Crowded Premier League Relegation Race Poised for Thrilling Finale

Glenn HoddleFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04:  Manager Rene Meulensteen of Fulham talks to his players before they go into extra time during the FA Cup Fourth Round Reply match between Fulham and Sheffield United at Craven Cottage on February 4, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Sunderland to roar up the table, Cardiff and Fulham to fail to beat the drop, and all the clubs right up to Aston Villa could join them in the most amazing relegation battle of all time in the Premier League.

But watch out for West Ham as they will need to get at least a six-point breathing space before their incredible run-in starting from April 1, and they need points in the bag if they don’t want to be the relegation fall guys.

Liverpool at home, Arsenal away, then must-win six-pointers against Palace and West Brom, finishing with Tottenham at home and Manchester City away in the final game.

Jon Super/Associated Press

If Spurs need the points to qualify for the Champions League and City need to win their last game to land the title, then it isn’t going to be pretty for West Ham, as they could go down with Cardiff and Fulham.

I would say West Ham are going to need to put together a great run immediately, as they will need a six- or seven-point cushion before they go into that final sequence of five games if they want to avoid that precarious drop zone, as they have such a tough run-in.

Fulham are simply devoid of any confidence at the moment and are the team at the bottom after a terrible slide. Cardiff won’t be good enough on their travels to acquire sufficient points.

But don’t get me wrong—this isn’t easy to predict as so many clubs are separated by so few points that one win can take you right up to mid-table, and one defeat can leave you stranded at the bottom.

One minute Sunderland looked doomed, but I must say one of my old players Gus Poyet has done remarkably well and I can see them continue surging up the table.

Scott Heppell/Associated Press

I have been very impressed the way Gus has coped with the intense pressures, yet steered Sunderland out of relegation zone, and I don’t think that's it. There is more to come from them.

Gus has coped with the pressures of a North East derby and rolled over Newcastle very impressively, and he has adapted his style of play, much the same way as he did at Brighton and very similar to the style at Everton and Swansea—building out of midfield, even away from home.

There is much more to come from Gus when he has the chance to bed down his Latin influences and a number of South American and European players he has brought in, plus more he intends to bring in during the summer.

I think we’ve only seen about 60 percent of what he intends to bring to Sunderland and I can see them doing very well next season.

* Zapsportz.com is the new exciting website where Glenn Hoddle reveals how kids from all over the world can enter the X-factor style Zapstarz, the former England manager's search for a new generation of footballing talent.


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