MANCHESTER CITY MAY already have the title all but sewn up, but there’s still plenty to play for as we approach the final stages of the Premier League season as a tight bottom half scraps against relegation to the Championship and the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham look to secure their place in the Champions League for next season.
West Bromwich Albion are the team currently sitting in bottom position, although the January loan signing of Daniel Sturridge will boost their confidence. If he can stay fit, the England international’s goals will be vital in the Baggies’ chances of survival. The likes of Huddersfield, Swansea, Stoke and Brighton will all be worryingly checking upcoming fixtures, but Mark Lawrenson told FootballTips that he can see Watford being dragged into the bottom three by the end of the campaign.
“I just look at them and I just feel that they seem to have lost the soul of the club,” said the former Liverpool defender. Deeney thought he was going the whole of January, he’s not the same player anymore and lost quite a lot of his effectiveness on the pitch. I look at them and think they could well be that team that loses the last six games and falls into the abyss and I know a couple of Watford fans and they’re all thinking that it could happen for them.”
Lawrenson, who now works as a pundit for the BBC and others, also fancies Huddersfield for the drop along with Swansea City, despite their recent upturn in form under the guidance of new boss Carlos Carvalhal. “I still think Swansea will go down, I mean they’ve lost two players with Ayew and Fer out for the rest of the season. They’ve had a really good run but what follows a good run when you’re at the bottom? Another bad run.”
After a defeat at the hands of Watford, Stoke certainly find themselves in the mire and many fans were left scratching their heads at the appointment of former Aston Villa and Blackburn boss Paul Lambert, so they could be in for a difficult end to the season. Newcastle are also just one point clear of the drop zone as things stand and with tensions off the field still dominating the headlines surrounding the north-east club, performances on it could continue to suffer as a result.
The current bottom two though are the Baggies and the Terriers and given Huddersfield’s recent results, we can’t see them escaping the drop, whilst West Brom are now four points adrift and an over-reliance on Sturridge could lead to their downfall. Heading down with those two could well be Newcastle as they still have to face five of the top six teams in the league and those tougher fixtures could prove to be the difference come the end of the campaign.
At the top end of the table, the title appears to be heading to the Etihad Stadium, but the race for the top four is fascinating. Time is running out for Arsenal to claw back the five point gap that’s opened up between themselves and the Champions League qualification spots, but only two points separate Liverpool in third and Tottenham in fifth place.
After this weekend’s draw with Spurs, the Reds are the team currently occupying third place and Lawrenson is confident his former club will remain in the top four. “I think the thing with Liverpool is they will win a lot of their games. They’ve obviously had some bizarre results throughout the course of the season as you’ve seen but they will win a lot of games which I think will be the key.”
On Monday night, Chelsea were on the receiving end of a humbling 4-1 defeat at the hands of Watford at Vicarage Road and with murmurs of discontent emanating from the Blues camp, the momentum appears to be with Tottenham instead at the moment, particularly after they’ve taken four points from their last two matches against Manchester United and Liverpool. Either way, it’s going to be a fascinating end to the campaign at both ends of the table with almost every game having the potential to make or break a team’s season. Bring it on.