seems to be enjoying his football after a tough spell that saw him assist all season. He looks like the player who broke into the premier league with its ability to go both ways and deliver sublime delivery from either flank. Wout Weghorst will be hoping to make the most of this increase in McNeil’s productivity – the Dutchman has scored two goals in 15 appearances since joining from Wolfsburg in January. Won’t win

Writers prediction 20th Norwich, 19th watford18th Everton

Remaining devices Sam Watford (a), May 7 Aston Villa (h), May 15 Tottenham (a), May 19 Aston Villa (a), May 22 Newcastle (h)

Mike Jackson instructs his team during last weekend's win over Wolves.
Mike Jackson instructs his team during last weekend’s win over Wolves. Photography: Stu Forster/Getty Images

18th Everton: Pl 32 Pts 29 GD -21

Why are they in this situation? Six years of appalling mismanagement by Farhad Moshiri and the board – which includes, but is not limited to, dismal and extravagant recruitment, a scattershot management policy, huge losses and no clear vision or soccer smarts – didn’t just cost Everton their long-coveted. chance to close the gap on the Premier League’s top flight but jeopardized their 68-year residency in the top flight. To do so, having spent around £600million on signings in the Moshiri era – one of the highest spends in European football at that time – defies belief as well as business logic. After a strong start to the season, injuries to several key players sent a mishmash of a plummeting team under Rafael Benítez from which they have yet to recover.

What is the probability that they stay awake? The table, fixture list and Everton’s atrocious away form point to their first relegation since 1951, but there are signs that all is not lost under Frank Lampard. There hasn’t been a big managerial rebound in terms of results under Lampard, who has picked up 10 points in 12 league games (the 14 games before his arrival netted six points), but performance levels at Goodison Park are improving. are definitely improved. The remaining three home matches, against Chelsea, Brentford and Crystal Palace, are must wins.

Which players are key to their chances? Anthony Gordon has been the only consistent light this season and, given Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s injury problems, Lampard needs more goals and assists from the 21-year-old and Richarlison. Alex Iwobi has stepped up impressively under the new manager. Andy Hunter

Writers prediction 20th Norwich, 19th Watford, 18th Burnley

Remaining devices Sun Chelsea (h), May 8 Leicester (a), May 11 Watford (a), May 15 Brentford (h), May 19 Crystal Palace (h), May 22 Arsenal (a)

Everton need more goals and assists from Anthony Gordon (right) who has been their only constant light.
Everton need more goals and assists from Anthony Gordon (right) who has been their only constant light. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

19th Watford Pl 33 Pts 22 GD -36

Why are they in this situation? A record run of 10 Premier League home defeats that began after Manchester United’s 4-1 thrashing in November has all but extinguished any chance of survival, with Roy Hodgson yet to pick up a point at Vicarage Road since he succeeded Claudio Ranieri in January. Everything looked so different on the first day of the season when Xisco Muñoz’s side beat Aston Villa 3-0, but the Spaniard followed the path of so many of his predecessors despite having a decent start and neither Ranieri nor Hodgson were only able to induce a stimulus.

What is the probability that they stay awake? Watford must beat Burnley at home on Saturday to keep their dim hopes of avoiding the fall alive. They then face a trip to Hodgson’s former club Crystal Palace before taking on Everton and Leicester at Vicarage Road and can’t afford to slip into either of those either – especially with a discouraging final game at Chelsea. Hodgson orchestrated Fulham’s great escape at the end of the 2007-08 season with a run of 12 points over the last five games, including a 3-2 win over Manchester City after trailing 2-0 with 20 minutes remaining, so maybe he has one last trick up his sleeve.

Which players are key to their chances? Ismaïla Sarr has struggled to find consistency but the Senegal striker, courted by Manchester United last year, is capable of inspiring winning performances, and Emmanuel Dennis is returning to form after a difficult few months. Ed Aaron

Prediction 20th Norwich, 19th Watford, 18th Everton

Remaining devices Sam Burnley (h), May 7 Crystal Palace (a), May 11 Everton (h), May 15 Leicester (h), May 22 Chelsea (a)

Roy Hodgson in Watford's loss to Leeds at Vicarage Road, where he is yet to earn a point as club manager.
Roy Hodgson in Watford’s loss to Leeds at Vicarage Road, where he is yet to earn a point as club manager. Photography: Ian Tuttle/Shutterstock

20 Norwich Pl 33 Points 21 GD -47

Why are they in this situation? Not good enough in both cases. That’s the line for both managers this season – Daniel Farke and Dean Smith – although the truth is they aren’t very good in the middle either. A lack of quality and conviction has been all too apparent for the vast majority of the season, but a lack of physical ability is the main flaw that has kept them from competing at this level.

What is the probability that they stay awake? They could drop this weekend if the results are against Norwich at Villa Park and elsewhere. Even if that doesn’t happen, their demise is surely still inevitable. There’s also a growing concern among the fanbase, which is unlikely to inspire anyone to attempt a miracle.

Which players are key to their chances? We can say that only two players in the team have taken up the challenge this season. Teemu Pukki has 10 Premier League goals, from an average of 1.77 shots per game (82nd in the league and less than Marcos Alonso). Not only did he make the most of poor serve, but he also put in some of the most intensive work off the ball, putting in 605 defensive pressures, the fifth-most in the league according to Fbref.com. Club captain Grant Hanley also delivered. He’s third in the league in clearances and eighth in blocks, with the Scot effectively putting himself on the line every time he’s played. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the rest. Paul MacInnes

p of the writerprohibition 20th Norwich, 19th Watford, 18th Everton

Remaining devices Saturday Aston Villa (a), May 8 West Ham (h), May 11 Leicester (a), May 15 Wolves (a), May 22 Tottenham (h)

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