Premier League — 19 April 2013
The Battle to Beat the Drop… Who Will Survive?

With only 5 games to go in the Barclay’s Premier League  the title race seems to be as good as over with Manchester United as runaway leaders. However, the battle to beat relegation is well and truly on with eight teams fighting to stay in the league.

Here is my team by team run down on who will beat the drop and who will be going down come the end of the season.

NEWCASTLE UNITED
Newcastle’s form of late hasn’t been so good with only one win in their last four games. Last week’s defeat by rivals Sunderland will have hurt the Magpies but I believe that may just spur them on to a few wins and ultimately safety come the 19th May.

Their elimination from The Europa League by Benfica, although disappointing for the fans, may just be a good thing for Alan Pardew’s men as it will allow them to focus all their energy on this last push towards safety.

The loss of Demba Ba in January has clearly had a big impact on the team but Pardew has made some very decent signings of his own, with Moussa Sissoko looking like a top quality player. With Sissoko and players like Papiss Cisse and Yohan Cabaye in their ranks I think Newcastle just have too much talent to go down.

Also, with their toughest games against Liverpool and Arsenal both being at home, with the Toon Army right behind the team, I fancy them to pull off a couple of good results.

I predict that Newcastle will survive relegation.

NORWICH CITY
Having not won a match since the 23rd February Chris Hughton will be a very worried man. His team just aren’t getting the results they need.

The Canaries will feel hard done by after leading Arsenal at the Emirates last week until the award of a controversial 85th minute penalty sent them into free fall and an eventual 3-1 defeat. However, a home fixture against bottom club Reading this weekend may just be the perfect way to bounce back and gain some valuable points.

I predict that Norwich will survive relegation.

SUNDERLAND
With new manager Paolo Di Canio at the helm, Sunderland look to be coming into some form at the right time. A narrow loss to Chelsea was followed by a superb 3-0 away victory against rivals Newcastle last weekend and you can see that Di Canio’s enthusiasm is running right through the team.

Sunderland have some very technically gifted players in their squad and whatever you may think of Di Canio, he seems to be getting the best out these players in a very short period of time. The sacking of Martin O’Neill was one that shocked many people but so far it seems to have been a good decision.

I predict that Sunderland will survive relegation.

STOKE CITY
With only 5 points from 13 games this year the second half of this season has been one to forget for the Stoke fans. And with the team only managing to score two goals in their last seven fixtures the next five games will be anxious ones for the fans.

On a more positive note, three out of those five games are against teams close to them in the league and with their toughest game against Tottenham at home, I just tip them to hustle and bustle their way to survival.

I predict that Stoke will survive relegation.

ASTON VILLA
With only one defeat in their last five games, Paul Lambert seems to have masterminded a mini revival at Upton Park. In what has been a very dark season for his young side things seem to getting a little brighter and survival seems to be more and more realistic.

If Villa do stay up, one man should take most of the spoils and that man is Christian Benteke. The Belgian striker has scored 19 goals so far this season and a number of eye catching performances have meant that he has attracted attention for a number of big clubs. As long as he stays fit and keeps up his current level of performance, Villa should be safe.

I predict that Aston Villa will survive relegation.

WIGAN ATHLETIC
One relegation battle too far? I think it may be so, unfortunately for Wigan. Already having a game in hand and now reaching the FA Cup final means that Wigan have to play seven games in 29 days. A tough schedule for a team fighting relegation.

I just don’t think Wigan have a deep enough squad to allow them to put up a good enough fight to survive in the Premier League. To reach the cup final is a magnificent achievement but I reckon that the Wigan fans should enjoy their day at Wembley as there won’t be very much to enjoy come the end of the season.

I predict Wigan will be relegated.

QUEENS PARK RANGERS
Harry Redknapp’s team are just too far behind to survive. They would need to win at least 4 of their last 5 fixtures to have any chance of doing so. The fact they have only won 4 games all season would make this seem very unlikely.

They’ve spent big but ultimately haven’t managed to put a team together, they just have a group of expensive individuals. I thought Harry Redknapp’s appointment would make a big difference at Loftus Road but this hasn’t been the case. It just seems a matter of time for QPR.

I predict QPR will be relegated.

READING
Bottom of the league with only 5 games remaining and on an eight match winless streak. It’s not pretty for Reading fans.

The bottom line is that they just don’t have Premier League standard players. I like Nigel Adkins as a manager and I reckon they will do well in the Championship next season but for me they were always fighting a losing battle this season with the squad that they have.

I predict Reading will be relegated.

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Craig Rodger
Craig Rodger

I am a young Scottish sports and media student with a passion for football. I've played at youth level for Aberdeen FC and Clyde FC in Scotland, and currently play for a local amateur team. Off the pitch I like to socialise as much as time allows and I have a keen interest in film and comedy.

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