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Relegation race: The fixtures that matter in the Premier League

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The bottom half of the Premier League table is a 10-team relegation scrap.

[ MORE: Palace, Newcastle draw ]

That could feel more like nine should Watford upset Chelsea at Vicarage Road on Monday, but we’ll play the odds and keep the Hornets very much in play.

Forget the places assigned to the names, this is a better idea of where the clubs stand with a dozen or fewer matches to play:

27 points — Watford, West Ham, Brighton, Crystal Palace
26 points — Southampton
25 points — Newcastle
24 points — Swansea, Stoke, Huddersfield Town
20 points — West Brom

Watford (13 fixtures left)

Home: Chelsea, Everton, West Brom, Bournemouth, Burnley, Palace, Newcastle
Away: West Ham, Arsenal, Liverpool, Huddersfield, Spurs, Man Utd

The key: Four scrappers head to Vicarage Road. The Hornets should be fine if they avoid losing those. Including the 13th match against Chelsea, Watford is one of the bunch to face five of the Top Six.

West Ham United

Home: Watford, Burnley, Man Utd, Southampton, Stoke, Man City, Everton
Away: Liverpool, Swans, Chelsea, Arsenal, Leicester

The key: The Irons play three-straight home matches in March, with Burnley, Man Utd, and Southampton dancing into the London Stadium. Those three represent 60 percent of their remaining home dates. In total, the Hammers face five of the Top Six.

Brighton and Hove Albion

Home: Swans, Arsenal, Leicester, Huddersfield, Spurs, Burnley, Man Utd
Away: Stoke, Everton, Man City, Palace, Liverpool

The key: Be safe before the final four fixtures, which include Spurs, Man Utd, and Liverpool sides sure to still be concerned about table standing. Also face five of the Top Six.

Crystal Palace

Home: Spurs, Man Utd, Liverpool, Brighton, Leicester, West Brom
Away: Everton, Chelsea, Huddersfield Town, Bournemouth, Watford, Stoke

The key: Get to April alive — The Eagles will face Spurs, Man Utd, Chelsea, and Liverpool amongst their next six fixtures. It’s much easier the rest of the way.

Southampton

Home: Liverpool, Stoke City, Chelsea, Bournemouth, Man City
Away: Burnley, Newcastle, Swansea City, West Ham, Arsenal, Leicester, Everton

The key: Saints have a three-match March road swing through fellow relegation battlers Newcastle, Swans, and West Ham. A little bit fortunate that Saints’ home finale versus Man City will feature probably pre-occupied City already having clinched the league.

Newcastle United

Home: Man Utd, Southampton, Huddersfield, Arsenal, West Brom, Chelsea
Away: Bournemouth, Liverpool, Spurs, Leicester, Everton, Watford

The key: Be safe before the finale versus Chelsea. March home dates with Saints and Huddersfield will be huge in the noisy north. Five of the Top Six remaining on the schedule.

Swansea City

Home: Burnley, West Ham, Southampton, Everton, Chelsea, Stoke
Away: Brighton, Huddersfield, Man Utd, West Brom, Man City, Bournemouth

The key: It’s very much in Swans’ hands, facing six of the current bottom half and only three of the Top Six. At least four points in their next two — Burnley and Brighton — feel as important as anything, and the final match versus Stoke City could be colossal.

Stoke City

Home: Brighton, Man City, Everton, Spurs, Burnley, Palace
Away: Leicester, Southampton, Arsenal, West Ham, Liverpool, Swans

The key: How massive might that finale at Swansea be to both team’s fortunes? The list looks manageable for the team with the most goals conceded in the Premier League (by six).

Huddersfield Town

Home: Bournemouth, Swansea, Palace, Watford, Everton, Arsenal
Away: West Brom, Spurs, Newcastle, Brighton, Chelsea, Man City

The key: Three of Town’s last four come versus Chelsea, Man City, and Arsenal. Even with City likely to have the title sewn up, that’s no cakewalk. Plus the fourth match is Everton. So gets points quick, especially with Bournemouth and West Brom next on the league docket.

West Bromwich Albion

Home: Huddersfield Town, Leicester, Burnley, Swans, Liverpool, Spurs
Away: Chelsea, Watford, Bournemouth, Man Utd, Newcastle, Palace

The key: Wins, not draws; The Baggies have more ground to make up than any other team. The points are certainly there for them.

