Premier League Relegation Watch: Clubs primed to go down (Matchweek 30)

2 Comments

Matchweek 30 saw massive wins by Fulham and West Brom meaning only seven points separate 12th placed West Ham United from last placed Fulham. The Premier League relegation race is shaping up to come down to the wire with multiple clubs vying for safety.

Here’s the relegation watch currently stands:

source: Getty Images12. WEST HAM UNITED 31 PTS (29 PLD)

Remaining Matches (9): Manchester United (H); Hull City (H); Sunderland (A); Liverpool (H); Arsenal (A); Crystal Palace (H); West Brom (A); Tottenham (H); Manchester City (A)

League Form: WWWWLL

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Marco Boriello, shin (no return date); Joey O’Brien, shoulder (April 14th

Vegas odds to be relegated: 16/1

Verdict: West Ham ripped off four straight wins in February but have since lost two straight to Everton (0-1) and Stoke City (1-3), respectively. But with key players (Andy Carroll and Winston Reid) now healthy, the Hammers should have no problem reaching the 40 point mark.

source: Getty Images13. HULL CITY 30 PTS (28 PLD)

Remaining Matches (9): West Bromwich Albion (H); West Ham United (A); Stoke City (A); Swansea City (H); Manchester United (A); Arsenal (H); Fulham (A); Aston Villa (A); Everton (H)

League Form: DWLWLL

Other Competitions: FA Cup (v. Sheffield United on March 13th)

Injuries: Robbie Brady, groin (no return date); Paul McShane, ankle (no return date), Joe Dudgeon, knee (no return date)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 12/1

Verdict: Despite losing two straight, Hull City have enjoyed a fantastic Premier League season and few will have the Tigers pegged to go down. With a favorable end of the season schedule and a relatively healthy roster, expect Hull to be in the league come next August.

source:  14. SWANSEA CITY 29 PTS (29 PLD)

Remaining Matches (9): Everton (A); Arsenal (A); Norwich City (H); Hull City (A); Chelsea (H); Newcastle United (A); Aston Villa (H); Southampton (H); Sunderland (A)

League Form: LWDLDL

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Nathan Dyer, ankle (March 22nd); Jonjo Shelvey, hamstring (March 22nd); Kyle Bartley, hamstring (no return date)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 10/1

Verdict: These are troubling times at the Liberty Stadium as Swansea find themselves with the second worst form record in the league having taking only five of a possible 18 points from their last six matches. The free-fall can be blamed on a number of things, namely an injury plagued season, participation in the Europa League and managerial ineptitude.

Making matters worse for the Swans is their end of the season schedule which boasts difficult fixtures with Everton, Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle and Southampton as well as potential relegation six-pointers with Norwich and Sunderland.

source: Getty Images15. NORWICH CITY 29 PTS (30 PLD)

Remaining Matches (8): Sunderland (H); Swansea City (A); West Bromwich Albion (H); Fulham (A); Liverpool (H); Manchester United (A); Chelsea (A); Arsenal (H)

League Form: DLWLDL

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Leroy Fer, hamstring (no return date); Jonas Gutierrez, calf (March 22nd); Michael Turner, hamstring (March 22nd); Elliot Bennett, knee (April 5th)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 7/4

Verdict: If anyone who is currently safe is going to get relegated, Norwich City looks the most likely. The Canaries put in a lopsided effort at Southampton this past weekend, coming back from 3-0 down to lose 4-2. With only eight matches to play, Chris Hughton’s side must take points in their next four matches, all of which are winnable. After that, however, it’s curtains for Norwich who end the season against Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.

source: Getty Images16. WEST BROMWICH ALBION 28 PTS (29 PLD)

Remaining Matches (9): Hull City (A); Cardiff City (H); Norwich City (A); Tottenham (H); Manchester City (A); West Ham United (H); Arsenal (A); Sunderland (H); Stoke City (H)

League Form: DLDDLW

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Morgan Amalfitano, knock (no return date); Chris Brunt, knee (April 21st); Billy Jones, hamstring (March 29th); Claudio Yacob, hamstring (March 22nd); Diego Lugano, knee (April 5th)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 7/2

