The 2010/11 Barclay’s Premier League has been the most nail biting season for many a fan, not least those of the potential relegation clubs. Manchester United’s 1-1 draw against Blackburn gave them their 19th Premier League title, whilst West Ham’s 2-3 loss against Wigan spelled relegation for the Hammers. Now, with only one game left, the fates of this season’s potential relegation teams could be decided by a single result.
But who are these teams? Apart from already relegated West Ham, Wigan, Blackpool, Birmingham and Wolves could all still enter the drop zone. For many fans (myself included) it has taken several ponderous moments working out how each team could become relegated. For those who have yet to work it out, I will explain. Wigan and Blackpool are the most likely candidates for the drop, but goal difference could change the outcome.
Wigan can only escape if, they beat or draw against Stoke, and both Blackpool and Birmingham lose. If all three teams lose, Wigan will need to knock three goals of their goal difference, putting them one ahead of Birmingham’s current -20. So for example, if Wigan beat Stoke 2-0, Birmingham would only have to lose by one goal against Tottenham. If Wigan draw with Blackpool or Birmingham on goal difference they will remain in the relegation zone as they have scored fewer goals.
Blackpool are also in a similar position, but it is made slightly more easy by their goals for amount. Blackpool may not have to beat Manchester United for them to become safe. Blackpool need to score one goal more than Birmingham for there difference to be level, meaning they will escape on the goals scored figure. If Blackpool manage to draw or even won against Man United, they could rise above Birmingham, if Tottenham see them off.
On the other hand, Wolves can only drop back it to the relegation zone if they are defeated by Blackburn by at four goals, and either Blackpool or Wigan draw. Alternatively, if Wolves lose by at least three and Blackpool or Wigan win, Wolves will find themselves relegated.
A lot will depend on Stoke, Tottenham and Manchester United in deciding these teams’ fates. Tottenham still have 5th place to secure, entitling them to a Europe place, which may see them really go at Birmingham. Manchester United have nothing to play for, and will be resting many of their best players in preparation for the Champions League Final, giving Blackpool some hope of attaining points. Stoke have nothing to play for, which may see an unexpected win for Wigan.