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Opinion

The relegation battle is the most exciting part of the EPL restart

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Roar Rookie
13th May, 2020
7

The Premier League’s return date is June 1, and the race for the title is not as interesting as the race to survive relegation.

At this stage, matches will be played behind closed doors, following in the footsteps of the Korean K League, which resumed last Friday.

With at least nine games left to play in the Premier League season, the bottom teams have everything to play for.

Four points separate second-bottom team Aston Villa and Brighton, who sit in 15th spot.

Brighton, West Ham, Watford, Bournemouth and Aston Villa all need crucial wins to get above each other to stay in the EPL for another season.

Brighton have the toughest run home, facing leaders Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United. These clubs are all in the top five. They have winnable games against Arsenal and Newcastle.

Mathew Ryan

Socceroos keeper Mat Ryan is in a relegation scrap with Brighton. (Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United)

Bournemouth have winnable games against Southampton, Newcastle and Crystal Palace. They also have to face Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City.

Aston Villa have a tough challenge ahead of them. They have to win or draw at least three or four of their remaining ten games. They face Manchester United, Chelsea, Wolves, Crystal Palace, Arsenal and Sheffield United. Manchester United and Chelsea will be hard to beat. If they can draw those games or keep it low-scoring, that will help going forward.

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Watford have four potential wins ahead of them before the season’s end. Those games are against Norwich, Southampton, West Ham and Newcastle. They also face Manchester City and Leicester, who will be tough for them to beat.

West Ham have one of the easier run homes out of the bottom teams. They face Burnley, Watford and Aston Villa. They are all potential wins. They also face Wolves and Chelsea, which can be a challenge, and draws out of those games will help come season’s end.

At this stage, the bottom six are Brighton (on 29 points), West Ham (27), Watford (27), Bournemouth (27), Aston Villa (25) and Norwich (21).

I don’t think much will change if play resumes. All clubs have a tough road ahead not only to return but to win games.

Surviving in the Premier League is worth in excess of $A150 million to clubs.

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The idea of matches being completed at neutral venues has been floated but not all teams are in agreement.

Will Bournemouth survive relegation? Or will Watford end the season the way they started, at the bottom, and be relegated?