Premier League Relegation Watch: The fortunes for five sides fighting for safety

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It’s been barely over a month since we last checked the fortunes of the Premier League’s relegation candidates, and there’s certainly been some change.

Bournemouth has more or less escaped, Villa has doomed itself and Crystal Palace has dropped into the mix, while a fourth side has flipped managers for the stretch run.

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That last squad, Rafa Benitez-led Newcastle United, hosts Sunderland in a massive Tyne-Wear Derby on Sunday while Swansea City has a chance to improve its plight with a visit from lowly Aston Villa the day before.

After the weekend, three teams will have two long weeks to stew on their fate over the international break.

So who’s going down? Let’s have a gander at the table first.

Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Crystal Palace 29 9 6 14 32 39 -7 4-2-9 5-4-5 33
Swansea City 30 8 9 13 30 40 -10 5-5-5 3-4-8 33
Sunderland 29 6 7 16 35 54 -19 4-4-6 2-3-10 25

Norwich City 30 6 7 17 31 54 -23 4-5-6 2-2-11 25
Newcastle United 29 6 6 17 28 54 -26 4-5-5 2-1-12 24
Aston Villa 30 3 7 20 22 57 -35 2-4-9 1-3-11 16

Obviously Crystal Palace is in a decent spot eight points above the drop with a game in hand on Swans and Norwich City, but there’s no doubt they are in the mix. The Eagles also have to deal with the congestion of a FA Cup semifinal.

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Along the same lines, Newcastle and Sunderland have to be counting their blessings regarding the match-in-hand on the Canaries.

Apologies to Villa for not including their fixtures, but their escape would be beyond incredible.

SWANSEA, WALES - MARCH 05: Angel Rangel of Swansea City is tackled by Robbie Brady of Norwich City during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Norwich City at Liberty Stadium on March 5, 2016 in Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

SUNDERLAND (25 points)
March 20 – at Newcastle
April 2 – vs West Brom
April 9 – vs Leicester City
April 16 – at Norwich City
April 23 – vs Arsenal
April 30 – at Stoke City
May 7 – vs Chelsea
May 11 — vs Everton
May 15 – at Watford

Their toughest matches are at home, which has its pros and cons. Playing thrice in the final eight days of the season means Sunderland could go into May in a bind.

NEWCASTLE UNITED (24 points)
March 20 – vs Sunderland
April 2 – at Norwich City
April 9 – at Saints
April 16 – vs Swansea City
April 19 — vs Manchester City
April 23 – at Liverpool
April 30 – vs Crystal Palace
May 7 – at Aston Villa
May 15 – vs Spurs

Five of nine are at home, but the path to the Championship will look unavoidable if the next fortnight goes poorly. Two relegation six-points on the bounce mean the Magpies could be flying high or walking wounded come Midnight on April 3.

NORWICH CITY (25 points)
March 19 – at West Brom
April 2 – vs Newcastle
April 9 – at Crystal Palace
April 16 – vs Sunderland
April 30 – at Arsenal
May 7 – vs Manchester United
May 11 — vs Watford
May 15 – at Everton

The next five fixtures are critical, as points will be hard to find come that murderers row to finish the season.

SWANSEA CITY (33 points)
March 19 – vs Aston Villa
April 2 – at Stoke City
April 9 – vs Chelsea
April 16 – at Newcastle United
April 23 – at Leicester City
April 30 – vs Liverpool
May 7 – at West Ham United
May 15 – vs Manchester City

Not an easy run-in for the Welsh side, who simply need to pick up points in their next two matches. And that Newcastle visit looms large.

CRYSTAL PALACE (33 points)
March 19 — vs. Leicester City
April 2 — at West Ham United
April 9 — vs. Norwich City
April 17 — at Arsenal
April 20 — at Manchester United
TBA — vs Everton
April 30 — at Newcastle United
May 7 — vs Stoke City
May 15 — at Southampton

The Eagles were once projected to fight for a European place, but are now battling for their spot in England’s top-flight. Palace has not won a league game in 2016, and has two bites at relegation rivals. How bitter could Alan Pardew‘s April 30 trip to St. James Park get?

HOW WILL IT SHAKE OUT? HERE’S A GUESS:

Crystal Palace — 39 points
Swansea City — 38 points
Newcastle United — 33 points

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Norwich City — 32 points
Sunderland — 32 points
Aston Villa — 20 points