Skip to content

England’s relegation battle: What changed on Saturday

Apr 6, 2013, 2:16 PM EDT

Stoke City v Aston Villa - Premier League Getty Images

Barring two highly improbable runs (and help from almost everybody around them), Reading and Queens Park Rangers are going to be relegated. Each sit on 23 points, eight points adrift with just over a month left in the Premier League season. If they recover, the story will be their miraculous turnarounds, not our assumptions it won’t happen.

That leaves six teams trying to avoid the last relegation spot: Norwich City, Stoke City, Newcastle United, Aston Villa, Sunderland, and Wigan.

Aston Villa came into the day in 18th, but after two late goals at the Britannia, the relegation battle’s in flux. And with the continued disappointing results of Stoke and Norwich, the picture’s becoming even more cluttered.

Here’s where the teams stand after Saturday’s results.

(MORE: Rosicky revitalized with brace at West Brom)

Relegation battle – England

Pos. Club GP Pts.
13 Norwich City 32 35
14 Stoke City 32 34
15 Newcastle United 31 33
16 Aston Villa 32 33
17 Sunderland 31 31
18 Wigan Athletic 30 30
  • Aston Villa increase pressure on Wigan, Sunderland

Of course it’s three huge points. When you start the day in 18th, any points are, and with Saturday’s 3-1 win at Stoke City, Aston Villa have climbed all the way to 16th, a status that could be temporary.

Thanks to that result, Wigan now need a Sunday win at QPR to return to safety. Sunderland need to spring an upset at Stamford Bridge to guarantee they’ll stay above the drop.

Wigan do have a game in hand, but even if Roberto Martínez’s men are able to climb on Sunday, Villa’s win should sound an alarm. Having floundered for most of the season, Aston Villa now seem capable of getting a few surprise results. While Stoke’s quality is in question, Paul Lambert’s side showed an admirable resiliency in finding two late raod goals.

The team that joins Reading and QPR in the Championship will be the one that flounders most. If Villa prove as resilient over these next six weeks, somebody else will volunteer to go down.

Right now that looks like Sunderland. It could be Wigan. Maybe Stoke will supplant them both. But based on what we say on Saturday, it probably won’t be Villa.

  • Reading, Southampton’s fates sealed

source: Getty ImagesWhat a bitter day for Nigel Adkins. The new coach at Reading saw Mauricio Pochettino guide his former club to their third straight win and 11th place. That spot in the table makes it highly unlikely every team between them and 18th will out-play them over the season’s last six rounds.

Most galling to Adkins will be the ease with which Saints got their win. In a must win game at home, Reading offered little. Adam Le Fondre had a chance to put them up early, after which Southampton controlled the game, with basic passing around an ineffectual midfield maintaining their hold on the match.

Reading are last place with 23 points through 32 rounds. Seven points back of Wigan, they’d need an unprecedented comeback to survive. Unfortunately, they showed no sign they’re capable of turning things around.

  • Stoke City, Norwich City making things too interesting

source: Getty ImagesNorwich City may be five points clear, but after today’s 2-2 draw at home with Swansea City, the Canaries have two major problems. First and most important, they’re not getting results, winless in five while being out-scored 8-3. Second, their goal difference is terrible. At -19, they’re unlikely to win a tiebreaker against anybody but Aston Villa. Their only saving grace right now is their run-in, a schedule that features visits from Reading, Villa, and West Brom.

Stoke’s in a similar situation. Although they don’t have Norwich’s goal difference issue, they’re only four points clear after a season where relegation was a blur in the rearview. They’re winless in six and have only one league win since December. They’ve been hel scoreless three times in their last five matches and have scored a league-low 28 goals.

Both Stoke and Norwich have played so poorly that their previously comatose relegation worries have been awakened and emboldened. Having allowed themselves to be pulled into this fight, there now needs to be a sense of urgency, the type of intensity we’ve seen from Southampton, Aston Villa, and Wigan.