Verdict: Such a massive win for West Brom this past weekend. To go into the Liberty Stadium and come from 0-1 down to win 2-1 will be a huge boost to the confidence of Pepe Mel’s side. The Albion remains banged up with a number of key injuries but with six of their final nine contests against clubs outside the Top 10, staying up looks to be in the cards.

source: Getty Images17. CRYSTAL PALACE 28 PTS (29 PLD)

Remaining Matches (9): Newcastle United (A); Chelsea (H); Cardiff City (A); Aston Villa (H); Everton (A); West Ham United (A); Manchester City (H); Liverpool (H); Fulham (A)

League Form: LWLDLD

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Danny Gabbidon, knock (March 22nd); Barry Bannan, illness (March 22nd); Marouane Chamakh, hamstring (March 29th)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 3/2

Verdict: Winless in their last four, Palace need to be careful. They worked hard to ascend out of the relegation zone after Tony Pulis was appointed but the Eagles are now finding it difficult to see out the spring. And with a challenging end of the season schedule pitting Palace against Newcastle, Chelsea, Everton, City and Liverpool the points won’t come easy for the Selhurst Park faithful.

source: Getty Images18. SUNDERLAND 24 PTS (27 PLD)

Remaining Matches (11): Norwich City (A); Liverpool (A); West Ham United (H); Tottenham (A); Everton (H); Manchester City (A); Chelsea (A); Cardiff City (H); Manchester United (A); West Bromwich Albion (H); Swansea City (H)

League Form: DWWLLD

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Steven Fletcher, ankle (no return date); Keiren Westwood, shoulder (no return date)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 7/4

Verdict: Of the three teams currently in the relegation zone, Sunderland feel like the most likely to escape. With 11 matches left to play (and most of those being favorable matchups) and having reduced their workload by exiting from the FA Cup, Gus Poyet’s side will have no excuses if they go down. The health of Steven Fletcher will be a factor but with Jozy Altidore available and Ignacio Scocco added to the strike ranks this winter, the Black Cats still have options up top to get the job down.

source: Getty Images19. CARDIFF CITY 25 PTS (30 PLD)

Remaining Matches (9): Liverpool (H); West Bromwich Albion (A); Crystal Palace (H); Southampton (A); Stoke City (H); Sunderland (A); Newcastle United (A); Chelsea (H)

League Form: LDLLWL

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Ben Turner, knock (no return date); Andrew Taylor, knock (no return date); Mark Hudson, hamstring (no return date)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 1/4

Verdict: Vegas has Cardiff as the most likely squad to be relegated and for good reason – the Bluebirds are in the worst form of any club in the league and have only eight matches to play. If there are upsides to Cardiff’s situation it’s that the remaining matches are against favorable opponents and the squad is in good health. That said, talk to any pundit covering the Premier League and he’ll tell you Cardiff is destined to be playing in the Championship next season.

source: Getty Images20. FULHAM 24 PTS (30 PLD)

Remaining Matches (8): Manchester City (A); Everton (H); Aston Villa (A); Norwich City (H); Tottenham Hotspur (A); Hull City (H); Stoke City (A); Crystal Palace (H)

League Form: DLDLLW

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Kostas Mitroglu, knee (no return date); Ashkan Dejagah, groin (no return date); Giorgos Karagounis, muscle injury (no return date); Scott Parker, knee (March 22nd); Damien Duff, knock (no return date)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 2/7

Verdict: Fulham is only slightly more likely than Cardiff to make it out of the relegation zone. Like the Bluebirds, the Cottagers don’t have any games in hand on their opponents. But Felix Magath’s team did play quite well this past weekend, defeating Newcastle 1-0 at the Cottage. It’s a win that they’ll look to gain some motivation from although Manchester City and Everton will be difficult tasks over the next two weeks.

When April comes, however, the fixture list becomes quite favorable for Fulham with matches against Villa, Norwich, Hull, Stoke and Palace. So while the situation is bleak for Fulham a thin line hope still remains.

Watch Live: Crystal Palace vs. Norwich City (Lineups and Discuss)

Leave a comment

Crystal Palace responded to Tony Pulis’s appointment early on, but have been slowed by three defeats in their last four.

