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EPL Relegation Battle: Win Saves Aston Villa or Stoke City

EPL Relegation

BBC Match of the Day / Twitter / @BBCMOTD

We are winding down into the home stretch of the 2013-2014 English Premier League with some great races happening on both sides of the table. There are currently four teams with legitimate claims at the League Title. However, the more interesting race is the EPL relegation battle to avoid the drop to the Second Division. There are currently eleven teams who all are still in danger of being relegated, though at this point some are in better shape than the others.

The two clubs in the best position to stay safe are Aston Villa and Stoke City who are tied for tenth position with 34 points each; Villa holds the tie-breaker with a better goal differential. One of these clubs could be safe after this weekend as they square off this Sunday at Villa Park. With favorable results, the winner could be clear of the drop zone by at most 14 points cwith only a handful of fixtures remaining.

West Ham United is currently sitting in 12th place with 31 points and faces a very difficult task on Saturday when Manchester United rolls into Upton Park. United will be riding the momentum of their 3-0 win in mid-week over Greek side Olympiakos to advance into the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals. United manager David Moyes has played down the injury suffered by Robin van Persie in that match mid-week saying that is not serious although his status for this match is unknown. A loss from this match could drop West Ham back as many as four places.

Here is the spot in the table where we get into the really tight races. The margin is just six points separating 13th place Hull City and last place Fulham; it’s five points between Hull and the final relegation spot. The biggest reason why the teams in the 13 to 17 range should be worried is that 18th place Sunderland has at least two matches in hand on all of the teams around them; meaning Sunderland has either six or nine more potential points available to them than the other clubs.

Ironically though, the two toughest match-ups for teams fighting relegation belong to two clubs who are already sitting in the drop zone; 19th place Cardiff City welcomes Liverpool to the Cardiff City Stadium while Fulham takes a trip to the Etihad Stadium to face off with Manchester City. Points are unlikely for either of these clubs making the matches for those above them that much more important.

There is one other clash between two clubs in the relegation fight as Sunderland travels to Carrow Road for a date with Norwich City. The next four matches are critical for Norwich City to get as many points as possible with matches at home to Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion while facing away matches to Fulham and Swansea City. After those matches the schedule takes a dramatic turn to extremely challenging as they face Liverpool at home, Manchester United away and Chelsea away before finishing off the season at home to Arsenal.

Viewers in America are in for a treat. NBC Sports Network has five matches on the docket this weekend beginning with the London derby between Arsenal and Chelsea at 7:30 a.m. Eastern. The scene will then shift to the Etihad Stadium in Manchester for the match between City and Fulham at 10:45 a.m. EDT followed by West Ham and Manchester United at 1 p.m. EDT.

NBC SN will then broadcast both Sunday matches starting with Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton at 9 a.m. followed by Aston Villa and Stoke City at 11:30 a.m.

Matthew Evans is an MLS writer for Stoppage Time Soccer with a primary emphasis on all things Cascadia. “Like” him on Facebook, Follow him on Twitter, or add him to your network on Google

One Response to EPL Relegation Battle: Win Saves Aston Villa or Stoke City

  1. Pingback: Manchester United: Robin van Persie Injury News Worse Than Expected - Stoppage Time Soccer

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