The Premier League is back this week and at least seven clubs will resume their bid to retain top-flight status.
Here, the PA news agency takes a quick look at the run-in for those involved in the relegation battle.
Newcastle – played 29, points 31
Newcastle have been transformed under Eddie Howe and – despite back-to-back defeats – appear likely to become the first team to avoid the drop after failing to win any of their first 14 matches. A tough trip to Tottenham is followed by three successive home games and, after a trip to bottom club Norwich, they face Liverpool, Manchester City and then Arsenal before visiting relegation-rivals Burnley on the final day.
Brentford – played 30, points 30
Recent back-to-back wins put the brakes on Brentford’s slide as they look to extend their stay in the Premier League beyond one season. They return to action at Chelsea and then play West Ham before a trip to fellow strugglers Watford. They must also play Tottenham and Manchester United and if the clubs below them keep picking up points, the Bees’ survival could hinge on dogfights against Everton (away) and Leeds (home) in their last two games.
Leeds – played 30, points 29
Stoppage-time winners in both their last two matches have given Leeds a huge lift, but they have plenty still to do under new head coach Jesse Marsch. Their next two matches against Southampton (home) and Watford (away) could prove pivotal. They might not need to hit the magical 40-point mark, but with fixtures against Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal still to come they cannot afford to lose hard-earned momentum.
Everton – played 27, points 25
Everton would be one of the Premier League’s biggest-ever casualties if they were to lose top-flight status for the first time since 1951 and since Frank Lampard’s arrival, it has not gone to plan, with five defeats in seven league games. The Toffees have games in hand, but face arguably the toughest run-in as fixtures against West Ham, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea lie in wait before a last-day trip to Champions League-chasing Arsenal.
Watford – played 29, points 22
It looks bleak for third-bottom Watford, but victory at Southampton in their last match has given them hope. While five of their remaining games are at home – including visits from relegation-rivals Leeds, Brentford and Burnley – they have lost their last eight at Vicarage Road and in their four remaining away fixtures, Roy Hodgson’s side face Liverpool, Manchester City and Crystal Palace before a last-day trip to Chelsea.
Burnley – played 27, points 21
Burnley return to action against Manchester City and their chances of avoiding the drop may hinge on the following back-to-back games against Everton (home) and Norwich (away). The Clarets, who have won only three times in the Premier League this season, have pulled through in worse situations, but must collect points from their games in hand. Sean Dyche’s survival skills are going to be sorely tested.
Norwich – played 29, points 17
Most Canaries fans have accepted the inevitable – their side are eight points from safety with nine games left – but will be hoping Dean Smith’s side will go down fighting. They showed spirit to force a late equaliser at Leeds in their last match, but the home side’s stoppage-time winner was a crushing blow. It condemned Norwich to a sixth-straight league defeat for the third time this season and supporters can only hope the campaign does not end in a whimper.
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