EPL Relegation Zone: Analyzing Five Teams' Chances to Stay Alive

Ned HarwoodContributor IIIMay 16, 2011

EPL Relegation Zone: Analyzing Five Teams' Chances to Stay Alive

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    West Ham was the first club to be relegated to the English Championship
    West Ham was the first club to be relegated to the English ChampionshipClive Mason/Getty Images

    As the final week of English football approaches, a total of five teams will be battling for the three spots to stay safe from the relegation zone.

    With the title and Champions League spots all locked up, many EPL viewers might choose to stay away from their couches and televisions next weekend and maybe take a walk or go to their first church service since last August.

    As tempting as any of your upcoming weekend options may seem, I advise you to follow some of the most determined and exciting football of the whole year by watching the battle from relegation. If all you really like about soccer is watching the fanatic final moments of games, get ready for some for some entertaining footi as teams try to stay off the wall of infamy.

    Heading into the final week of the season, the question is: Who will stay safe in the land of the premier and who will embarrassingly fall down in the final week? Check out the teams' chances here. 

Wigan Athletic

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    WIGAN, ENGLAND - MAY 15:  Conor Sammon of Wigan Athletic celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and West Ham United at the DW Stadium on May 15, 2011 in Wigan, England.  (Photo by Chris Br
    Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

    Points: 39

    Status: 19th (Relegated)

    Last Five: W-T-T-L-W

    Opponent: @ Stoke 

    Wigan's miraculous comeback victory over West Ham last week could have very easily saved the Latics from immediate dismissal to the Championship. Their determination to survive left a good impression on the football world and is exactly what separates them from the rest of the near-relegation pack.

    Wigan should like their chances next weekend as they will play a fatigued Stoke team heading into their third game in eight days (Two against Manchester City). Their recent success and favorable matchup leave them with a great chance to survive next weekend.

    The Verdict: Safe

Blackpool

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    BLACKPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 14:  Charlie Adam of Blackpool looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Blackpool and Bolton Wanderers at Bloomfield Road on May 14, 2011 in Blackpool, England.  (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
    Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

    Points: 39

    Status: 18th (Relegated)

    Last Five: W-T-T-T-L

    Opponent: @ Manchester United 

    Out of all the current teams flirting with relegation, Blackpool has the most difficult path to stay clean. The Tangerines are currently in the relegation zone with 39 points and would need some outside help in order to keep their heads above water. In other words, Blackpool does not control their own destiny.

    If asking for Birmingham, Wolves, and Blackburn to lose wasn't enough, Blackpool would have to defeat the recently crowned champs at Old Trafford in order to avoid a short-lived EPL Tenure. Some Blackpool enthusiasts might say United has nothing to play for now that they have the title in hand, but surely the Red Devils won't let themselves get embarrassed on the day of their award ceremony. 

    The Verdict: Relegated

Birmingham City

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    BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - MAY 15:  Birmingham City captain Stephen Carr is dejected at the final whistle at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Birmingham City and Fulham at St. Andrews on May 15, 2011 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Shaun
    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Points: 39

    Status: 17th (Safe)

    Last Five: L-L-T-L-L

    Opponent: @ Tottenham

    Despite earning the most silverware out of these proud clubs, Birmingham is in a very dangerous position heading into the final week. The Blues seemed to be safe after their Carling Cup victory in February, but have since tallied a mere nine points in 11 premier league games and only one point in their last five EPL matches.

    Birmingham City dug themselves into a hole and now the incline seems too insurmountable to climb out of. City will face Tottenham at White Hart Lane next weekend in a must win match to stay in the Premier League and prove that the Carling Cup victory was not a fluke.

    The Verdict: Relegated

Blackburn Rovers

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    BLACKBURN, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 04:  Andre Ooijer of Blackburn Rovers celebrates his team's winning goal with David Dunn during the Barclays Premier League match between Blackburn Rovers and Tottenham Hotspur at Ewood Park on April 4, 2009 in Blackburn,
    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Points: 40

    Status: 16th (Safe)

    Last Five: T-T-W-L-L

    Opponent: @ Wolves

    Although their record doesn't show it, Blackburn has played worthy to stay in the Premier League the last couple of weeks. The Rovers have earned good results throughout the most difficult part of their schedule and are deserving of extending their Premier League tenure another season.

    However, although Blackburn plays well against superior opponents, winning games that they are expected to has been a difficult task for them this season. Which is why their upcoming fixture against Wolves might be a trap game at a vital time for the Rovers.

    Fortunately for Blackburn, Birmingham and Blackpool have far more difficult opponents, but don't be surprised if the Rovers barely catch their breath next Sunday. 

    The Verdict: Safe

Wolverhampton Wanderers

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    WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 06:  Steven Fletcher (C) of Wolves celebrates scoring the equalising goal with teammates Karl Henry (L) and Kevin Doyle (R) during the Barclays Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur at Mo
    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Points: 40

    Status: 15th (Safe)

    Last Five: W-W-T-L-T

    Opponent: Blackburn

    Wolves once again are on the verge of relegation, but do you really expect them to tumble back down to the Championship? A team that thrives when their backs are against the wall and all odds are against them? A team that waited to return to the Premier League for so long and is so proud of its history? A team that is one of the best in the league on their home turf and has some of the best fans in the league?

    Of course you don't. So let's call them safe until they prove otherwise. 

    The Verdict: Safe