The financial implications of relegation from the Premier League are unthinkable in any regular season, let alone in the pandemic times of 2021.
Sheffield United and West Bromwich Albion look more or less doomed in their quest to stay in the top-flight, meaning that one other team must join them in the Championship next season.
Fulham and Newcastle are the two sides in the most jeopardy of facing that reality with less than ten games to play in the 2020-21 campaign.
- 04 Apr: Aston Villa (A)
- 09 Apr: Wolves (H)
- 17 Apr: Arsenal (A)
- 01 May: Chelsea (A)
- 08 May: Burnley (H)
- 12 May: Southampton (A)
- 15 May: Man United (A)
- 23 May: Newcastle (H)
For all of their defensive improvements, the Cottagers have still won just once in their last five top-flight outings (at Anfield of all places), and they’ve failed to score in three matches in that sequence.
Finding a secure and reliable source of goals in their remaining eight games will likely be the difference between survival and relegation. Utility man Bobby Decordova-Reid is the West Londoner’s top-scorer in the EPL with five goals.
Serbian striker Aleksandar Mitrović, once of Newcastle United, notched 26 goals in 40 regular season Championship matches in 2019-20 but he’s found the step-up back to the Premier League to be a steep one, with just two goals in 23 outings. He’s also lost his regular starting berth to 22-year-old Nigerian Josh Maja.
- 04 Apr: Spurs (H)
- 11 Apr: Burnley (A)
- 17 Apr: West Ham (H)
- 24 Apr: Liverpool (A)
- 01 May: Arsenal (H)
- 08 May: Leicester (A)
- 12 May: Man City (H)
- 15 May: Sheffield United (H)
- 23 May: Fulham (A)
The Magpies possess their own problems in front of goal. Playmaker Miguel Almirón, a footballer not known for his goal-scoring prowess, has four top-flight strikes this term and is the club’s second-top scorer in the Premier League behind the injured Callum Wilson, who has 10.
Without Wilson, Steve Bruce’s side lacks a focal point at the sharp end. €44m man Joelinton has one goal to his name all season in the Premier League.
Brighton isn’t out of the woods yet by any means either, although the Seagulls did claim a vital three points against the Magpies just before the international break. Graham Potter’s men have arguably the most difficult run-in out of any side in the division with the average current league position of their remaining eight opponents standing at 8.1.
Newcastle’s nine remaining opponents have an average current league position of 9.3, while Fulham’s equivalent figure is 10.5, making theirs the most favourable run-in on paper. With Newcastle showing little to no momentum or form, they’ll need to find something special and they’ll need to find it quickly.
It would be poetic and typically dramatic if it all boiled down to the final day at Craven Cottage when Fulham hosts Newcastle, but there’s still plenty of football to be played between now and early May.