Premier League relegation: Who will go down?

By Tom RostanceBBC Sport

Ten games left, 30 points to play for, three teams to go down. How will one of the tightest relegation fights in recent Premier League history pan out?

In the past five seasons three teams in the relegation zone at this stage of the season have survived, so all is not lost for West Brom, Stoke and Swansea.

On average, the number of points to guarantee survival in the previous 22 seasons is 36.6.

Taking 37 points as the safety mark, we look at the 13 teams below that mark and, with the help of super-computer SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) - created by @ProfIanMcHale at the University of Liverpool - predict the final Premier League table.

You can also predict your own final table at the bottom.


West Brom - 20th in table, 20 points

West Brom

Consecutive seasons in the Premier League: 8; Highest Premier League finish: 8th (2012-13)

Who have they got left to play?

Watford (a), Leicester (h), Bournemouth (a), Burnley (h), Swansea (h), Manchester United (a), Liverpool (h), Newcastle (a), Tottenham (h), Crystal Palace (a)

Top scorers: Jay Rodriguez, Salomon Rondon (4)

Managers this season: Tony Pulis (10 points from 12 games), Gary Megson (caretaker, two points from two games), Alan Pardew (eight points from 14 games)

What do they need to reach 37 points?

A miracle? A haul of 17 points from their remaining 10 games is looking unlikely at best for Albion, who have won once since August. Where are at least five wins going to come from? File home games against Burnley and Swansea under 'must-win.'

Why are they in trouble?

Where to start? Albion have won only three games all season, with the change in manager spectacularly failing to have the required effect. No team has had more 0-0 draws than their four, and only Swansea have scored fewer goals than West Brom's 22.

To top it off, the chairman and chief executive were sacked last month, and then days later four senior players were interviewed by police after allegedly stealing a taxi outside a fast-food restaurant in Barcelona.

Why are they staying up?

They're not.

OK, let's try and stay positive. There are no more trips to Barcelona in the diary, only three of their remaining 10 games are against teams in the top six, and Albion did pull off the 'Great Escape' once before.

In 2005 West Brom were bottom at Christmas, and bottom of the table at kick-off on the final day. But they stayed up - despite winning only six games all season.

BBC commentator Jonathan Pearce: "The club is in disarray. Tony Pulis should not have been sacked. The board should have invested heavily last summer. I hope Alan Pardew can bring them back up straight away but that'll be a massive task."

SAM predicted finish: 20th with 32 points


Stoke - 19th in table, 26 points


Consecutive seasons in the Premier League: 10; Highest Premier League finish: 9th (2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16)

Who have they got left to play?

Southampton (a), Manchester City (h), Everton (h), Arsenal (a), Tottenham (h), West Ham (a), Burnley (h), Liverpool (a), Crystal Palace (h), Swansea (a)

Top scorer: Xherdan Shaqiri (7)

Managers this season: Mark Hughes (20 points from 22 games), Eddie Niedzwiecki (caretaker, no points from one game), Paul Lambert (six points from five games)

What do they need to reach 37 points?

Four wins may not sound like a big ask for manager Paul Lambert, but Stoke have managed only six all season. Five have come at home, and the visits of Burnley, Crystal Palace and Everton will be highlighted in Lambert's office. After that, a final-day showdown at Swansea?

Why are they in trouble?

The Potters have been a mess at the back. No team has conceded more goals (54) or kept fewer clean sheets (four) - and that's despite Butland and Lee Grant making more saves (104) than goalkeepers of any other team. A league-worst haul of seven points on the road has also been decisive.

Why are they staying up?

In Xherdan Shaqiri, Jack Butland and Joe Allen, Stoke may possess a spine of enough experience and quality to see them over the line. Shaqiri scored a hat-trick at the last World Cup and could enter another for Switzerland in peak form - he has scored three goals and supplied an assist in Lambert's five games.

BBC commentator Jonathan Pearce: "They are entering a tough run of six games. There aren't enough young legs in the squad. Shaqiri can't keep coming up with 'worldies'. I can only see two more wins and, if they have to win at Swansea on the last day to stay up, they'll be in the Championship."

SAM predicted finish: 19th with 38 points.


Swansea - 18th in table, 27 points


Consecutive seasons in the Premier League: 7; Highest Premier League finish: 8th (2014-15)

Who have they got left to play?

