Premier League relegation candidates: Club-by-club guide

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The time of the season has come where a team's destiny is decided. Will they crumble or will they prevail the drop?

Yes, of course, what other than the raucous relegation scrap can be looked forward to in the latter stages of the Premier League season.

With thirteen games remaining on the fixture list, things are becoming a little more uncomfortable towards the foot of the table. 

With eight teams still looking precariously over their shoulders, here's a club-by-club assessment of each side's chances of survival in 2014/2015.

The incentive to avoid the dreaded drop to the Championship is more lucrative than it's ever been before, following the new Premier League TV deal that will allow all top-flight clubs to pocket even more money.

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Crystal Palace (Current position 13th)

The appointment of Alan Pardew came at the right time for the Eagles. It really wasn't going to plan for former boss Neil Warnock and the board gave him more than enough time to fix some positive results together.

However, he has gone now and Pardew is in. The ex Newcastle United boss has mustered up three league victories in his current reign at Selhurst Park all in tough ties which has given the supporters a huge lift.

So, how are things going on the field? Crystal Palace may not have the best of players, but one thing that they do have is team spirit. Having such desire and belief to win games in this league is vital and we have seen that in games against Tottenham; defying the odds to come out on top, and Burnley, where despite falling two goals behind, they inspirationally pulled off a 3-2 triumph.

Final position verdict: 12th

West Bromwich Albion (Current position 14th)

Here is another team who have recently appointed a manager to good effect. Tony Pulis has brought some positivity to The Hawthorns in 2015, and ever since his arrival, the Baggies have been on the up.

Saido Berahino, their top scorer this season, is currently enduring what I call 'on-and-off' form at the moment where in one game he can be utterly unstoppable, but in the next could be as quiet as a mouse. They rely on him for goals and when he doesn't find the target, they fail to win.

In terms of the defence, there is plenty of experience there in relation to Gareth McAuley and Joleon Lescott especially, so if they do become engulfed in the wrath of the relegation battle, they have the players to deal with it in a sensible and controlled manner.

Final position verdict: 15th

Hull City (15th)

To cut a long story short, Hull have won the same amount of games in their previous two fixtures than they did up until Boxing Day, which from the start of the season is about four months.

Deadline day signing Dame N'Doye has brought a heap of quality to the KC Stadium and his goals have steered the Tigers in the right direction recently, most notably his last minute header against relegation rivals, Queens Park Rangers, on Saturday.

There is so much quality amongst the team in East Yorkshire and if they carry on playing in the way they have in their previous few games, they should be fine.

Final position verdict: 14th

Sunderland (16th)

Jermain Defoe is the only player who will save Sunderland's season in 2015. Since arriving from Toronto FC in January, the ex-England international has netted twice for the Black Cats and it is those goals that will divert them to safety.

I really can see Sunderland having several issues in front of goal other than Defoe. Adam Johnson and Connor Wickham are the only other main hopeful goalscoring candidates and until their form and confidence increases, they won't be celebrating too many strikes.

Sunderland are a team whose future status will hang in the balance until the final few games.

Final position verdict: 17th 

Queens Park Rangers (17th) 

Similar to Sunderland, QPR have one man only who they can rely on to keep their survival hopes alive. Charlie Austin scored his thirteenth goal of the season against Hull City on Saturday as he got his formidable form back on track.

However, there are a cluster of defensive troubles for manager Chris Ramsey and until they are sorted out, they will have to concentrate primarily on not conceding. 

There are big ties against Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Everton and Tottenham left to go for the Hoops, most of which are at home. Never the less, all of those sides have prolific strikers and as they have such a weak defence, they will find it difficult to pick up points.

Final position verdict: 19th

Burnley (18th)

They may not play the most appealing football in the league but they certainly like to show their teeth and definitely aren't afraid to take the game to even the biggest of teams, hence away points at Manchester City and Chelsea. 

Danny Ings, Ashley Barnes and George Boyd are doing a magnificent job in scoring the goals. On the other hand, the defenders are having major issues in relation to keeping the ball out of the back of the net. It is those conceded goals which I can see sinking the Clarets narrowly.

Final position verdict: 18th

Aston Villa (19th)

Scoring goals has been a worrying aspect of Villa's season. With only thirteen league goals, it goes without saying that there are major concerns but there is a little more confidence in the Midlands now that Tim Sherwood has replaced the shaky Paul Lambert in the manager's job.

I thoroughly admire Sherwood and thought he did a superb job at Tottenham Hotspur in the second half of the season last year and I expect him to steer Villa away from the danger ahead of the end of the campaign.

Final position verdict: 16th

Leicester City (20th)

One minute Leicester look to be destined for the drop, then the next they could be on the rise. As probably the most unpredictable team in the entire league it's hard to see what will fold out for Nigel Pearson's men until May, and with that in mind, I'm sticking with where they are at the moment.

Yes, there is spirit and yes, there is quality. So why aren't Leicester winning games? That's the question we're all asking and we're still waiting for an answer. They have been really unlucky all season and I can't see their fortunes becoming any brighter.

Final position verdict: 20th

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Leicester City
Crystal Palace
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West Bromwich Albion
Hull City
Aston Villa

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