Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 8 July 2020

Bournemouth in freefall, Norwich buried: Latest on the Premier League relegation fight

Time is running out for clubs at the bottom of the table to secure their survival

Liverpool are celebrating their first title in 30 years, at least five teams are embroiled in a battle for the top four, while others are breathing a sigh of relief having secured their Premier League status for another season.

However, for six clubs there is no time to relax, and with only a handful of games remaining, points are precious as they bid to avoid demotion.

Here we look at the clubs stuck in the relegation dogfight and assess their chances of staying in the top flight.

Norwich City (20th, 21 points)

To say it's looking bleak for Norwich would be an understatement. Marooned to the foot of the table, the Canaries are six points adrift of safety.

The season's resumption from the coronavirus lockdown has brought with it two losses and a valiant extra time defeat with 10 men to Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

Norwich will probably need four wins from their last seven games to have a fighting chance, but considering they have only managed five wins all season, it looks unlikely – especially given their run-in.

Remaining fixtures: Arsenal (A), Brighton (H), Watford (A), West Ham (H), Chelsea (A), Burnley (H), Manchester City (A).

Norwich City appear destined for demotion. EPA
Norwich City appear destined for demotion. EPA

Aston Villa (19th, 27 points)

Level on points with West Ham, who occupy the last of the safe spots, Aston Villa will hope results go their way this week having played a game more than the most of the bottom six.

Without a win in eight and with one point in three games since the restart, time is running out for Dean Smith's team, particularly given their tough run-in.

The final game of the season could decide their survival.

Remaining fixtures: Liverpool (A), Manchester United (H), Crystal Palace (H), Everton (A), Arsenal (H), West Ham (A).

Jack Grealish during Aston Villa's defeat to Wolves. AFP
Jack Grealish during Aston Villa's defeat to Wolves. AFP

Bournemouth (18th, 27 points)

Bournemouth have been in freefall since December, suffering 10 defeats in 14 games. To make matters worse, midfielder Ryan Fraser – one of Bournemouth's standout players last season – is refusing to play for the club again as his contract winds down.

The restart has comprised two defeats and no goals, and the upcoming fixture list does not look to kind for the Cherries.

Their next match, at home to Newcastle, feels like a must-win when looking ahead to their remaining games.

Remaining fixtures: Newcastle (H), Manchester United (A), Tottenham (H), Leicester (H), Manchester City (A), Southampton (H), Everton (A).

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe. EPA
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe. EPA

West Ham (17th, 27 points)

Manuel Pellegrini's sacking in December, with the club in 17th place, has evidently made little difference to the club's short-term prospects.

David Moyes has been unable to lead a reversal in fortune and the Hammers remain in the same place they were when the Chilean departed.

Successive 2-0 defeats since the restart, albeit against good teams in Wolves and Tottenham, have not helped their survival cause. Their run-in is a mixed bag, so they will need to collect points from the winnable home games.

Remaining fixtures: Chelsea (H), Newcastle (A), Burnley (H), Norwich (A), Watford (H), Manchester United (A), Aston Villa (H).

Ryan Fredericks, right, and Jarrod Bowen after West Ham's loss to Tottenham. EPA
Ryan Fredericks, right, and Jarrod Bowen after West Ham's loss to Tottenham. EPA

Watford (16th, 28 points)

It's been an eventful season for Watford, who by December had a third manager in the dugout and looked sunk before 2019 was over, having failed to win in their first 11 games.

Nigel Pearson's arrival steadied the ship thanks to a good run around the turn of the year, but without a win in 10 games, they are firmly in a relegation scrap.

The restart brought a draw – thanks to Craig Dawson's 95th minute goal against Leicester – and a defeat to Burnley.

A chance to apply some pressure on their relegation rivals was then squandered against Southampton on Sunday when they fell to a 3-1 home defeat. It could prove a damaging result.

Remaining fixtures: Chelsea (A), Norwich (H), Newcastle (H), West Ham (A), Manchester City (H), Arsenal (A).

Nigel Pearson during Watford's defeat to Southamptin. Reuters
Nigel Pearson during Watford's defeat to Southamptin. Reuters

Brighton & Hove Albion (15th, 33 points)

Considering how hard points are to come by at the bottom of the table, Brighton should have done enough to secure their Premier League status for another year.

The Seagulls had the unenviable tag of being the only team in the professional English football ladder to not win in 2020, until their timely win over Arsenal in their first game of the restart. That preceded a draw at Leicester that could have been more were it not for Neal Maupay's missed penalty.

Their fixture list contains some tough games but some winnable ones, too. Two more wins should be enough for Graham Potter and his players.

Remaining fixtures: Manchester United (H), Norwich (A), Liverpool (H), Manchester City (H), Southampton (A), Newcastle (H), Burnley (A).

Brighton's win over Arsenal was their first of 2020. EPA
Brighton's win over Arsenal was their first of 2020. EPA

Updated: June 29, 2020 07:21 AM



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