Premier League fight to survive

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The splendid job Roy Hodgson has done at Crystal Palace was emphasised by the five-goal rout of demoralised Leicester at the weekend, though it was merely the culmination of an impressive sequence of six games in which the only defeat came at the hands of Liverpool and Palace managed to either beat or share points with four of their relegation rivals.

In the process Palace have climbed above Brighton, Bournemouth and Watford, all clubs who were considered to be having decent seasons, and probably made themselves safe. Hodgson has said he does not like hearing about mathematical possibilities and only described his team as being on the verge of safety with 38 points, though he also said he would have been reasonably happy with 36 points and a superior goal average.

This season 38 points Alex Lewis Jersey will most likely be enough (Brighton are on 37 and entertain Manchester United on Friday), so Bournemouth and Watford can also consider most of the work done, even if they might need a couple more Jack Eichel Jersey points or a favourable result elsewhere to properly relax.
There are six teams below that quartet, and some have to play each other. Neither of the two teams at the bottom, Stoke and West Bromwich, can possibly reach 38 points because they only have two games left. Southampton could theoretically reach 39 points, though if they do it will involve not only a win at Everton on Saturday but taking three points from a visit to Swansea on Tuesday, which would impact the Welsh side’s hopes of survival.
At the moment, although Carlos Carvalhal’s team are only a point above the bottom three on 33 points, they must quietly fancy their chances because they have three games left and they are all against sides in the bottom half of the table: Bournemouth, Southampton and Stoke.
The complication there is that two of those sides are in the bottom three and fighting for their lives – witness Southampton’s overdue victory against Bournemouth on Saturday and Stoke’s creditable draw at Anfield – and at this stage of the season practically any result is possible, though it should also be said that by the time Stoke arrive in south Wales for what has long looked a final-day decider one or both of the teams could have no hope left.
The best hope for the three teams above West Brom is that one or both of West Ham and Huddersfield could still drop into the equation, with the Yorkshire side looking most in danger. Both teams are level on 35 points, but whereas West Ham could start to climb with a visit to out-of-sorts Leicester this weekend, Huddersfield have to endure the title party at Manchester City. The Terriers then complete a difficult run-in with a trip to Chelsea followed by the visit of Arsenal on the last day, so it is possible, without wishing to put any sort of hex on David Wagner and his players, that 35 points is where Huddersfield will stay.
West Ham have Manchester United away and Everton at home as their last two games, two sets of opponents that David Moyes knows particularly well. Moyes also has more Premier League experience than Wagner, as do his players, and though there has been much more turbulence in and around the London Stadium this season than in West Yorkshire one would have to say that the respective run-ins give Antonio Garcia Jersey the Irons a slightly better chance of picking up points. One or two may be all it takes.
Yet before too much time is wasted on unnecessary extrapolation there are this weekend’s fixtures to consider. By close of Branden Oliver Jersey play on Saturday West Brom and Stoke could be down, or Swansea and Southampton in more trouble than they anticipated.


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