Relegation Watch: Most Important Battles of the Premier League Weekend
There are two types of teams embroiled in a Premier League relegation fight at this stage of the season: teams that are on the rise, and teams that are on the slide.
This week we feature the latter.
Wigan Athletic, Aston Villa and Newcastle all escape this week, as with all three teams picking up at least six points in their last five games could be considered as finding a bit of form.
But there are three teams whom have had a such a poor run of form, they find themselves being dragged towards the battle at the bottom. And sliding down towards the Championship.
With just five games left for the following teams to save themselves, they need to turn their fortunes around by picking up points. And this needs to start this weekend.
So which teams are hoping to stop their current slide? Read on to find out.
All fixtures, results and league positions taken from BBC.
Sunderland vs. Everton
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One team which may well have started that upward trend is Sunderland.
Their superb win against North East rivals Newcastle last weekend was the first three points they had picked up in the league since January 19 against Wigan Athletic. And they will need to build on that when they host Everton on Saturday.
But with the Toffees not having lost in six matches and still fighting for a Europa League spot, this could be a tall order for Sunderland.
The Wearside team have an entertaining manager in Paolo Di Canio, and he seems to be rubbing off on the team judging by their performance against Newcastle. And they will need more of that passion and determination they showed last weekend for Sunderland to pull themselves away from 18th position.
Currently sitting in 15th, Sunderland may find themselves just one place above the drop zone come the end of the weekend if they lose and if Wigan, Aston Villa and Stoke pick up maximum points.
And then it will take more than a couple of wonder goals in their remaining games to save their Premier League status.
Queens Park Rangers vs. Stoke
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Speaking of Stoke, they travel to the home of the expensive but poorly performing QPR on Saturday.
Tony Pulis has done wonders with Stoke City, helping them reach the Europa League last season, but this time around it has been a very different story.
Stoke's style of play has been called into question before, but manager Tony Pulis has defended it vehemently. However rugby team or not, it is their failure to score goals that is the biggest cause of concern.
Their minus-13 goal difference may be second best in the bottom eight, but having scored just 28 all season, it is similar to that of a relegation candidate's record. Just ask Queens Park Rangers.
Stoke's last win was against Reading in February, and they will be looking to Loftus Road as a ground they can take all three points away from.
And with games coming up against Sunderland and Norwich after this weekend, if the Potters can get a run together now, they may well just save themselves—and Tony Pulis' job.
Norwich vs. Reading
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And Norwich are the final team to find themselves slip sliding away towards the Championship.
Ordinarily you would not consider 14th place as belonging to a club in a relegation fight, but after six games without a win, Chris Hughton's side find themselves in a slump.
With bottom of the table Reading traveling Eastbound to Carrow Road, this could well be the turning point in the Canaries' season, and they will need to take maximum points from the game.
Reading having lost seven of their last eight look favorites to fall in this match too. But the Royals themselves saw a change in fortunes—albeit slight—when they held Liverpool to a draw last weekend.
This promises to be the relegation match to watch with both sides desperate for a win. Not because Reading have a chance to pull themselves back towards safety, because according to the bookmakers, they can't. Odds have already been removed for backing the team to avoid relegation.
But because Norwich have dropped from eighth place in a matter of months—and if they fail to win here—they look likely to drop even further.