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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Will Unwin

Premier League relegation: how the bottom six look with four games left

West Ham’s Declan Rice, Leicester’s Youri Tielemans, Wilfried Gnonto of Leeds, Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse, Amadou Onana of Everton and Renan Lodi of Nottingham Forest
(Clockwise from top left): West Ham’s Declan Rice, Leicester’s Youri Tielemans, Wilfried Gnonto of Leeds, Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse, Amadou Onana of Everton and Renan Lodi of Nottingham Forest. Composite: Getty; Shutterstock; Reuters

West Ham: P 34, Pts 34, GD -13

Preparation for Wednesday’s defeat at the Etihad was hampered by a stomach bug, which made a change from generally being out of form and easy to beat. After the team finished seventh last season, Hammers fans would have hoped to build on such success but have been stuck in a battle to be the fourth-worst team in the league. Despite the struggles David Moyes has kept his job, aided by a Europa Conference League semi-final run and a lack of alternatives. Time is running out for him but finishing in the bottom three would be a sad end he is desperate to avoid.

Last four results (most recent first): L L L W. Remaining fixtures: Manchester United (h), Brentford (a), Leeds (h), Leicester (a).

Leicester: P 34, Pts 30, GD -13

Three teams are on 30 points going into the final four matches. Dean Smith’s Foxes are unbeaten in three, giving them much-needed momentum. Smith has revitalised a few who had lost their way under Brendan Rodgers: Caglar Soyuncu is back heading everything in sight, Youri Tielemans has remembered how to pass and Jamie Vardy’s vintage port has helped him score two in two after 19 matches without finding the net, but Leicester will need more of that to guarantee safety.

Last four results: D D W L. Remaining fixtures: Fulham (a), Liverpool (h), Newcastle (a), West Ham (h).

Jamie Vardy scores against Leeds
Jamie Vardy, pictured scoring against Leeds, has only three league goals this season, but two of them have come in the last two games. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

Leeds: P 34, Pts 30, GD -24

Going from Marcelo Bielsa to Sam Allardyce in 18 months is proof of the confusion at Elland Road but we cannot focus on the past. The present is what matters and Big Sam is tasked with keeping Leeds up but he only has four games to do it … starting with Manchester City (away). Oh. That does not worry the former England (national and Soccer Aid team) manager. When you have managed Paddy McGuinness, sorting out a Premier League defence that is shipping goals with incredible efficiency should be a cakewalk for Sam. If he doesn’t, however, it could be a long 360 minutes in charge of Leeds.

Last four results: L D L L. Remaining fixtures: Manchester City (a), Newcastle (h), West Ham (a), Tottenham (h).

Average current placing in table of final four opponents
West Ham 11.5
Leicester 8.25
Leeds 7.0
Nottm Forest 11.25
Everton 8.5
Southampton 9.75

Points won so far this season against final four opponents
West Ham 1
Leicester 1
Leeds 2
Nottm Forest 7
Everton 1
Southampton 0

Average points picked up by final four opponents in last 10 games
West Ham 10.75
Leicester 15.5
Leeds 18.75
Nottm Forest 12
Everton 19.75
Southampton 13

Points picked up in last 10 games
West Ham 11
Leicester 6
Leeds 8
Nottm Forest 5
Everton 8
Southampton 6

Nottingham Forest: P 34, Pts 30, GD -32

We have reached May and few could tell you Steve Cooper’s strongest XI. Injuries, admittedly, have caused problems but signing an entire new squad has influenced matters somewhat. The good news for Forest is that Cooper is still in the dugout and they have two matches at fortress City Ground, including against rock-bottom Southampton. The less good news is that they have won only one in 13 and failed to keep a clean sheet in any of those matches despite having a Champions League winner, Keylor Navas, between the sticks. He started the season alongside Neymar, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé and will be desperate not to end it as a Championship player.

Last four results: L W L L. Remaining fixtures: Southampton (h), Chelsea (a), Arsenal (h), Crystal Palace (a).

Keylor Navas sees a Brentford goal hit the back of his net
Keylor Navas sees one of the 62 goals Nottingham Forest have conceded hit the back of his net – only Leeds and Bournemouth have let more in. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA

Everton: P 34, Pts 29, GD -25

Many people forget that it took Sean Dyche five years to turn Burnley into a relatively stable Premier League club. He’s had only four months at Everton and infrequent access to a striker with the capability of scoring, so the process has started slowly. His first top-flight campaign at Turf Moor ended in relegation to the Championship and it looks as if he could repeat the feat at Goodison Park unless there is serious improvement. After a promising sturdiness in Dyche’s first few games, the defence has regressed and mistakes are creeping in. The back four need to channel their inner Dave Watson or face a fate worse than Denis Stracqualursi.

Last four results: D L D L. Remaining fixtures: Brighton (a), Manchester City (h), Wolves (a), Bournemouth (h).

Southampton: P 34, Pts 24, GD -32

It would be unfair to give Saints fans hope at this stage because they are down. It makes more sense to look at the fun prospect of a season in the Championship where they will win more than six matches and all those talented youngsters they have acquired can learn what being successful is like. When you are on your third manager of the season, it is fair to accept that things have not gone well. Poor Rubén Sellés will mark his first managerial role with a relegation to add to his CV, which includes spells as a fitness coach in Greece and a chief data analyst in Norway.

Last four results: L L D L. Remaining fixtures: Nottingham Forest (a), Fulham (h), Brighton (a), Liverpool (h).

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