Which fans will be left dejected this year?
The Premier League relegation battle is entering a crucial stage. In this article, we take a look at which teams are involved, and more importantly, which ones will go down.
With Manchester United holding a 15-point lead, the Premier League title race is all but over. But fear not, with huge television payments, even bigger wage bills and bragging rights at stake for fans, the relegation battle will not disappoint.
Sit back and enjoy the fight as we look at who will go down with eight games remaining.
Premier League survival seems almost impossible for Queens Park Rangers, who sit a huge seven points from safety. But their relegation from the Premier League is not yet certain.
Starting with an Easter visit to London rivals Fulham, QPR have some favourable fixtures that will give fans some hope.
But even wins against Fulham, Stoke, Wigan and Reading would only see QPR amass 35 points in total, meaning they would surely need to get another result or two from more daunting fixtures against Everton, Arsenal, Newcastle and Liverpool.
Asking a team that has only won four times all season to win five from the last eight games is too much, even for Harry Redknapp.
QPR will be relegated from the Premier League.
Premier League new boys Reading were always going to struggle this year, but at the minute things couldn't be much worse. Sitting joint-bottom of the league on 23 points, and with a brand new manager, relegation is definitely looming.
Nigel Adkins has a huge task ahead of him, and it will be too much for the former Southampton manager.
Again this is a team that has only won five times all season, and to ask for another four or five at this point, especially with a new manager, is too much in the Premier League.
Adkins will bring a new style and attitude to Reading and could be a great long-term option, but right now there is little his positive attitude can do to save Reading from relegation.
Reading will be relegated.
Wigan are once again in a relegation battle, and that doesn't surprise anyone. This year, however, things are looking (comparatively) good for Wigan with nine Premier League games remaining.
For once they are masters of their own destiny. Only three points from safety with an extra game to play, and fixtures against Norwich, West Ham, QPR and Aston Villa to come, Premier League fans will probably see Wigan steering clear of relegation yet again this year.
Premier League wins are always hard to come by, but Wigan have the relegation battle experience and commitment needed to get those wins when it matters most, and it shouldn't be a surprise when they win three more games and stay safe in the Premier League yet again.
Wigan will stay in the Premier League.
Former giants Aston Villa have endured a terrible Premier League campaign by their standards. Sitting just outside the relegation zone, Villa fans will be very worried about the coming weeks.
But three wins in the last five games, including morale-boosting victories against QPR and Reading, has given Villa some momentum heading in to the crunch period.
Relegation is not something manager Paul Lambert is even considering, and he is probably right.
Aston Villa have players capable of scoring goals and threatening any Premier League defence, and that will be enough to see Villa pick up more than enough points to avoid relegation from the Premier League.
Aston Villa will not be relegated.
Southampton have flirted with the relegation battle all season despite looking like a good team for the majority of it. The biggest lesson they have learned on their return to the Premier League is that good performances don’t always get you points, especially against the bigger teams.
A change in manager mid-way through the season has not seemed to have much of an effect on Southampton, and new manager Mauricio Pochettino has done a good job in preventing a downward spiral starting.
Now he will look upon two crucial away games to secure safety. Wins away at both Reading and Sunderland will be top of the Argentine’s wish list, but home fixtures against West Ham, West Brom and Stoke also give Southampton realistic opportunities to get enough points to avoid relegation.
Southampton will stay in the Premier League.
Sunderland are enjoying their longest-ever spell in the Premier League, but many fans are now worried that run is about to end. Relegation is a distinct possibility this season after yet another horrendous run of form and disastrous injuries.
Sitting bottom of the form table, Martin O’Neill’s men face a huge task if they are to avoid relegation and stay in the Premier League, especially now they are without top scorer Steven Fletcher.
Add into that the loss of opinion-dividing captain Lee Cattermole and an incredibly daunting fixture list; many smart punters will be putting their money on Sunderland to join Reading and QPR in the Championship next season.
Sunderland will now face three of the top four teams in the league, along with Everton (who have not lost to Sunderland since David Moyes took over), and bitter rivals Newcastle. Whilst games against Aston Villa, Stoke and Southampton could provide some relief, a likely run of 11 games without a win will see confidence at rock bottom by the time these fixtures come around.
Something drastic needs to happen very quickly if Sunderland are to stay in the Premier League, and with the reluctance of Martin O’Neill to try anything new, that looks highly unlikely.
Sunderland will be relegated.