Still, they remain just above the drop thanks to Fulham’s horrific goal differential, and will host Norwich City at Selhurst Park at 10am ET live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.

A win would ensure they remain out of the relegation zone, something that remains of utmost importance.

Pulis has decided to pair Marouane Chamakh and Cameron Jerome up front following their failure to score against Manchester City.  That means sacrificing Barry Bannan in the midfield.

Part of that decision was due to the absence of a number of players with injuries, including Jack Hunt, Glenn Murray, Jerome Thomas and Adlene Guédioura.

WATCH LIVE VIA NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA

The visitors are thankful to still have Gary Hooper healthy.  He struggled with a tight leg muscle last time out but is fit enough to start for Chris Hughton.

Anthony Pilkington and Alexander Tettey are both looking to return soon for Norwich, but are not ready to go just yet.

LINEUPS:

Crystal Palace – Speroni; Mariappa, Gabbidon, Delaney, Ward; Bolasie, Jedinak, Dikgacoi, Puncheon; Chamakh, Jerome.
Bench – Price, Moxey, Parr, Jonny Williams, Bannan, Gayle, Phillips.

Norwich City – Ruddy; Whittaker, Turner, Bassong, Olsson; Fer, Johnson; Snodgrass, Hoolahan, Redmond; Hooper.
Bench – Bunn, Martin, van Wolfswinkel, Elmander, Becchio, R Bennett, Josh Murphy.

Watch Live: Aston Villa vs. Crystal Palace (Lineups and Discuss)

Leave a comment

Aston Villa are in desperate need of a win as they take on relegation-threatened Crystal Palace at Villa Park (10 a.m. ET; watch live online via NBC Sports Live Extra).

Frustration with Paul Lambert is growing amidst Villa fans, and the manager knows his side need to collect all three points, particularly in front of the home support. He’s going to have to do it without Christian Benteke, however, as the club revealed the Belgian is still suffering from injury — a fact that may account for his ten games without a goal. The Villa will be looking to Libor Kozák today, as well as hoping Andi Weimann can get back in form, or perhaps that Gabby Agbonlahor can score.

Palace, meanwhile, will just be hoping anyone can score, as the visitors hold the dubious honor of having scored the least goals in the league thus far. It won’t help that top scorer Marouane Chamakh, who has 4 of Palace’s 11 goals, sits out a one-match ban. It’ll be up to Cameron Jerome, who has just one goal for his club, although Barry Bannan would certainly love to knock one in against his former side.

Lineups

Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Clark, Baker, Luna, Albrighton, El Ahmadi, Weimann, Delph, Agbonlahor, Kozák

Subs: Steer, Bacuna, Helenius, Bowery, Sylla, Gardner, Tonev

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Delaney, Gabbidon, Parr, Ward, Jedinak, Bolasie, Puncheon, Bannan, Jerome

Subs: Price, Moxey, Campana, Boateng, Jonny Williams, Gayle, Phillips

Crystal Palace 0-3 Newcastle United: Magpies flying-high after yet another win (video)

Leave a comment

Newcastle hadn’t lost at Selhurst Park since 1984 before Saturday’s trip to South London… and they never looked in danger of losing that superb record.

Two first half strikes, courtesy of Yohan Cabaye’s cool finish and a Danny Gabbidon own goal, put the Magpies in a commanding position and despite Crystal Palace’s endeavor to get back into the match, a late Hatem Ben Arfa penalty kick sealed a 3-0 win for Newcastle.

Tony Pulis’ Palace were outclassed by an energetic and clinical Magpies side in the driving rain and swirling wind as horrendous weather hit England’s capital. It could have been more comfortable for the away side, but their sixth win in their last eight games sent them within three points of the top four. Palace remain in the relegation zone but are just one point from safety.

It will be a very Merry Christmas for Alan Pardew and the Toon Army up in the North East.

An even start to proceedings at Selhurst Park as the Eagles held firm despite a few dangerous set pieces from the Magpies.

Loic Remy was looking sharp up top as Newcastle aimed to hit the Eagles on the counter-attack but Pulis’ men were looking solid and organized.

