The 2010/2011 season looks to have produced one of the tightest and most exciting relegation battles in Premier League history. With West Ham taking a spot early on last week we now have 2 relegation spots open with 5 teams in a position to fill them.
Blackburn, Wolves, Birmingham, Blackpool and Wigan are all in the running to claim relegation with two of the teams playing each other on the final day (Wolves and Blackburn).
So who’s likely to go down? and who deserves to go down?
The loser of the Wolves vs. Blackburn game is likely to go down , while if they draw they will rely on the other results going in their direction for both to stay up.
Blackpool and Birmingham have the toughest opposition in Man Utd and Spurs respectively. Despite ramblings from Mr Ferguson, it is likely that Utd will field a slightly weakened team against Blackpool. However, it seems probable that the Seasiders will still find them too much to try and force a win against. I do feel that Birmingham have a real chance against Tottenham who are themselves still fighting for a Europa League place. I can see this game ending as a draw or possibly some sort of high scoring thriller (despite Birmingham’s perceived defensive nature).
Wigan play Stoke, another game in which I can see the relegation threatened team getting a result. Stoke have nothing to play for this season and already have a Europa League place settled from the FA cup final. Wigan can play some attractive attacking football which may put them in good stead against the physical Stoke tactics, however their defence has always been questionable and may be overpowered by Stoke’s practised set piece routines.
In the Wolves vs. Blackburn game, I can see a draw as a likely possibility with Blackburn the most likely to gain a result. Wolves have been very inconsistent this season, while beating teams like Chelsea, Liverpool and Utd they have had trouble against teams lower down the table.
In conclusion, I can see the likely result being that Blackpool are relegated along with Wigan with the positions in the table remaining pretty much unchanged. I would like to see Blackpool in the Premier League next season (despite their double over Liverpool) as they have the ability to take points from big teams and make for high scoring games. My preference would be for Blackburn to take their place as I feel that Blackburn are too predictable and never look that likely to take points from the big teams, which makes the league more predictable.
All in all it makes for an exciting day football despite most of my focus being on the Villa vs. Liverpool game.