West Ham (h), Huddersfield (a), Southampton (h), Manchester United (a), West Brom (a), Everton (h), Manchester City (a), Chelsea (h), Bournemouth (a), Stoke (h)

Top scorer: Jordan Ayew (5)

Managers this season: Paul Clement (12 points from 18 games), Leon Britton (caretaker, one point from two games), Carlos Carvalhal (14 points from eight games)

What do they need to reach 37 points?

Another 10 points from their last 10 games. Sound doable? On current form, you'd have to fancy their chances, although trips to both Manchester clubs and the visit of Chelsea won't help. That last-day clash with Stoke could be a huge one.

Why are they in trouble?

Don't shoot, don't score. Swansea have scored the fewest goals (21), had the fewest shots (238) and shots on target (64) all season. Can they suddenly find a way to be a threat? Maybe bad luck has played a part too. Jordan Ayew may be the Swans' top scorer with five goals but he has also hit the woodwork four times. Only Kevin de Bruyne and Harry Kane can better that.

Why are they staying up?

Carvalhal was a left-field appointment to replace Clement, but credit where credit's due - he has made a difference.

As well as the many food-related anecdotes he has served up, the Portuguese has steered the Swans to four wins in his opening eight games to give them a chance of extending their stay in the top flight.

If they stay up, perhaps Lukasz Fabianski should be due some thanks. He has made the most saves in the Premier League (101), but Swansea have only conceded the 12th most goals (41).

BBC commentator Jonathan Pearce: "The manager is bubbly. He has brought an upwardly mobile feel to the club. But for how long? A final-day win over Stoke should see them finally safe."

SAM predicted finish: 18th with 38 points.


Crystal Palace - 17th in table, 27 points

Crystal Palace

Consecutive seasons in the Premier League: 5; Highest Premier League finish: 10th (2014-15)

Who have they got left to play?

Manchester United (h), Chelsea (a), Huddersfield (a), Liverpool (h), Bournemouth (a), Brighton (h), Watford (a), Leicester (h), Stoke (a), West Brom (h)

Top scorer: Luka Milivojevic (7)

Managers this season: Frank de Boer (no points from four games), Roy Hodgson (27 points from 24 games)

What do they need to reach 37 points?

Like Swansea, Palace need another 10 points for Roy Hodgson to complete his salvage operation. A tricky looking run of games won't do them any favours, though, with home games against Brighton, Leicester and West Brom possibly holding the key.

Why are they in trouble?

A dreadful start under Frank de Boer left Palace playing catch-up, while striker Christian Benteke scoring only twice has not helped. Add in a bad recent run of no wins from five games and you can see why Palace have hit the skids.

Why are they staying up?

At the age of 70, Hodgson is well on his way to proving his critics wrong. Inheriting a team with no points and no goals, he has given the Eagles a fighting chance of survival going into the home straight. Wilfried Zaha has been crucial - his 167 dribbles put him top of the Premier League list - while Luka Milivojevic's accuracy from the spot makes him an unlikely goal hero.

BBC senior football reporter Ian Dennis: "Considering Palace's abysmal start - they were pointless and goalless after their opening seven games - Roy Hodgson has worked wonders to even give them a lifeline of Premier League survival.

"Hodgson has always maintained there is a hard work ahead. They may dip back into the bottom three but with their vociferous home support the best atmosphere in the top flight, they will bounce back out before May."

BBC commentator Jonathan Pearce: "Too many injuries, especially to Wilfried Zaha, could kill their chances of staying up. Roy Hodgson did it with Fulham and he can do it again. A final-day win against old manager Alan Pardew might come in the nick of time but the fans deserve better than this."

SAM predicted finish: 17th with 39 points.


Southampton - 16th in table, 27 points


Consecutive seasons in the Premier League: 6; Highest Premier League finish: 6th (2015-16)

Who have they got left to play?

Stoke (h), Newcastle (a), Swansea (a), West Ham (a), Arsenal (a), Chelsea (h), Leicester (a), Bournemouth (h), Everton (a), Manchester City (h)

Top scorer: Charlie Austin (6)

Manager this season: Mauricio Pellegrino

What do they need to reach 37 points?

Another club 10 points away from the predicted safety mark. Three wins and a draw required, ideally before the final-day visit of the champions elect. Southampton's home form has been terrible but this weekend's visit of Stoke is already looking like a big game.