The horrific weather conditions, driving rain and swirling winds around South London, weren’t conducive to attacking play.

However splendid play from Moussa Sissoko on the right saw him beat Dean Moxey and then pull a perfect ball back for Cabaye to stroke home a calm finish on his return to the starting lineup.

But Palace didn’t hide after going behind as Cameron Jerome forced a good stop from Tim Krul and from the resulting corner Barry Bannan’s in-swinging cross was nearly bundled home for an equalizer.

Then a moment of madness came from Gabbidon in the 39th minute as Matheiu Debuchy’s right wing cross was going out of play and no Newcastle forward was around, but Palace’s defender launched himself at the ball and deflected the cross into his own net to put the Magpies 2-0 up.

Following the break Julian Speroni made a terrific stop from Cabaye after his 30-yard free kick swerved all over the place and the Italian ‘keeper adjusted his body well to keep the effort out.

Newcastle looked more likely to extend their lead than Palace mounting a fight back, with the Eagles struggling to create much going forward as the Magpies looked strong and composed in possession.

In the 62nd minute Palace came close after Yannick Bolasie’s right-wing cross found Marouane Chamakh but the striker headed wide after he rose highest in the box. With the final 10 minutes approaching, Newcastle went forward and in-form attacker Yoann Gouffran curled a powerful shot off of Speroni’s right hand post as the Magpies aimed to seal yet another win.

A rash challenge from Jonny Parr on Shola Ameobi saw Neil Swarbrick point to the spot in the 86th minute, as Ben Arfa stepped up to smash the ball home and round off the scoring.

LINEUPS

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Gabbidon, Delaney, Moxey (Parr, 45), Ward, Jedinak, Puncheon, Bannan (Bolasie, 45), Chamakh, Jerome (Gayle, 77)

Newcastle: Krul, Debuchy, Coloccini, Williamson, Santon, Cabaye (Ben Arfa, 79), Tiote, Sissoko, Anita, Gouffran, Remy (Shola Ameobi, 75)

Goals: Cabaye (25), Gabbidon (OG – 39), Ben Arfa (86)

Crystal Palace 2-0 Cardiff City: Two on the trot for Palace (video)

Leave a comment

They might not be out of the danger zone just yet, but Crystal Palace can be forgiven for looking a bit smug about the hiring of Tony Pulis. Palace beat West Ham on Tuesday and now have brought in another three points, leaving them behind the Irons in the standings due to goal difference. Dare they dream of a win against Chelsea next time out?

The hosts started things off quickly, scoring after less than ten minutes had passed. It was Cameron Jerome, getting his head on the end of a cross from Jason Puncheon, who put Palace ahead at the expense of his former club. With the early lead for Palace, the question quickly became: can this new Pulis side hang on and defend?

source: AP
Crystal Palace’s players celebrates Marouane Chamakh’s goal against Cardiff City.

But even when forced into an early save — Adrian Mariappa replaced Dean Moxey in the 25th minute thanks to injury — the hosts, playing Pulis-ball, stayed strong. In fact, they were even able to double their lead before the hour was out. Marouane Chamakh pulled off his second of the week, after scoring the winner against West Ham on Tuesday. The forward got his foot on the end of a cross from Barry Bannan to slot the ball into the bottom right corner, doubling the hosts’ lead.

It must be said that things looked mighty grim for the visitors. Only the new goalline technology system prevented Crystal Palace from getting a third, as it looked like Jerome had managed to get the ball over the line once more. Cardiff, meanwhile, could barely get close to goal. Could this task prove not so impossible for Pulis?

LINEUPS

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Gabbidon, Delaney, Moxey (Mariappa 25), Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Bannan (O’Keefe 84), Puncheon, Chamakh, Jerome

Subs not used: Price, Williams, Kebe, Gayle, Phillips

Cardiff City: Marshall, Caulker (C), Turner, Whittingham, Medel, Campbell (Cornelius 68), Kim (Odemwingie 60), Mutch, Cowie (Noone 46), Theophile-Catherine, John

Subs not used: Lewis; Connolly, Hudson, Gunnarsson