This is how it ends...
With nine rounds left to go in the Premier League, we’ve got to the point where you don’t need to bother watching them all.
That’s because we’ve combed through the remaining fixtures to predict exactly what’s going to happen before it does, saving you the trouble. You’re welcome...
20. Huddersfield – 16 points
Huddersfield have spent most of the season looking destined for the drop and it’s difficult to see any way back for them in the closing stages. After all, they can’t play Wolves – who've accounted for 43% of their points – every week.
We’ve got them down as picking up two more draws and losing the rest, which will see them tumble back to the Championship without a trace.
19. Fulham – 19 points
The campaign began with so much optimism, but pretty much every decision made since then has been a disaster.
The Cottagers have been so awful that we reckon they’ll only get two more points – fewer than they've had managers this term – before the end of the season against Newcastle and Cardiff. But even that might be generous.
18. Cardiff – 33 points
It seems almost cruel to say the Bluebirds are going down after such a difficult campaign, but our predictions say they just about will.
Wins over West Ham and Crystal Palace won’t be enough to save Neil Warnock’s men, with the rest of their schedule proving too challenging to rescue them.
17. Southampton – 35 points
After an impressive honeymoon period under Ralph Hasenhuttl, Saints have stuttered and their fate could go down to the wire.
We’re predicting that they get just one point in their next seven matches, but that wins over Bournemouth and Huddersfield, plus a draw with West Ham, will ensure safety.
16. Brighton – 35 points
There was a time when racking up just 35 points would’ve guaranteed relegation, but, as was the case in the last two campaigns, it should be enough this term.
According to our projections, the Seagulls will only get one more win, but they’ll record enough draws to stay in the top flight.
15. Crystal Palace – 39 points
It's been a frustrating season for Palace which has never really got into second gear, and we can’t see that changing too much. Some home wins are to be expected, against Bournemouth and Cardiff for example, but not much else.
Then the annual transfer circus around Wilfried Zaha can get going once again...
14. Burnley – 41 points
Burnley started the season in terrible shape, but have found their feet again lately and Sean Dyche’s men now look set for a comfortable relegation dodge.
We might have even been a little negative with our outlook on their remaining games.
We’ve got them taking points off Leicester and Everton, but they should trouble some of the league’s bigger fish too.
13. Bournemouth – 42 points
Bournemouth are a strange team, as capable of superb displays as they are of truly dreadful ones.
The Cherries haven’t picked up a single away point since beating Fulham in October, losing nine in a row, so we’ve got them taking just one more at Huddersfield. Their troubles on the road explain why they won’t make it into the top half.
12. Newcastle – 42 points
Rafa Benitez doesn’t just see the glass as half-empty, but also chipped and full of bleach. And that's fair enough, really, when you have to work under the merciless scrooge that is Mike Ashley.
The pessimistic Spaniard said before Christmas that his team needed a miracle to avoid relegation, but they have since been revived and should get close to the top half.
11. Everton – 44 points
Marco Silva was supposed to take Everton to the next level, but things haven’t quite turned out that way in his debut season.
To illustrate that fact, we’re predicting their worst league finish for 15 years after the Toffees drop more points against West Ham, Burnley and Crystal Palace.
10. West Ham – 45 points
Although Manuel Pellegrini didn’t get off to the best of starts at West Ham, the return of Manuel Lanzini should give his side a boost going into the final few weeks.
We reckon they’ll drop some careless points and could even be one of the teams that Cardiff manage to overcome – but they should manage to maintain a top-half finish, which would be a commendable achievement.
9. Leicester – 49 points
Leicester were smart to bring in Brendan Rodgers now rather than wait until the end of the season. The squad appears to be tailor-made for the Northern Irishman, with lots of exciting young talents capable of playing technical football.
They’ve also got a decent run of fixtures until their final three games, and we think that should be enough to take them into the top half and leave things looking rosy for next season.
8. Watford – 55 points
Javi Gracia’s reign looks to have ended Watford’s endless managerial merry-go-round, and no wonder.
Eighth place would be their highest top-flight finish since finishing second in 1983 and, although we are expecting a slip-up against Wolves in their April big 'un, they’ll be content with their lot.
7. Wolves – 56 points
It’s been a superb season for Wolves, despite a recent wobble, and they should hold onto 7th spot between now and the end of the season with the enviable squad depth at Nuno's disposal.
They have a pretty friendly run-in and we’ve got them down as triumphing in their ‘best of the rest’ clash with Watford at the end of April.
6. Arsenal – 75 points
It’s hard to review Arsenal’s season right now. Although they could be out of the Champions League for another year, they’re under a new coach and rebuilding their squad – so perhaps it could have gone worse?
The Gunners are knocking on the door for a top-four finish, but we can’t see them staying there: a loss Manchester United is coming up, as well as points being surrendered to Leicester and Watford.
5. Chelsea – 76 points
It’s not exactly a case of crisis averted, because Chelsea will fail to make the Champions League for a second consecutive season for the first time in Roman Abramovich’s tenure.
We foresee some draws ahead, notably against Everton and Wolves, and think they’ll suffer defeats away to Liverpool and Manchester United. Sorry, Blues.
4. Manchester United – 80 points
Solskjaer is at the wheel of a juggernaut right now and it’s hard to see Manchester United dropping too many more points even with half of their forward line on the treatment table.
They face tough tests against known giant-slayers Wolves and away to Manchester City, but they’ll manage to pull off what Jose Mourinho described as a ‘miracle’ by reaching the Champions League.
To be fair, if the Portuguese was still in charge, it would have been.
3. Tottenham – 83 points
Losing three games in a row doesn’t make Tottenham bottlers, it’s just what happens when you don’t buy any players in an entire season.
Third place is a commendable outcome and their reasonably friendly schedule should mean they only drop points against the teams above them, Liverpool and Manchester City, from here. *Should*...
2. Liverpool – 95 points
It won’t be a disgrace to miss out on the title to this Manchester City team, but maybe don’t say that to a weeping Liverpool fan at the end of the campaign.
They've just dropped two points against Everton and probably will do again against Tottenham, which isn’t much but should be enough for Pep Guardiola’s side to leapfrog them.
It will comfortably be the most points a runner-up has accumulated since the introduction of three points for a win.
1. Manchester City – 98 points
City might not be playing at their very highest level right now, but they have a dead-eyed 'Terminator' vibe about them that makes them look almost unstoppable.
That’s what they’ll need to be to overcome this superb Liverpool side, and there’s no reason to think they won’t go the rest of the season without dropping any points.
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