The English Premier League campaign is nearing its end during the coming weeks. First-place Chelsea are in an excellent position to capture another championship, while several clubs are in the race for UEFA Champions League qualification.
But there is also plenty of drama at the other end of the table as well, as this season’s battle to avoid relegation to the second division will likely come down to the final matches.
Last year’s surprise title-winners, Leicester City have struggled mightily this campaign and are only a point above the relegation zone.
With only five victories in 25 league matches and having extreme difficulty scoring goals, the Foxes need to earn more positive results quickly.
Middlesbrough and manager Aitor Karanka have seen disciplined defensive work throughout the season, allowing only 27 goals in their 25 matches. But Boro also needs more success in the final third, having only scored 19 goals of their own.
Left for dead by many pundits after yet another managerial change, Swansea City has begun to show signs that they will avoid playing in the English Championship next season. The Swans have won three out of their last four matches, and are now four points clear of the relegation places.
With only 13 matches remaining in the English top flight, we examine the three clubs currently in danger and their chances of escaping the drop.
Everything began so well for Hull City, with three victories across all competitions earning Mike Phelan Manager of the Month honors. Then things began to unravel. Quickly.
But new manager Marco Silva has begun to see strong performances from the Tigers, including a victory over Liverpool earlier this month.
The attack certainly will need more consistency. But with goalkeeper Eldin Jakupoivc in spectacular form, Hull City may be able to gain enough points to remain in the Premier League.
A struggling club changing their manager is common, but Crystal Palace was hoping for more when they brought on Sam Allardyce just before the new year. After a 1-1 draw at Watford on Boxing Day, the Eagles lost seven straight league matches and have scored only one goal in 2017.
A critical match against Middlesbrough approaches this weekend, as Palace’s leading scorer Christian Benteke needs to produce.
The feeling around Selhurst Park is overwhelmingly negative as poor form continues on. Playing in the Championship is a very real possibility for Crystal Palace.
Sunderland has been masters at the Great Escape in recent seasons, and the Black Cats will need to pull off their old tricks yet again in the current campaign. Currently, at the bottom of the Premier League table, manager David Moyes prepares his side for a key fixture at Everton this Saturday.
Striker Jermain Defoe will be crucial to their ability to remain in the first division. The January transfer window did not bring him assistance at the top of the line-up, and Defoe will again be tasked with carrying the North East club to safety.
The battle to avoid relegation in the Premier League is as close as can be, and three points are enough to lift any of these three sides above the danger zone. The question will be if any will be able to sustain that form over the coming months.