Rochdale 2-2 Tottenham: Davies stuns Spurs late

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A valiant effort from a League One side has rewarded the minnows with a replay set to be played at Wembley Stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur looked on its way towards the FA Cup sixth round on Sunday, but a late finish by Steven Davies gave Rochdale a 2-2 draw with the Premier League club at the Spotland Stadium.

[ MORE: Willian stars as Chelsea routs Hull in FA Cup ]

Harry Kane — who scored his 34th goal on the season in all competitions — converted from the penalty spot in the 88th minute, however, Davies had the final say deep into stoppage time to send the two sides towards a replay.

Ian Henderson’s finish in the 45th minute gave Rochdale a gift at the conclusion of the first stanza, after the hosts capitalized on a Spurs giveaway near midfield.

Meanwhile, Tottenham managed to level the match at 1-1 on the hour mark when Lucas Moura calmly slotted his close-range shot past goalkeeper Josh Lillis after a timely through ball from Moussa Sissoko picked out the former PSG man.

The visitors began pressing on in the second half, with Mauricio Pochettino‘s side having trailed at the halftime break.

The two sides will now meet on either Feb. 27 or 28 in the reverse fixture to decide which team advances. The winner will either meet Sheffield Wednesday or Swansea City in the quarterfinals.

Scholes: Pogba didn’t earn Man United spot in 2012 before Juve stint

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Paul Pogba‘s young career has been bright, but a former Manchester United legend suggests that there was a time where the Frenchman struggled to find his way at Old Trafford.

[ MORE: Man United draws Brighton, Chelsea gets Leicester in FA Cup quarters

The 24-year-old Pogba is now in his second stint with the Red Devils, after spending four seasons in Italy with giants Juventus.

Former United midfielder Paul Scholes says though that back in 2012 — prior to Pogba’s move to Juve — that the physical player wasn’t pleased with the fact that he wasn’t getting regular minutes with the first team.

“Ferguson wanted me initially to come back and coach the reserve team with Warren Joyce,” he told BT Sport. “I said in September I’d come back. So I started helping Joycey, and I was training with the reserves.

“I was training every day with the likes of Pogba, Lingard, all these types of players. They were a really good side and I was really enjoying training. I was getting fit, I felt great, and it got to December time and the team was struggling a bit.

“They had a load of injuries, no central midfield players were fit. They ended up playing Phil Jones and Fabio da Silva in central midfield in a game against Blackburn at Old Trafford.

“Funnily enough that was the end of Pogba, because he thought he should have been playing instead of them. But he wasn’t doing well enough.”

Scholes, who had retired briefly in 2011, came back after just six months for the Red Devils, and ended up playing a year-and-a-half more following the decision to end his playing career.

It is widely believed that Pogba’s decision to head to Juventus was largely due to the impact of Scholes in the United squad.

Video: Rochdale puts Tottenham on upset alert at the half

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It’s been a tremendous season for Ian Henderson, particularly in the FA Cup, and now he and his side are one half away from upsetting one of the Premier League giants.

Henderson’s finish on the brink of halftime has put League One side Rochdale up 1-0 against Tottenham Hotspur, as the minnows aim to become the first non-PL side to advance to the quarterfinals in this season’s tournament.

A sloppy giveaway from Spurs near midfield created the attack for the hosts, and allowed Rochdale to capitalize on one of its few attacks during the opening stanza.

Benfica routs Boavista 4-0 to take lead in Portugal

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LISBON, Portugal (AP) Benfica routed Boavista 4-0 to move ahead of FC Porto at the top of the Portuguese league on Saturday.

Benfica is one point in front of Porto, which has two games to play.

[ MORE: Man United gets Brighton in FA Cup quarters, Chelsea draws Leicester ]

Ruben Dias opened the scoring for Benfica in the 18th minute when he headed in a pass from Jardel.

Jardel added a goal just before halftime. Boavista’s Nuno Henrique also scored an own goal before Raul Jimenez polished off the victory in the 90th.

Jonas had a penalty saved by Boavista goalkeeper Vagner with the score 0-0.

Porto hosts Rio Ave on Sunday. Sporting Lisbon is three points behind Benfica before visiting Tondela on Monday.