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English Premier League: The battle worth £40 million

No, its not the reward for the Champions League or the Premier League. This is the cost of losing the relegation battle for a Premier League club, according to West Ham co-owner David Sullivan. He is not the only one who is worried though. This season is one of the tightest in years, especially in the bottom half of the table. 5 points cover the bottom 7 clubs with 9 games to go. It seems that the usual 40 point safety mark might not apply. Clubs might need 43 just to be sure this time around (West Ham were relegated despite having 42 points in 2002-03: A 20 team premier league record). Lets have a look at the relegation contenders.

Blackburn Rovers

Relegation could force Venky's to alter their summer transfer plans

After a brief spell of daydreaming about the likes of Ronaldinho and Maradona, Blackburn and their owners have woken up to the harsh reality of the Premier League relegation battle. Blackburn fans will hope that their owners realize that they are not managing an IPL franchise. The players though, are used to scrapping their way to safety, so dont expect this club to chicken out of the league.

Games Remaining: 9 Points to safety: 11    Verdict: Will Survive

Blackpool


Ian Holloway: Wont go down without a fight

Many expected the seasiders to struggle this season. Beautiful football wont be enough to keep them up was the opinion of many. But credit to Ian Holloway’s team. Despite thrashings like 6-0, 4-0 at the hands of the big boys, they have stuck to their philosophy and have been rewarded. In addition, people love to hear Holloway’s random rants.

Games Remaining: 9 Points to safety: 11    Verdict: Will Survive

West Bromwich Albion

Roy Hodgson: Targeting a mid-table finish….again

West Brom have the worst defensive record in this season’s league and newly appointed Roy Hodgson has gone some way towards correcting that. They are leaking lesser goals, but they will need to show a lot more discipline in order to survive. More importantly, they will need 11 points in their last 9 games. They still have to play Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Newcastle away. So it seems that they need 11 points from 4 games. Seems like a tall order for this shaky defence.

Games Remaining: 9 Points to safety: 11    Verdict: Going Down


Birmingham City

Birmingham City: Time to come down to earth?

Carling Cup winners Relegation battlers Birmingham City were brought down to earth when they lost 3-1 to West Brom. The Brums are also fighting for FA Cup glory this season and the fans would rather see a domestic couple double than another season in the top flight. Realistically speaking, they will achieve the latter and not the former. They have a game in hand and a tighter defence than their immediate rivals.

Games Remaining: 10 Points to safety: 12    Verdict: Will Survive

West Ham United

Avram Grant cant afford any more slip-ups.

West Ham have been woeful this season under Avram Grant and are in real danger of being relegated. They also have the distraction of the FA cup and Grant is in no mood to sacrifice that competition. West Ham’s youth academy is arguably the best in England (Arsenal included) and they always play to win (ask Man United).  No one really wants to see this club go down – except Tottenham perhaps.

Games Remaining: 9 Points to safety: 12    Verdict: Will Survive


Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolves: Giant Killers this season

Arsenal fans breathed a sigh of relief when Wolves turned United’s secret dream into sour grapes. While they have recorded commendable victories over Chelsea and Liverpool, they have struggles against their immediate rivals. As a result they lie 2nd from a bottom with  a gap threatening to open up above them. They look almost certain to go down.

Games Remaining: 9 Points to safety: 14    Verdict: Going Down


Wigan Athletic

Wigan will not be missed: An empty DW stadium for a home match.

Its lonely at the bottom for Wigan – in every sense. They are spiraling downwards in the table and it seems they cannot count on home support anymore. The DW stadium has one of the lowest attendances in the league and it seems that this club wont be missed.

Games Remaining: 9 Points to safety: 16    Verdict: Going Down


While most football fans couldnt care less about the bottom half of the table, to these clubs it means everything. Relegation can be a disaster especially for big spenders – something Leeds found out the hard way. These clubs will be desperate to avoid going down, and in that struggle might provide some shocking upsets that could affect the outcome of the title race.

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