Yesterday’s results were not the best from our point of view. With just a fortnight of the Premier League season to go there is still a lot to play for by the teams at the foot of the table. Even West Brom who have looked doomed for a long time are not yet mathematically relegated, but surely they have left it too late? They are the only team who cannot overtake us. Stoke managed an unexpected goalless draw at Anfield, perhaps something to do with Liverpool’s continuing participation in Europe and their return match in Rome this week? Had Liverpool won the game we wouldn’t really be worrying about Stoke any more in view of their poor goal difference. But they have two winnable games left and can reach 36 points, one beyond our current total.
The other three teams below us, Southampton, Swansea and Huddersfield can all overtake us. Swansea and Southampton in particular have winnable games, but it could be a blessing that Swansea still have to face both Southampton and Stoke, and can take points off each other. I certainly wouldn’t want to change our position with Huddersfield who are level on points with us, but with an inferior goal difference. Their three remaining games are away at both Manchester City and Chelsea, with a final day at home to Arsenal.
It could be that we have enough points already, and I think that just one more will probably be enough, but that may not necessarily be the case with an unfortunate set of results. I just hope that we can achieve safety sooner rather than later, and I certainly wouldn’t want to go into the final fixture at home to Everton with the possibility of relegation still there. Everton have picked up in recent matches and have taken fourteen points from their last seven. Just imagine how Big Sam would relish that situation.
So where can we pick up any points in our final four games? Today will be the toughest task of all with bookmakers odds at 9/1 for us to win, and as long as 9/2 to even get a draw. If we do lose, and even wearing my optimistic hat I am afraid that is a likely outcome, then I hope that unlike their two most recent visits to us, they don’t inflict too much damage on our goal difference.
It would be absolutely brilliant to be walking back to Stratford station at 4.15 today with three points under our belt and almost certain safety. Stranger things have happened but if offered a draw now then we would surely bite the hand for it. But it is the most unlikely outcome of the game, and it looks as though we will need to get something from the last week of the season, either from our visit to Leicester, or from our final two home games against Manchester United or Everton.
Trust me, we will be OK.