Stoke doesn’t have that. Neither does Norwich. Their only saving grace may be Sunderland, an even more inept squad that sits lower in the table.

But all it takes is one Black Cats result to pull Stoke in. And the Canaries would be right there, too. Neither side can afford to take anything for granted.

Latest Posts
  1. USMNT player ratings: Johnson, Bradley, Dempsey diamonds in a rough, ugly win

    Jul 8, 2015, 12:08 AM EDT

    Team USA's Clint Dempsey (R) tries to get a loose ball from Honduras' Bryan Acosta (6) during the first half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer match on Tuesday, July 7, 2015, at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. (Steve Nurenberg/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images) Getty Images

    We highly doubt any U.S. fans were impressed by more than 2-3 players in Tuesday’s Gold Cup opener, and that’s okay.

  2. 2015 Gold Cup: Three things we learned from the USA’s 2-1 victory over Honduras

    Jul 7, 2015, 11:41 PM EDT

    FRISCO, TX - JULY 07:  Clint Dempsey #8 of USA celebrates after scoring against Honduras during the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group A match between USA and Honduras at Toyota Stadium on July 7, 2015 in Frisco, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

    From Alvarado to Zardes with Najar in between, Andy Edwards tells you what he saw in Frisco.

  3. USMNT 2-1 Honduras: Dempsey brace enough for sloppy Yanks

    Jul 7, 2015, 11:30 PM EDT

    FRISCO, TX - JULY 07:  Clint Dempsey #8 of USA scores against Honduras during the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group A match between USA and Honduras at Toyota Stadium on July 7, 2015 in Frisco, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Next up in Group A is a Friday doubleheader in Foxborough, with Panama and Honduras opening the evening for the U.S. and Haiti.

  4. From London to Lisbon: Costa Rica’s Bryan Ruiz has a new club

    Jul 7, 2015, 10:30 PM EDT

    CANTON DE BELEN, COSTA RICA - JUNE 01:  Bryan Ruiz of Costa Rica holds the ball during Costa Rica training session ahead the beginning of Gold Cup 2015 at FEDEFUTBOL-Plycem Training Centre on June 01, 2015 in Canton de Belen, Costa Rica. (Photo by Arnoldo Robert/LatinContent/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Ruiz will join a potent attack with Islam Slimani and Fredy Montero.

  5. LOGO: Atlanta United unveils logo, makes name official at Tuesday event

    Jul 7, 2015, 9:12 PM EDT

    Atlanta United

    The idea of gold playing a big role is nice, although only the red separate this look from the Philadelphia Union.

  6. Panama 1-1 Haiti: Nazon’s dizzying move helps Les Grenadiers to surprising draw (video)

    Jul 7, 2015, 9:06 PM EDT

    FRISCO, TX - JULY 07:  Blas Perez #7 of Panama controls the ball against Jerome Mechack #3 of Haiti during the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group A match between Panama and Haiti at Toyota Stadium on July 7, 2015 in Frisco, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Duckens Moses Nazon, take a bow: Your 86th minute goal helped start the 2015 Gold Cup in style.

  7. FOLLOW LIVE: USMNT begins Gold Cup defense versus Honduras (Lineups)

    Jul 7, 2015, 8:37 PM EDT

    @USSoccer @USSoccer

    Michael Bradley assumes the captain’s armband from Clint Dempsey and will earn cap No. 100 for his career in the Gold Cup.

  8. CONCACAF ends corporate partnership with FIFA scandal-embattled Traffic Sports USA

    Jul 7, 2015, 8:21 PM EDT

    concacaf

    It’s certainly one of those press releases that makes you think, “Well, I had just assumed that happened, but thanks for confirming.”

  9. WATCH: President Obama calls & congratulates USWNT, invites team to White House

    Jul 7, 2015, 7:52 PM EDT

    Obama USWNT

    All this on the heels of the USWNT announced as the first female team to received a ticker tape parade down New York City’s Canyon of Heroes.

