The fight for survival in the Premier League encountered more dramatic twists and turns at the weekend, with safety now guaranteed for several teams, but the spectre of relegation still looming for others and for some, survival now depends on results elsewhere.
Adding further to the drama, with both having failed to win at the weekend, Swansea City and Southampton now face a direct midweek encounter which could decide not only their own fate, but those of the remaining teams still harbouring any hopes of survival in the English top flight.
All eyes will be glued to the crucial duel at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday 8th March, with Premier League football betting favouring Southampton at 11/8 odds to avoid the drop, while Swansea are priced at 7/4 to reach the safety zone, in what is now a genuine life or death encounter between the two sides.
Tied on 33 points and with only goal-difference splitting Southampton and Swansea, in 17th and 18th positions respectively, a win would push either side one step closer to survival with one game remaining, while also dooming West Bromwich Albion to relegation, for whom only a draw would provide any hope of salvation on the final day of the season.
West Bromwich Albion earned a priceless 1-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur at the Hawthorns, thanks to a Jake Livermore finish deep into stoppage time, as Darren Moore’s side continued their valiant last-gasp push to escape the relegation zone. The result also denied Spurs the opportunity to definitively secure a top-four finish and their place in the Champions League next season.
Having won three and drawn two of their last five encounters, West Brom have certainly made a valiant effort to avoid the drop, but it could prove too little too late. With just one game left to play, the Baggies are entirely reliant on results elsewhere, particularly the game between Swansea and Southampton, if they’re to reach the final weekend of fixtures with anything still to play for.
Stoke City have already conceded defeat their relegation battle, after Paul Lambert’s side missed a great opportunity to remain in hunt for survival, losing their make or break encounter with Crystal Palace at the bet365 Stadium. This means that whatever the outcome between Swansea and Southampton, life in the Championship now awaits Stoke next season.
A superb Xherdan Shaqiri free-kick had put the Potters ahead against Crystal Palace at the weekend, briefly giving the home fans a glimmer of hope, however, the Eagles made an excellent comeback to secure all three points, with goals from James McArthur and Patrick van Aanholt securing their safety in the Premier League.
Finally, Huddersfield Town still remain in the relegation mix on 35 points, after losing away at Manchester City on Sunday. To secure their safety in the Premier League, the Terriers face the daunting task of trying to get at least two points from their two remaining fixtures; against Chelsea away and Arsenal at home.