Why are they in trouble?

Was sacking Claude Puel a bad call? Southampton finished eighth last season and reached the League Cup final. Pellegrino has not really caught the imagination of Saints fans, who have seen only three home wins all season. Only West Brom have a worse home record.

Southampton lost defender Virgil van Dijk to Liverpool in January but it is at the other end where you can point the finger. Only the top six have created more chances than Saints' 264, but they have scored only 29 goals. Top scorer Charlie Austin has started five league games.

Why are they staying up?

If your home form's a mess you need to pick points up on the road, and Southampton have the 12th best away record in the division. Dusan Tadic has created more chances than David Silva this season but is another who can perhaps look at his strikeforce...

BBC commentator Jonathan Pearce: "If they lose all four of their coming away matches at Newcastle, West Ham, Arsenal and Leicester, they'll go down. They might have to hope Manchester City have the Champions League final in mind when it comes to the last game at St Mary's. There aren't enough goals in the side."

SAM predicted finish: 16th with 39 points.


Newcastle - 15th in table, 29 points


First season back in the Premier League.

Highest Premier League finish: 2nd (1995-96, 1996-97)

Who have they got left to play?

Liverpool (a), Southampton (h), Tottenham (a), Huddersfield (h), Leicester (a), Arsenal (h), Everton (a), West Brom (h), Watford (a), Chelsea (h)

Top scorer: Dwight Gayle (5)

Manager this season: Rafael Benitez

What do they need to reach 37 points?

Three more wins should do it for Newcastle, and home games against Southampton, Huddersfield and West Brom look like arguably their best hopes. The Magpies have scored only 12 goals at home all season, though.

Why are they in trouble?

Benitez guided Newcastle to the Championship title last season - and he has still got the same team. Eight of the XI who started the 2-2 draw against Bournemouth last weekend were key parts of the promotion-winning side. Continuity is good, but there's been a definite lack of investment.

Like all teams in the mix, goals have been hard to find. 13 different players have scored in the league but Newcastle have managed only 27 goals in 28 games.

Why are they staying up?

If they stay up Rafael Benitez will get even more credit in the bank. Despite the club being up for sale and January loan signing Islam Slimani injured, Benitez has crafted a four-match unbeaten run at a key time.

BBC chief football correspondent John Murray: "It's entirely possible we will look back on their home win against Manchester United this month and say that was the difference between staying up and going down. Staying up for Newcastle would be an achievement in itself after another season of uncertainty over the future direction and ownership of the club."

SAM predicted finish: 14th with 41 points.


Huddersfield - 14th in table, 30 points

Huddersfield badge

First season in the Premier League.

Who have they got left to play?

Tottenham (a), Swansea (h), Crystal Palace (h), Newcastle (a), Brighton (a), Watford (h), Chelsea (a), Everton (h), Manchester City (a), Arsenal (h)

Top scorer: Steve Mounie (6)

Manager this season: David Wagner

What do they need to reach 37 points?

Two wins and a draw will do it for Town and you would imagine their fans would have taken that at this stage of their first season in the top flight since 1972. Back-to-back home games against Swansea and Crystal Palace could all but secure safety by mid-March...

Why are they in trouble?

At times this season Town have stepped away from their high-energy high pressing game and offered little resistance in heavy defeats to Tottenham and Liverpool. Goals have been a problem, and only Everton and Swansea have created fewer chances from open play.

Why are they staying up?

David Wagner has to take a lot of credit in transforming the club's fortunes since he took over in November 2015. Anyone who has been to a game in the past two seasons can testify to the passion and connection with the fans he has installed - and, in Aaron Mooy, Jonas Lossl and Steve Mounie, his big signings have largely delivered.

BBC chief football correspondent John Murray: "Huddersfield are the least likely of the three promoted sides to stave off relegation. After their memorable start, they have slipped into danger over the winter months. But I sense their response to that is they are prepared to give it a real go for 'death or glory' and it might just come off."

BBC commentator Jonathan Pearce: "I can see them beating Arsenal at home amid dramatic final-day scenes to stay up. I'd like to see that. It would be a romantic story in a functional age. The John Smith's roar can keep them up."

SAM predicted finish: 15th with 40 points.


