How Premier League relegation battle is shaping up after manic Monday
The Premier League relegation battle took several more twists on Monday where 21 goals were scored in just three incident-packed games as clubs scrapped for their top-flight futures.
Nottingham Forest and Everton won to drag themselves out of the bottom three, while Leicester’s loss at Fulham leaves them in further peril, along with Sam Allardyce’s Leeds.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the relegation run-in and the shape of things to come for those fighting for survival with only three games to go.
Position: 16th; Points: 33; Goal Difference: -31
Steve Cooper’s side gave themselves a great chance of extending their top-flight return beyond just a single season as they beat bottom club Southampton 4-3 in Monday’s late kick-off.
A last-minute Brentford goal saw them miss out on a point in their previous game but Forest had beaten Brighton on April 26 to give their hopes a shot in the arm.
Next up is a trip to out-of-form Chelsea before hosting title-chasing Arsenal, with Cooper – who the club have kept faith with all season as others around them chopped and changed in the dugout – hopeful their three-point cushion to the relegation zone at least remains intact ahead of their visit to Crystal Palace on the final day.
Position: 17th; Points: 32; Goal Difference: -21
A fantastic display saw the Toffees thrash European hopefuls Brighton 5-1 on Monday, their first win since March 11.
Four draws in that time had kept them in touch with their rivals and they have now got their heads above water heading into the final stretch.
Sean Dyche has been in similar positions in the past and will urge his players to use the Brighton performance as a yardstick with the formidable challenge of Manchester City next up at Goodison Park, before fixtures away at Wolves and at home to Bournemouth.
Position: 18th; Points: 30; Goal Difference: -15
The Foxes may have hit three goals at Fulham but they still slipped to a 5-3 loss which has seen Dean Smith’s side fall back into the relegation places.
They had taken five points from three games heading to Craven Cottage but have also missed penalties at vital times in their last two matches and confidence will have fallen again.
With Champions League contenders Liverpool and Newcastle to come before hosting West Ham on the final day, Smith needs to mastermind some unlikely results if he is to prove the club’s hierarchy were right to install him following the sacking of Brendan Rodgers last month.
Position: 19th; Points: 30; Goal Difference: -25
Sam Allardyce was given four games to keep Leeds in the top flight and the first of those ended in a narrow 2-1 defeat at league leaders City on Saturday.
They have now taken just one point from their last six games, with the final four defeats of Javi Gracia’s reign coming with an aggregate score of 17-4.
Sorting out such a leaky defence was Allardyce’s main concern following his appointment and he faces two of his former clubs next up in the shape of Newcastle and West Ham, before Leeds host Tottenham on the last day.
Position: 20th; Points: 24; Goal Difference: -33
A battling display at Forest ended in a narrow loss which all-but guarantees Southampton’s 11-year stay in the Premier League is at an end, the Saints now eight points from safety.
Ruben Selles is the third manager Saints have had this campaign but he has been unable to oversee the huge turnaround that was required when he took over in February, with a draw against high-flying Arsenal the club’s only point from their last seven games.
Their relegation will be confirmed if they fail to beat Fulham at St Mary’s on Saturday and even that may not be enough, with Brighton and Liverpool fixtures to come afterwards.