It’s that stage of a season where fans start to go to despair when they are in the bottom three of the Premier League, and at the moment I am at that stage. With four games left (for Wigan, others have three) we are five points adrift of the leading pack. Can we still survive?
Silly mistakes against Tottenham cost us points, first Joel’s howler of a kick, and then Emmerson Boyce’s inadvertent own goal. I can imagine Gary Caldwell telling everyone not to panic in his burley Scottish accent. The captain now will have such an important off the pitch role, to keep the player’s heads up and belief in their hearts.
For the fans though we don’t have that luxury. Looking at how the league stacks up, we all will be panicking to some degree. Are we right to do so? Yes and no, we do have that all important home game in hand against Swansea City, and we do have two other winnable games against West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa before the end of the season. We have to target those three games as wins, if we want to survive this season.
There are arguably four teams still in the race to survive. Newcastle United, Aston Villa, Sunderland and Norwich City. All are on 37/38 points (Norwich City on 38 points) and have a goal difference around -22 (Sunderland’s goal difference is -12), so they are all in a reachable distance.
The question is, who can we gain ground on?
Newcastle with two away games and one home game could pick up anywhere between nine points and nothing from their three games. Aston Villa also have two away games, the first against Norwich and then a home tie against Chelsea. If they fail to pick up any points in those three games, then they could go into the final day needing to beat us to stay up.
Sunderland with two winnable games, before a final day trip to White Hart Lane, unpredictability could be their downfall, and we could make up so ground on Paolo Di Canio’s men. Norwich City play a vital game against Villa this weekend and will want to distance themselves from the relegation area.
Last time I predicted a possible table was before we lost 2-0 to West Ham United. Since then we have seen; Sunderland rise, and then fall; Newcastle being demolished by Liverpool; Aston Villa soar six points clear; and Norwich well they have plodded along. Who will survive? I don’t know anymore, and it is going to come down to the wire on the final day in May.
Keep the Faith!