  10. Galaxy’s Gerrard meets the media: “Very impressed with the standard” of MLS

    Jul 7, 2015, 7:01 PM EDT

    CARSON, CA - JULY 7: New Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Steven Gerrard #8 poses with his jersey after a news conference on July 7, 2015 at StubHub Center in Carson, California. The former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is scheduled to play his first MLS match on Friday, July 17 at StubHub Center against San Jose Earthquakes. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) Getty Images

    You get the feeling it’s impossible not to be motivated when Steven Gerrard is your teammate. Now toss in Robbie Keane.

  11. USWNT to become first females in 55 years to get ticker tape parade down NYC’s Canyon of Heroes

    Jul 7, 2015, 6:20 PM EDT

    USA v Germany: Semi Final - FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 USA v Germany: Semi Final - FIFA Women's World Cup 2015

    The last female to receive a ticker tape parade down that route was 1960 Olympic figure skating gold medalist Carol Heiss Jenkins.

  12. Three reasons Canada could surprise Group B (and beyond) at Gold Cup

    Jul 7, 2015, 4:58 PM EDT

    TORONTO, ON- JUNE 16  -   Tesho Akindele battles for a ball with Chad Bertrand as Team Canada plays Dominica in the second leg of World Cup qualifying   at BMO Field in Toronto.  June 16, 2015.        (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images) Getty Images

    Their “no-name” defense hasn’t allowed a goal in four matches, and Canada could surprise you this month.

  13. United States midfielder Lauren Holiday announces plans to retire with Women’s World Cup title in hand

    Jul 7, 2015, 4:50 PM EDT

    VANCOUVER, BC - JULY 05:   Lauren Holiday #12 of the United States celebrates as she scores her first goal in the first half against Japan  in the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 Final at BC Place Stadium on July 5, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Lauren Holiday, 27, scored the eventual game-winning goal in the 2015 Women’s World Cup final.

  14. Lampard talks club, challenge, Gerrard: “For me this is as much of a challenge as Chelsea was, as Man City was” (video)

    Jul 7, 2015, 4:09 PM EDT

    Source: New York City FC Source: New York City FC

    “For me this is as much of a challenge as Chelsea was, as Man City was,” Lampard said. “I play football to win.”

  15. 2015 Gold Cup predictions: Can the USMNT win back-to-back titles? Here’s our picks…

    Jul 7, 2015, 3:45 PM EDT

    Championship - 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup Getty Images

    PST’s staff predict how the Gold Cup will play out as the USA, Mexico and Costa Rica clash to become CONCACAF champs.

  16. 2015 Gold Cup: USMNT player profiles – Forwards

    Jul 7, 2015, 3:05 PM EDT

    England v USA: Group C - 2010 FIFA World Cup Getty Images

    Altidore and Dempsey will lead the attack. But who else is in reserve?

  17. Where does Andrea Pirlo joining New York City FC rank in history of MLS mega-deals?

    Jul 7, 2015, 2:35 PM EDT

    Is he in the top five of superstars to join North America’s top-flight since the DP rule was introduced?

  18. 2015 Gold Cup: USMNT player profiles – Midfielders

    Jul 7, 2015, 1:59 PM EDT

    Mix Diskerud, USMNT Mix Diskerud, USMNT

    Will Yedlin start on the right? Have Bradley and Mix got the center locked down?

  19. Reflecting on Michael Bradley from 1-99, as he hits 100 USMNT caps vs. Honduras

    Jul 7, 2015, 1:10 PM EDT

    Michael Bradley, USMNT Getty Images

    A man who’ll go down as one of the USMNT’s all-time greats hits 100 caps tonight. A few thoughts on Il Generale.

  20. Gold Cup Today: USMNT face Honduras, Panama vs. Haiti kick things off – Day 1

    Jul 7, 2015, 12:15 PM EDT

    Honduras v United States Getty Images

    Day 1 of the 2015 Gold Cup is here, as the U.S. starts its title defense with a showdown in Texas.

Featured video

PST Extra: Done deals & transfer gossip