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Premier League bottom 7: Who will survive?

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With the Premier League going into its final five round of fixtures, 10 teams have still yet to reach the 40-point mark that is widely believed to guarantee a team's safety in the top flight. We take a look at the teams desperately battling against relegation, and predict which three clubs will be fighting in the Championship next season.

Crystal Palace
Current Points: 34 (14th)

Remaining Fixtures:
- vs Aston Villa (H): WIN
- vs Everton (A): LOSE
- vs West Ham United (A): DRAW
- vs Manchester City (H): LOSE
- vs Liverpool (H): LOSE
- vs Fulham (A): DRAW

Final Points: 39

Will they survive? Yep.

Under new manager Tony Pulis, Crystal Palace has been playing a new and refreshing style of soccer that actually looks like soccer. Players know what they need to do, where they need to be, when they need to make their runs and basically, the things that would have made them sit comfortably in mid-table should they have figured them out at the start of the season.

While Everton, Liverpool and Manchester City might be a little out of their depth to handle, I still fancy them coming out of these three fixtures with at least a point. Against Aston Villa, West Ham United and Fulham, conjuring an unbeaten run might not be totally impossible with a little bit of luck and plenty of fighting spirit.

Besides, they have a game in hand, which allows them a little more space than their relegation-threatened rivals to slip up.

It’s not going to be pretty, but they’re going to survive.

Swansea City
Current Points: 33 (15th)

Remaning Fixtures:

- vs Chelsea (H): LOSE
- vs Newcastle United (A): DRAW
- vs Aston Villa (H): WIN
- vs Southampton (H): LOSE
- vs Sunderland (A): WIN

Final Points: 40

Will they survive? Yep.

Chelsea are probably not going to pull of another ‘Aston Villa’ at the Liberty Stadium this weekend, and the match against Southampton should be a rather straightforward victory for the Saints.

As for the other teams, I supposed they can churn out at least a draw against a woeful Newcastle side that lost three straight thus far and have only won two of their last eight league games, conceding 17 goals in the process, scoring only twice. Yes, twice.

Villa should yield a positive result for them. The Villians’ bid of staying up in the top flight took a serious hit when their star striker Christian Benteke suffered a season-ending rupture of his Achilles tendon on Thursday. Andreas Weimann has not scored in nine appearances for Villa, while the off-colour Gabriel Agbonlahor hasn’t scored since New Year’s Day and is currently recovering from an illness.

Likewise for Sunderland, Swansea should navigate successfully past the Black Cats. It’s going to be tricky, but Swansea’s stars should have enough quality to help their team pull through a disappointing campaign.

West Bromwich Albion
Current Points: 32 (16th)

Remaining Fixtures:
- vs Tottenham Hotspur (H): DRAW
- vs Manchester City (A): LOSE
- vs West Ham United (H): DRAW
- vs Arsenal (A): LOSE
- vs Sunderland (A): DRAW
- vs Stoke City (H): DRAW

Final Points: 36

Will they survive? Yep.

The reason why West Brom are in such deep trouble is not because of them losing a lot of games. In fact, no one in the bottom 12 has a better losing record than the Baggies. The problem lies in their inability to win games.

They registered a staggering 14 draws this season, the most in the Premier League this season. The team with the second highest number of draws is Stoke City, who won four more games more than West Brom (6) and are sitting comfortably in 10th position.

Should they still find themselves unable to carve out and convert their chances, West Brom could find themselves plying their trade in the Championship next season.

I fancy a draw for West Brom against Tottenham, who always falter after winning their opponents by a comfortable margin in their previous match. Manchester City and Arsenal should prove too much for them, while the matches against West Ham, Sunderland, and Stoke will very likely yield draws.

While West Brom fans might argue that their team will at least win one of their remaining fixtures, but the matter of fact is that should the Baggies continue their current run of form, I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t register a victory in any of those matches.

Norwich City
Current Points: 32 (17th)

Remaining Fixtures:
- vs Fulham (A): LOSE
- vs Liverpool (H): LOSE
- vs Manchester United (A): LOSE
- vs Chelsea (A): LOSE
- vs Arsenal (H): LOSE

Final Points: 32

Will they survive? Nope.

Norwich have surprisingly been underperforming compared to last season, where they finished 12th, courtesy of sparkling performances by players such as Grant Holt and Robert Snodgrass.

It is extremely unlucky that Norwich are facing against the traditional English “top four” in their remaining five fixtures to end the season. Liverpool and Chelsea are tussling for the title, while Arsenal and Manchester United are desperately fighting for the last spot in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League respectively next season.

In other words, Norwich are going to end the season in a dreadful state.

Fulham just eked out a narrow 2-1 victory over Aston Villa away from home last week, and will look to continue their momentum in this week’s pivotal clash. Should they fail to secure a victory against Norwich, the gap between them will extend to eight.

