The 2022 EPL relegation battle is as exciting as the title race
The English Premier League is approaching the home stretch of the 2021-22 season and the relegation battle is just as exciting as the race for the title is appearing to be.
At the top of the table, three points separate the top two teams, Manchester City and Liverpool, but a seven-point gap opens up after second place in the table. At the bottom, though things are much closer with one point separating 19th placed Burnley and 17th placed Everton with Leeds United only four points ahead of the Toffees.
Only the bottom three teams of the 20 team Premier League will be relegated down to the EFL Championship. With Norwich being almost a lock to go down that means that there are four teams trying to survive the relegation battle and only two will be able to stay up.
What makes this extremely interesting is the number of matches played by each team is not the same and the teams with the most matches played are Leeds and Watford both with 29. Everton sits four points behind Leeds but have played only 26 matches and a win and a draw in two of the games in hand would put Everton above Leeds. This is not the pressure that Leeds fans want to see because the club has a history of falling apart under pressure situations at the end of seasons.
Fortunately for the Whites, their fortunes may be changing as they ended a six-match losing streak that saw them go scoreless in the last four Premier League matches Sunday morning with a 2-1 win over relegation battle rivals Norwich. However that was not straightforward as a 90’+1’ goal tied it up for Norwich at 1-1, but a 90’+4’ goal from Joe Gelhardt saved the day for Leeds or the gap with the relegation zone could be even smaller.
Nonetheless, in the Premier League form table, both Leeds and Norwich sit in the bottom three. The form table takes into regard each club’s previous six matches and between Leeds, Norwich, and the other team in the bottom three, Everton, there have been only two wins in the 18 recent matches. Funnily the two wins came for Everton against Leeds and then Leeds against Norwich, so none of these teams has been beating anyone decent as of late.
Sunday was also a turnaround day for Watford as they won for the first time in the last five matches. The 2-1 win over Southampton moved Watford into the final relegation spot tied with Everton, who is one spot above them, on 22 points. The three points jumped Watford over Burnley, who have 21 points. Burnley is not in a terrible position though as they may be one point behind Watford but have also played two fewer matches than the London side.
The remaining schedule for all four teams makes for an even more exciting relegation battle. That is because all four teams plus Norwich have matches against each other. Watford has the most control of their path as they have to play Everton, Leeds, and Burnley all at home. Besides those three matches, the only other one between the teams fighting the relegation battle is Norwich playing home to Burnley.
It is more than just games amongst each other that will affect the final places in the table, but all five teams have to play multiple teams in the ‘Big Six.’ Everton have the most matches against the ‘Big Six’ with games home to Chelsea and Manchester United and games away to Liverpool and Arsenal. Both Watford and Leeds have to play three of the ‘Big Six’ with Watford having to face the top three teams in the current Premier League table, Man City, Liverpool, and Chelsea.
The closest battle will likely come down to Everton, Burnley, and Leeds fighting to avoid the last relegation place. As of March 13th FiveThirtyEight gives Leeds a 36 percent chance to be relegated, Everton a 38 percent chance, and Burnley a 45 percent chance. Norwich is expected to go down with a 99 percent chance of relegation and Watford look probable to go with them as they were given a 76 percent chance to go down a division.
This will be a very nervous final two months for fans of any of these teams as they move closer to that dreaded bottom three. Over the final months of the 2021-22 Premier League three teams in the relegation battle have nine matches remaining, while Everton have 10 left to play and Burnley 11. This will be worth following so that you know who will not be seen in England’s top league next season.
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