West Ham - 13th in table, 30 points

West Ham

Consecutive seasons in the Premier League: 6; Highest Premier League finish: 5th (1998-99)

Who have they got left to play?

Swansea (a), Burnley (h), Southampton (h), Chelsea (a), Stoke (h), Arsenal (a), Manchester City (a), Leicester (a), Everton (h)

Top scorers: Marko Arnautovic, Javier Hernandez (7)

Managers this season: Slaven Bilic (nine points from 11 games), David Moyes (21 points from 17 games)

What do they need to reach 37 points?

Another side looking for two wins and a draw from their final 10 games, and David Moyes will fancy ticking those off in the next three games before facing Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City.

Why are they in trouble?

The Hammers have shipped 50 goals - only Stoke have let in more. Joe Hart lost his place in goal as a result, and surely a starting berth at the World Cup along with it.

Why are they staying up?

Appointing David Moyes looked cautious at best in November but, after a slow start the Hammers, have won five and lost three of the past 13 games. He has got the best out of Marko Arnautovic, even if the jury is out on his January transfer business. Scare stories about their home form are wide of the mark - the Hammers are 11th in the table at home.

SAM predicted finish: 13th with 42 points.


Brighton - 12th in table, 31 points


First season in the Premier League

Who have they got left to play?

Arsenal (h), Everton (a), Leicester (h), Huddersfield (h), Crystal Palace (a), Tottenham (h), Burnley (a), Manchester United (h), Manchester City (a), Liverpool (a)

Top scorer: Glenn Murray (10)

Manager this season: Chris Hughton

What do they need to reach 37 points?

Two wins will do it for Brighton - a fine effort in their first season at this level since 1983. They still have to face five of the top six in their run-in, though.

Why are they in trouble?

Facing Tottenham, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal in their last 10 games means that it could be a tense finale to the season if they can't pick up the points they need soon. They have an FA Cup quarter-final to fit in as well.

Why are they staying up?

Who would have thought that Glenn Murray would have the same number of Premier League goals as Alvaro Morata? The veteran has been a revelation, especially as his goals have come from only 37 shots - fewer than Jordon Ibe, Thomas Ince and Andros Townsend.

Summer signing Pascal Gross has also had an excellent campaign - he has created 63 chances and has seven assists. Only Kevin de Bruyne, Mesut Ozil, Christian Eriksen and Cesc Fabregas have created more chances.

To complete a trio of individual standouts, centre-back Lewis Dunk has a league-high 45 blocks. Let's not mention a league-high four own goals.

BBC commentator Jonathan Pearce: "They're on a good run. They're the most solid-looking side down there and they have been boosted by the strikeforce they should be OK. Jurgen Locadia and Leonardo Ulloa were really astute signings. There's a sting in the tail to come in the last four games but if they beat Leicester and Huddersfield at home they should have enough. The manager has done a brilliant job. No-one gave them a chance."

SAM predicted finish: 12th with 43 points.


Bournemouth - 11th in table, 32 points


Consecutive seasons in the Premier League: 3; Highest Premier League finish: 9th (2016-17)

Who have they got left to play?

Leicester (a), Tottenham (h), West Brom (h), Watford (a), Crystal Palace (h), Liverpool (a), Manchester United (h), Southampton (a), Swansea (h), Burnley (a)

Top scorer: Callum Wilson (7)

Manager this season: Eddie Howe

What do they need to reach 37 points?

A win and two draws, or two wins, should see Howe's side safe for another season.

Why are they in trouble?

They have kept only five clean sheets all season, with goalkeeper Asmir Begovic making four mistakes leading to goals - only Petr Cech has the same unwanted record.

Why are they staying up?

It was a bleak Christmas in Bournemouth after they were thrashed 4-0 by Manchester City to leave them in the relegation zone. Since then the Cherries have lost only once in the league - a season-saving run of form? They have been clinical when they needed to be, losing two of 14 matches against teams currently below them in the table.

SAM predicted finish: 11th with 43 points.


Watford - 10th in table, 33 points


Consecutive seasons in the Premier League: 3; Highest Premier League finish: 13th (2015-16)

Who have they got left to play?

