EPL Relegation Battle Preview

The Relegation Dogfight

With QPR and Burnley already down, there remains one relegation place to be determined and three teams that could still occupy it - Hull, Newcastle and Sunderland.

Hull City on 34 points currently occupy the final slot in the bottom three. Newcastle are two points above them on 36, whilst Sunderland are not yet certain of survival on 37 points, however the Black Cats have an extra game in which to pick up the one point that will guarantee their survival.

The only way Sunderland will go down is if they don’t claim a point from their last two games - against Arsenal on Wednesday and Chelsea on the weekend - and Hull and Newcastle will both have to win.

Hull City v Manchester United | Sunday 24 May | KC Stadium | 16:00

Hull 5/2 | Draw 5/2 | Man United 1/1
Relegation dwellers Hull City have to beat Manchester United on Sunday to stand any chance of surviving in the Premier League, and that may still not be enough if Newcastle win and Sunderland get a point from one of their two remaining matches.

A year ago to the day Hull were looking forward to their first ever FA Cup final with survival already secured, but those heady days at Wembley now seem a distant memory. The Tigers looked on course for safety following back-to-back wins over Crystal Palace and Liverpool last month but consecutive defeats to Arsenal, Burnley and Tottenham mean they go into the final day with their fate no longer in their own hands. Steve Bruce’s men were beaten 2-0 by Spurs last weekend which leaves them with no option but to win against United, Bruce’s old club.

Manchester United don’t have much to play for as Arsenal can cement third spot with even a draw on Wednesday night against Sunderland. United had a chance of leapfrogging Arsenal into the last automatic Champions League spot but could only manage a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford against their old foes on Sunday. The Red Devils dominated the first half, taking a deserved lead through Ander Herrera’s controlled volley, but Arsenal improved after half-time and earned their draw, though it came via Tyler Blackett’s own-goal. Louis van Gaal might field some of his fringe players who have been finding it difficult to crack the starting line-up of late. However, those players come highly rated and will look at this match as a last chance to prove themselves. Expect the likes of Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Robin van Persie, Victor Valdes, Adnan Januzaj and Luke Shaw to all feature.

Prediction: Draw 5/2
Manchester United won the reverse fixture 3-0 with ease at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’, and have beaten Hull in all seven previous meetings since their promotion to the top tier in the 2008/09 season. Hull will be the playing for their lives but it’s difficult seeing them beating this United team. The draw is tipped.

Newcastle v West Ham | Sunday 24 May | St James’ Park | 16:00

Newcastle 7/10 | Draw 28/10 | West Ham 34/10
Newcastle are two points ahead of Hull and entertain West Ham on Sunday knowing that only a win will absolutely secure their survival. A draw or a defeat for the Magpies would mean Hull would survive with a win due to Newcastle’s inferior goal difference.

Newcastle’s survival hopes remain in the balance after relegated QPR fought back from a goal down to beat them 2-1 at Loftus Road. This has been coming; gravity has been sucking Newcastle into its orbit for some weeks now, their biggest hope being that Hull can be sucked in faster. Newcastle find themselves fighting for survival after failing to win one of their last 10 matches, losing nine times. It was their 12th away loss of the season and the Magpies will be hoping the atmospheric St James’ Park will help them in arguably their most important match ever.

West Ham come into the match on the back of two consecutive losses. They went down 1-0 at Aston Villa two weeks back and lost 2-1 at home to Everton last Saturday. West Ham lie in 11th place, with 11 points more than Newcastle. The best they could do if they win here is move one spot up, if Everton don’t claim maximum points. They owe their safety to their home form as they have been poor on the road, winning just three of their 18 travels and losing eight times.

Prediction: Newcastle 7/10
With West Ham failing to hit top gear of late and the fact that they come into this match with not much to play for, the home side are priced up as firm favourites at 7/10. West Ham won the reverse fixture 1-0 and can expect a fiery Newcastle team with home advantage this time. Newcastle’s desire to win should drive them to a win. 

Written by Wayde Dorkin for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!