I’m predicting a Fulham win.

I’m sorry to break this to you Norwich fans, but I don’t think your team is going to emerge from the monstrous schedule with anything much.

Fulham
Current Points: 27 (18th)

Remaning Fixtures:
- vs Norwich City (H): WIN
- vs Tottenham Hotspur (A): LOSE
- vs Hull City (H): DRAW
- vs Stoke City (A): LOSE
- vs Crystal Palace (H): DRAW

Final Points: 32

Will they survive? Just.

Fulham won two of their last four matches, pretty impressive considering their state for the majority of the season. Riding on a win at Villa Park, a victory against Norwich is in store for them.

Tottenham Hotspur might prove to be too much of a challenge, especially after the north London club’s demolition of Sunderland last week.

Against Hull City, I’m predicting a draw. Both teams will look to attack, but fortunately, or unfortunately for them, the offense of both teams were not really up to scratch in recent weeks.

Given the form of Stoke’s frontline, coupled with an absent attack and the suspect defense of Fulham, the Potters will definitely go for a win, and will most probably get what they want.

Palace have not been playing as well as they should on their travels, hence I’m going for a draw between the two sides when they meet for the final round of the Premier League in May.

Fulham and Norwich are going to end up with equal points in my predictions, but considering how the latter is most probably going to concede plenty towards the end of the season, the former will pull through to fight another season on a superior goal difference.

Cardiff City

Current Points: 26 (19th)

Remaining Fixtures:
- vs Southampton (A): LOSE
- vs Stoke City (H): LOSE
- vs Sunderland (A): WIN
- vs Newcastle (A): DRAW
- vs Chelsea (H): LOSE

Final Points: 30

Will they survive? Nope.

Cardiff's season was constantly made worse throughout the year by owner Vincent Tan's absolutely hilarious comments and lack of footballing knowledge. He actually wanted to know why the goalkeeper wasn't scoring any goals. I'm serious. Go look it up.

The Bluebirds' campaign was already doomed for failure when Vincent Tan decided to fire well-liked manager Malky Mackay, who brought them up from the Premier League for the first time in the Welsh side's history. 

Expectations were relatively high for Cardiff, who won the Championship comfortably in the 2012/13 season but, unfortunately, their momentum this season were constantly disrupted by their owner's ridiculous antics.

The Cardiff players aren't playing badly to be really frank. Ole Gunnar Solskjær has done a pretty good job in improving the way his team attacks, but unfortunately, most of their opponents happened to be in their zones more often than not.

Against Southampton and a silkier, but nonetheless physical, Stoke, defeats will be somewhat of a given. In their crucial battle against Sunderland, I expect them to come up on top with a victory.

A draw against Newcastle will be a realistic result given the location of the match and the current forms of both teams, while they're bound to end of the season with a defeat to Chelsea at home that will surely be too hard to swallow for the Cardiff fans, who are going down after just one season in the top flight.

Sunderland

Current Points: 25 (20th)

Remaining Fixtures:
- vs Everton (H): LOSE
- vs Manchester City (A): LOSE
- vs Chelsea (A): LOSE
- vs Cardiff City (H): LOSE
- vs Manchester United (A): LOSE
- vs West Bromwich Albion (H): DRAW
- vs Swansea City (H): LOSE

Final Points: 26

Will they survive? Nope.

Sunderland currently have two games in hand but, unfortunately, those matches are against in-form Everton, who are riding on an impressive 3-0 victory over Arsenal last week, and title chasers Manchester City, who will surely tear them apart without mercy at the Etihad Stadium.

Even more bad news are to follow, with the Black Cats having to play against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge next week, followed by a date with Manchester United at Old Trafford in between clashes against fellow strugglers Cardiff City and West Bromwich Albion.

Despite expected gallant efforts to try and rescue their season, the Black Cats’ morale and form will inevitably continue taking unfortunate hits in their next three fixtures which can only be described as nightmarish.

Without much improvement and a serious dent in their confidence, Cardiff might prove to be tricky side to navigate past, considering how the Welsh side have players of better quality who can deliver when crunch time arrives.

Against West Brom, it seems unlikely that they’ll come out of the match with anything more than a draw, while Swansea City might prove to be the only team they can beat in their remaining seven fixtures.

Nah, who am I kidding.

This season has turned out to be a really unpredictable one on both ends of the table. While it's always too early to draw conclusions in soccer, fans of Sunderland, Cardiff and Norwich have to be prepared for their team's likely demise in their remaining run of fixtures that will almost inevitably end with a devastating drop to the Championship next season.

What's left of a nervy schedule will undoubtedly spring a few surprises or two that will blow the relegation contest wide open again. Those who stand strong and believe in themselves will end up victors in this relegation battle, while those who falter and crumble under wounded morales and intense pressure will certainly fall apart, like the hopes and dreams of their grieving, heartbroken fans.

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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