With just five games remaining in the 2014/2015 Premier League season, the fight to stay in the top flight looks set to go down to the wire in what promises to be a dramatic climax. Aston Villa’s shock victory at Tottenham has not necessarily secured their safety, but up to five teams find themselves in a much more precarious situation at the wrong end of the table. There are a number of potential six-pointers left on the fixture list that could make all the difference in deciding who survives and who falls, and with just three points separating the five beleaguered teams, every goal matters. Predicting who will go down is anyone’s guess, but while the three teams who do perish may bounce back at the first attempt, the Championship is an unforgiving league in which there is no guarantee of returning to the top flight.
Burnley (26 points)
Burnley would most certainly be top if the Premier League was based on teams who show the most commitment and determination for the cause, with Sean Dyche’s side showing a superb account of themselves all season. However, consecutive defeats have seen them slide to the foot of the table, with a poor run of four games without scoring illustrating that Burnley may ultimately lack the firepower to survive. They have three six-pointers in which to save themselves against all odds, with fixtures against Leicester, Hull and Aston Villa standing out as now-or-never moments in Burnley’s season.
Queens Park Rangers (26 points)
It could be argued that Queens Park Rangers have considerably under-achieved this season for a team who have the seventh highest wage bill in the Premier League. They find themselves in a precarious position in 19th, and while Charlie Austin’s goals may be their only saviour, they face a tricky run-in that might be their downfall. Fixtures against West Ham, Leicester and Newcastle present wonderful opportunities to pick up three points, but trips to Liverpool and Manchester City limit their survival bid to just three games.
Leicester (28 points)
One considered dead and buried, Leicester have seemingly resurrected their chances of Premier League survival following a run of three consecutive victories. Nigel Pearson’s side have arguably performed better than their current league position suggests, but they now have the momentum and belief that may carry them over the line. Facing Burnley, Newcastle, Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers on the final day of the season could be the fixtures that Leicester target to pick up three points in, with games at the King Power Stadium against Chelsea and Southampton posing much tougher tests.
Hull (28 points)
Two wins in their last twelve Premier League fixtures have sent Hull into freefall, with Steve Bruce’s side going from relative mid-table security to the edge of the relegation trap door. Their remaining fixtures do not favour either them, with tough games against Crystal Palace, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United providing limited opportunities for three points. The penultimate game of the season against Burnley at the KC Stadium could be their best chance of securing three points, although Hull cannot afford to rely on other results to go their way in their current predicament.
Sunderland (29 points)
Dick Advocaat has been tasked with the responsibility of saving a capsizing ship, with one win in their last ten games putting Sunderland in real danger of relegation. Their 1-0 derby win against Newcastle should have been the springboard for survival, but the dramatic 4-1 collapse against Crystal Palace sent them back down to earth with a bump. Sunderland’s run-in may not fill their fans with confidence either, with their game against Leicester at the Stadium of Light standing out as a realistic chance to pick up three points. Facing the likes of Arsenal, Everton, Southampton and Chelsea are not the type of fixtures that any team who are just one point above the relegation zone would want in the remaining weeks of the season, with Sunderland needing a repeat of last season’s great escape to secure their Premier League status.