West Brom (h), Arsenal (a), Liverpool (a), Bournemouth (h), Burnley (h), Huddersfield (a), Crystal Palace (h), Tottenham (a), Newcastle (h), Manchester United (a)

Top scorer: Abdoulaye Doucoure (7)

Managers this season: Marco Silva (26 points from 24 games), Javi Gracia (seven points from four games)

What do they need to reach 37 points?

A win and a draw in their last 10 games should be enough for the Hornets, and Javi Gracia will have marked his next three home games as ideal to steer his side over the line.

Why are they in trouble?

With trips to Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United to come, points on the road may well be scarce. But it would take some capitulation from here to go down.

Why are they staying up?

They appointed Marco Silva to much fanfare, then binned him to even more fanfare mid-season. Despite the disruption blamed on Everton's courtship of Silva, it looks like being another season of consolidation and maybe even a highest league finish since 1987.

Abdoulaye Doucoure must be a shoo-in for player of the year at Vicarage Road. He has scored seven times from only 12 shots on target, and has played 1,699 passes - the 11th most in the league and the most by any player outside the top six teams.

SAM predicted finish: 10th with 45 points.


Everton - 9th in table, 34 points


Consecutive seasons in the Premier League: 26 (top flight since 1954-55); Highest Premier League finish: 4th (2004-05)

Who have they got left to play?

Burnley (a), Brighton (h), Stoke (a), Manchester City (h), Liverpool (h), Swansea (a), Newcastle (h), Huddersfield (a), Southampton (h), West Ham (a)

Top scorer: Wayne Rooney (10)

Managers this season: Ronald Koeman (eight points from nine games), David Unsworth (caretaker, seven points from five games), Sam Allardyce (19 points from 14 games).

What do they need to reach 37 points?

One more win should be enough for Everton to stay up - and in their current form that's probably just as well. Sam Allardyce has won once away from home since taking charge and the Toffees were dreadful in losing at Watford last weekend.

Why are they in trouble?

They sold striker Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United for £75m and never really replaced him. Their recruitment drive looks muddled at best, with more than £175m being spent and some players already looking like misfits.

Davy Klaassen, Cenk Tosun and Sandro Ramirez have started eight league games between them without scoring. Allardyce has steadied the ship to a certain extent but is he the man for the long term?

Why are they staying up?

A seven-match unbeaten run either side of Christmas put any real relegation fears to bed at Everton. They have failed to reach 50 points only three times in the past 15 seasons - can they manage that?

Predicted finish: 9th with 48 points.


Leicester City - 8th in table, 36 points

Leicester City

Consecutive seasons in the Premier League: 4; Highest Premier League finish: Champions (2015-16)

Who have they got left to play?

Bournemouth (h), West Brom (a), Brighton (a), Newcastle (h), Burnley (a), Southampton (h), Crystal Palace (a), West Ham (h), Tottenham (a)

Top scorer: Jamie Vardy (13)

Managers this season: Craig Shakespeare (six points from eight games), Michael Appleton (caretaker, three points from one game), Claude Puel (27 points from 19 games)

What do they need to reach 37 points? A draw is likely to be enough for Claude Puel's side and they will have their eyes set on at least a seventh-placed finish rather than a fight against the drop. Leicester were bottom at this stage of the season in 2015 but won a remarkable seven of their last 10 games to finish 14th.

SAM predicted finish: 7th with 50 points.


Professor Ian McHale and Dr Tarak Kharrat at the University of Liverpool created SAM, which predicts the outcome of football matches based on results, teams, players and every event in every match, and then simulates sequences of games.

Here's SAM's prediction for the Premier League bottom six.

Predicted final table
BBC Sport asked super-computer SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) to predict the final Premier League table.

Your bottom three

As of 17:00 GMT on Friday, 2 March...

Thousands of you have had your say and this is how you think the bottom three will finish:

  • 20th: West Brom - 92.78% of votes
  • 19th: Stoke - 49.67%
  • 18th: Swansea - 24.93%

However, Swansea also had 24.5% of votes saying they will finish in 17th place, just outside the relegation zone, followed by 20.20% with Crystal Palace.

At the other end of the table, a whopping 97.21% feel Manchester City will go on to claim the title, while it was a close-run race for second position, as 46.31% feel Manchester United will end there, while 44.08% think Liverpool will come as runners-up.

Pick your final Premier League table

Pick how you think it will look in May, placing all 20 teams in order. Have a go then share with your friends.


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