Relegation picture, table: Analyzing the battle against the drop

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The relegation battle is heating up as three of the bottom four suffered defeats on Saturday.

Aston Villa, Norwich City and Newcastle United all lost, as Sunderland will go into their game against Leicester City on Sunday (Watch live, 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra)   knowing a victory will significantly boost their chances of staying up.

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With five weeks of the season to go it’s getting very tense at the bottom of the Premier League.

In the standings below you can see that Villa is all but gone as they are 15 points safety with 15 points to play for and they’re goal differential is 19 worse than fourth from bottom Norwich.

Effectively, Villa has been relegated from the top-flight for the first time in 30 years after their 2-1 defeat against Bournemouth. That was Villa’s eighth PL defeat in a row and anything but a win against Manchester United next week will confirm their relegation.

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For Newcastle, they were humbled 3-1 at Southampton and Rafael Benitez’s side is now without a win in his four games in charge. The Magpies look doomed as they’ve lost seven of their last 10 and remain six points off fourth from bottom Norwich.

As for the Canaries, they slumped to a first defeat in four as they went down to Crystal Palace. Alex Neil‘s side had plenty of chances but the 1-0 loss leaves them in the thick of the relegation picture as Sunderland can close the gap on Norwich to one point on Sunday with a win. Plus, crucially, the Black Cats have a game in hand over Norwich.

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Crystal Palace, Watford and Everton aren’t out of the picture entirely but it would take a huge chain of events for any of those teams to go down.

Right now, it looks like three from four as Villa is all but gone, Newcastle is close to joining them and a straight battle between Norwich and Sunderland will ensue in the final weeks of the season.

And guess what? Norwich host Sunderland next weekend in a huge relegation six-pointer at Carrow Road. Plus, both teams have very similar looking schedules to finish the campaign and it’s too close to call who will stay up and who will go down between them.

Below is the bottom six of the Premier League standings after the 10 a.m. ET games on Saturday.