Though 10 matches is plenty of time for a slide in form to dip another side into the drop zone, five teams look set to duke it out for two safe spots in the Premier League.
There are varying degrees of desperation in the bunch at this point. Sunderland is seven points shy of safety and cannot handle many more losses, while Northeast neighbor Middlesbrough is also multiple results from safety.
Hull City is three points back of 16th place Swansea City, while Crystal Palace is four points above the drop.
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You can see why Boro made a managerial change with a massive April on the way which includes two six-pointers in four days, both on the road. Those days could swing the drop zone race altogether, with both Swans and Hull having a chance to gain three points, doom Boro, while Palace plays at Chelsea and Southampton.
Swansea City vs. Middlesbrough — 8:30 a.m. EDT on April 2
Hull City vs. Middlesbrough — 2:45 p.m. EDT on April 5
Boro then gets the next six-pointer as well, though it will be looking mighty academic if Sunderland keeps losing and Boro falls to Swans and Hull.
This kickstarts a trio of six-pointers for the Black Cats, who have to hope to be alive when this run starts.
Middlesbrough vs. Sunderland — 2:45 p.m. EDT on April 26
Hull City vs. Sunderland — May 6
Sunderland vs. Swansea City — May 13
Palace could well be safe by now, as their talent really does sit above a relegation race (Wilfried Zaha, Andros Townsend, and Christian Benteke alone make Sam Allardyce‘s task easier than it’s looked).
Crystal Palace vs. Hull City — May 13