Relegation Watch: Most Important Battles of the Premier League Weekend

A WriterContributor IIIApril 25, 2013

Relegation Watch: Most Important Battles of the Premier League Weekend

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    With Reading and Queens Park Rangers going down, according to, there is just one spot remaining in the relegation battle.

    And there are seven teams all within eight points of each other, for whom a couple of poor games could mean the drop from the top.

    However there are four matches this weekend that could either increase that gap or drag these teams closer together. And those involve the teams sat between 13th and 18th.

    But what are the most important battles of the Premier League weekend? Read on to find out.


    All fixtures, results and league positions taken from BBC.

Newcastle vs. Liverpool

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    Newcastle have had patchy form of late, with a win, a loss and a draw in their last three matches.

    A thrashing at home to Sunderland has subdued the mood at St James' Park, and their most recent result was a 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion.

    With two away games after the visit from Liverpool and then a home game against Arsenal the only remaining fixtures left for the north east side, Newcastle have a tough run-in on their hands. And Saturday will be a big ask for the inconsistent side.

    Liverpool have drawn their last three games but not lost in six. Their last-gasp equalizer at Chelsea last weekend shows that they are still fighting to finish in a European spot. However, with top scorer Luis Suarez banned for the game (and beyond), this will breathe new hope into Alan Pardew's side.

    It may well be a case of "batten down the hatches and give it to Papiss Cisse" this weekend.

    Currently sat at the bottom of a list of three teams locked on 37 points, a loss at home to Liverpool could see the Magpies lingering dangerously close to the relegation zone, especially if Aston Villa and Wigan win.

Wigan vs. Tottenham

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    However, Wigan will have to play incredibly well to beat Gareth Bale Hotspur. After Tottenham's phenomenal turn around against Manchester City in the last match, their morale and confidence will be high.

    Both the Latics and Spurs have a game in hand over many of their opponents, and they will both be looking to pick up the points in this match, but both for very different reasons.

    Tottenham look to finish in a Champions League place, which will actually mean Champions League football next season this time as there are no English clubs left in the competition this year.

    And Wigan, well, as they are currently sat in the last remaining relegation spot, they will be looking for one of their great escape results in order to lift themselves onto the same points as Aston Villa and give themselves a fighting chance.

Aston Villa vs. Sunderland

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    That is, of course, if Aston Villa don't lose to Sunderland.

    The new manager syndrome seems to be working wonders in the north east, with Paolo Di Canio transforming the lackluster side into a group of men playing with pride, passion and talent.

    Sunderland, once talked about as favorites for relegation just a few weeks ago, have lifted themselves into 14th place and six points clear of the drop zone after two good wins.

    However, for Aston Villa, they are still hovering dangerously close to joining QPR and Reading in the Championship next year. After wins against both these two clubs in March, Villa looked to be on the rise. But their ascendancy has been cut short, with just one win in four.

    If Christian Benteke is on song, the Black Cats could well be leaving the midlands with their tails between their legs. But Sunderland have a great chance improve their own survival chances with a win come Monday night.

    Whatever happens, the match at Villa Park will be an intriguing one. If only to see Di Canio's reaction if Sunderland score.

Stoke City vs. Norwich

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    And finally, another club who looked like their were on a downward slide is Stoke City. However, their victory at Loftus Road (QPR seem to be helping a lot of teams "change their fortune" recently), has seen the Potters give themselves newfound hope.

    Those two goals (yes, two goals from Stoke—unheard of), may well set them on their way to safety, as they face Sunderland after Norwich this weekend. Ignoring the visit to Spurs after that, there is then a final game at Southampton, and all of these three matches (ignoring the visit to Spurs again) will be seen as winnable.

    But "winnable" and "Stoke" haven't gone together so well recently. That rare away win at QPR was their first three points since February 9, against Reading.

    And Norwich, another side who could be considered relegation candidates, improved their chances with a win against the same team last week.

    Of all the matches this weekend, a win for either of these teams will most likely spell survival, as they both would surpass the usually safe mark of 40 points.

    Then again, the way this relegation battle is going, it looks like only Manchester United are safe at the moment.