Global Sports : Merson’s Relegation Verdict

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We look at the run-ins, stats and form of the Premier League’s strugglers and get Paul Merson’s view on who will go down…
We look at the run-ins, stats and form of the Premier League’s strugglers and get Paul Merson’s view on who will go down…
Hull – P30 Pts28
Run in: Swansea away (lost reverse fixture 1-0), Southampton away (lost 1-0), Liverpool home (Drew 0-0), Crystal Palace away (Won 2-0), Arsenal home (Drew 2-2), Burnley home (Lost 1-0), Tottenham away (Lost 2-1), Man Utd home (Lost 3-0)
Points won against remaining opponents: Five
Form: WLDDL
Hull look to have a hellish run-in to the season, with six of the current top eight to play, plus a tough trip to Crystal Palace and six-pointer with relegation rivals Burnley.
Steve Bruce’s side managed to take just five points from those eight teams earlier in the season. A repeat would leave them on 33 points – a total with which no club has survived in a 38-game Premier League season.
Opta Stat: Hull City haven’t won any of the eight Premier League games which Nikica Jelavic has missed this season (D3 L5).
Merse says: I think they will get out of it, I don’t expect them to go down.
Aston Villa – P30 Pts28
Run in: Man Utd away (Drew reverse fixture 1-1), QPR home (lost 2-0), Tottenham away (lost 2-1), Man City away (lost 2-0), Everton home (lost 3-0), West Ham home (Drew 0-0), Southampton away (Drew 1-1), Burnley home (Drew 1-1)
Points won against remaining opponents: Four
Form:LLWWL
Aston Villa are currently three points clear of the drop zone but face a tough run of fixtures, which includes a key home game with QPR amid trips to Manchester United, Tottenham and Manchester City.
Tim Sherwood is now at the helm at Villa and he will need to find a way to trouble these teams – Paul Lambert managed just four points from the reverse fixtures and a total of 32 points is highly unlikely to see them survive.
Opta Stat: Aston Villa had scored 12 times in 25 games under Paul Lambert in this campaign. They’ve scored seven times since Tim Sherwood took over, conceding just five in five games.
Merse says: They are in a battle and have some hard games coming up. They will be lucky if they get anything out of their next three games. They have to rely on nobody else winning at that time. I think they will be alright because of their forward line.
Sunderland – P30 Pts26
Run in: Newcastle home (Won reverse fixture 1-0), Crystal Palace home (Won 3-1), Stoke away (Won 3-1), Southampton home (Lost 8-0), Everton away (Drew 1-1), Leicester home (Drew 0-0), Arsenal away (Lost 0-2), Chelsea away (Drew 0-0)
Points won against remaining opponents: 12
Form: DLDLL
Dick Advocaat will hope to have assured Sunderland of their Premier League status before their final two games of the season against Arsenal and Chelsea – and given Sunderland’s record against their remaining opponents so far this season, he’ll be confident they can do just that.
Sunderland have already taken 12 points from the teams they have left to play in this campaign. A repeat would move them on to 38 points – and beyond the average tally of 36.5 points usually record to stay up.
Opta Stat: Sunderland have faced more shots than any side in the Premier League this season (482).
Merse says: I think they will go down. They are not scoring goals, they are not playing well, the manager has come in and he doesn’t know this league. I think he will find it very difficult.
Burnley – P30 Pts25
Run in: Tottenham home (Lost reverse fixture 2-1), Arsenal home (Lost 3-0), Everton away (Lost 3-1), Leicester home (Drew 2-2), West Ham away (Lost 3-1), Hull away (Won 1-0), Stoke home (Won 2-1), Aston Villa away (Drew 1-1)
Points won against remaining opponents: Eight
Form: DLLWL
Like Aston Villa, a repeat of their results against their remaining opponents would leave Burnley on 33 points – a total unlikely to maintain their top-flight status.
However, home fixtures against Leicester and Stoke, could be key, while a win at Hull may set up a dramatic final day at Villa Park…
Opta Stat: Burnley have named an unchanged team 15 times in the PL this season; no other side has done so more than seven times (Leicester).
Merse says: They could get out of this. They go to places and have a right go and I think they will get enough points to get out of it.
QPR – P30 Pts22
Run in: West Brom away (Won the reverse fixture 3-2), Aston Villa away (Won 2-0), Chelsea home (Lost 1-2), West Ham home (Lost 0-2), Liverpool away (Lost 2-3), Man City away (Drew 2-2), Newcastle home (Lost 0-1), Leicester away (Won 3-2)
Points won against remaining opponents: 10
Form: LLLLL
Four points adrift of safety, QPR will be desperate to buck a five-game losing streak at West Brom to maintain their survival hopes – however, Chris Ramsey will also need a plan to shock high-flying Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City, as Rangers’ valiant efforts against that trio earlier this season count for little at this stage.
Newcastle’s visit to Loftus Road on the penultimate weekend before a final-day journey to relegation rivals Leicester could keep QPR’s survival hopes alive right to the death.
Opta Stat: QPR have lost 13 of their 14 away games in the Premier League this season, with their only win coming against fellow strugglers Sunderland.
Merse says: Relegated. They have lost five on the spin and it’s very rare you turn that around. When you are losing that many games it means your confidence is low. They have just lost at home to Everton who had just come back from Kiev, that’s a game you should win.
Leicester – P30 Pts19
Run in: West Ham home (Lost reverse fixture 2-0), West Brom away (Lost 1-0), Swansea home (Lost 2-0), Burnley away (Drew 2-2), Chelsea home (Lost 2-0), Newcastle home (Lost 1-0), Southampton home (Lost 2-0), Sunderland away (Drew 0-0), QPR home (Lost 3-2)
Points won against remaining opponents: Two
Form: LDLDL
Nigel Pearson’s men managed just two points against their remaining opponents earlier this season and will need far more than that if they are to make a shock surge from rock-bottom of the Premier League to safety.
Leicester need 18 points from their last nine to pass the average total needed to survive in the Premier League – 36.5 – which would require them to virtually double the sum they’ve accrued in 29 matches so far this season. With six matches to play at home, their form at the King Power will need to be exemplary.
Opta Stat: Leicester City have won just 11 points at home this season, fewer than any other side in the division.
Merse says: I am a big fan of Leicester, they have done well everywhere they have gone and they might get out of it, but they probably have to win about six matches and they haven’t won that all season. They have much more chance than QPR, though. Leicester have some good fixtures at home where they could get points.

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