Battle for survival in Premier League

May, 20, 2011

On the last day of the Premier League season, five teams will battle to stay out of two relegation spots. Blackburn, Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Blackpool and Wigan could all remain up or be sent down. Either scenario is possible for the latter three teams whether they win, lose or tie, depending on each game's margin, and the Soccer Power Index projections are appropriately close. Here are five notes on this queasy quintet:

• Blackburn is the only one of these five teams that hasn't spent a day in the drop zone all season. Blackpool and Birmingham have only been there for 22 and 29 days, respectively, while Wolverhampton (167 days) and Wigan (202) have spent most of the season near the bottom of the table.

• Wolverhampton hasn't been higher than 16th in the standings since September, in part because of an inability to string together wins. Wolves' current two-game win streak is their first of the season, and the club has never won three straight Premier League games.

• Birmingham could be the first league cup champion to be relegated since Norwich in 1984-85. If the Blues are sent down, they may be back in the Premier League soon. After its past two relegations from the Premier League, Birmingham has earned immediate promotion by finishing runner-up in the Championship.

• Blackpool's last season in the top division was 1970-71, and that campaign also ended against Manchester United, with a 1-1 home draw. The last time Blackpool played United at Old Trafford was 1974-75, also when the Red Devils had already clinched the league title. Division Two champion United defeated Blackpool 4-0 in that match, and United has remained in the top flight ever since.

• If Wigan survives, the Latics will remain the only team never to have been relegated after reaching England's top division. Wigan is concluding its sixth Premier League season, and its only previous relegation in any league was in 1992-93, after finishing 23rd in Division Two.



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