Here we go folks. Yesterday Mark gave you a round-up of results for all the teams in the relegation battle. Today I am going to give you all of the scenarios going forward, and more than a few predictions.
Bolton Wanderers are 18th at the moment, behind 17th-placed QPR on goal difference, but level on points at 34. We have a tough match against Spurs on Wednesday. Then West Bromwich Albion at home, which I think we can get three points from. We finish at Stoke City. I can easily see a draw there. Four points from the final 3 matches would put us on 38 for the season. Below the magical forty-point threshold, but possibly enough to stay up. What do the other clubs face on the run-in? Keep reading to find out.
Aston Villa currently sit 15th on 37 points. Their next match is against Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs looked rampant against Blackburn yesterday. Depending on your point-of-view, they are finding form at exactly the right time (their view) or exactly the wrong time (our view). I hate to say it, but if we are brutally honest, neither Villa nor Bolton look likely to get anything against Spurs. Villa end at Norwich City. The canaries will be in a great mood, their fans will be in full voice, and it will be a real party atmosphere. Aston Villa will be fighting for their lives. I see it as a draw. That would see Villa finishing on 38 points.
Wigan Athletic have done it again. They have stepped up their performances late in the season, after most pundits had left them for dead. They sit 16th, on 37 points. They tore Newcastle apart on Saturday. And they have the easiest run-in, at least on paper. I know it is a Lancashire derby against Blackburn. We can say throw the form book out the window, etc., but it is hard to see anything other than a Wigan victory. That would be followed by a party-atmosphere against Wolves on the final day of the season, and another win for Roberto Martinez. 43 points for Wigan.
Queens Park Rangers, 17th with 34 points, have Stoke City to deal with this coming weekend. Despite their comfortable mid-table position, it is hard to imagine Tony Pullis' boys running out the string without a fight. They certainly showed up against Arsenal. I think that is a draw. And I think Manchester City are going to rip them in two on the final Sunday. That would leave QPR on 35 points.
Blackburn Rovers are 19th with 31 points. They looked gone against Spurs. It's hard to see them getting anything against Wigan. On the final day, Chelsea could be indifferent, looking ahead to the Champions League Final. On the other hand, this Chelsea team seems to really turn on the style when the pressure is off. Either way, there is such a talent gap that the best Blackburn can hope for is a draw. That would put them on 32 points.
If all this happens, the table would look like this:
15th: Wigan - 43 points
16th: Aston Villa - 38 points
17th: Bolton - 38 points
18th: QPR - 35 points
19th: Blackburn - 32 points
20th Wolves - 23 points
It ain't pretty, but it gets the job done. All we care about at this point is another season of top-flight football. I think we will do it. What do you think, dear readers?