Sunderland, Newcastle, Norwich City and Aston Villa: Relegation predictions
By Patrick Surlis
Last Updated: 15/03/16 2:38pm
As the battle for Premier League survival heads towards a dramatic climax, Davie Provan and Ray Wilkins offer their predictions on which sides are destined for relegation to the Championship.
Newcastle, who suffered defeat in Rafa Benitez's first game in charge against Leicester on Monday Night Football, find themselves second bottom with nine matches remaining.
Sunderland, who also have nine games left to play, and Norwich sit one point above Newcastle, while Aston Villa remain rooted to the bottom of the table, nine points off safety.
So who will beat the drop? Provan and Wilkins gave us their predictions on Sky Sports News HQ...
Provan and Wilkins believe Sam Allardyce's side will take a point from the Tyne-Wear derby on Sunday, a game shown live on Sky Sports, and follow that up with a home victory over West Brom to boost their survival hopes.
But that's where things get nervy for the Black Cats as Provan believes they will win just once more before the end of the season. He predicts that win will come at home against Everton in a fixture that is yet to be rearranged due to the Toffee's FA Cup progress.
Provan thinks Benitez will earn his first point as Newcastle boss in the Tyne-Wear derby, but the former Real Madrid boss will have to wait until his side to host Swansea at St James' Park on April 16 for his first win in charge.
In fact, Newcastle are tipped to win just twice under Benitez before the end of the season.
Wilkins can't see another victory for Norwich before the end of the campaign, with key home games against relegation rivals Newcastle and Sunderland tipped to end in draws.
The former Chelsea assistant believes Norwich will pick up just three more points from their final eight games.
It's an unforgiving fixture list for Villa, and Wilkins predicts defeats to come against Swansea, Manchester United, Chelsea, Watford and Arsenal.
But they will earn their single victory on the penultimate weekend of the season, according to Wilkins, who fancies Remi Garde's side to dent Newcastle's survival bid with a win against the Magpies at Villa Park.
How will it finish?
If Wilkins and Provan's predictions prove correct, Sunderland will finish three points clear of rivals Newcastle. Norwich will finish five points further back in 19th, with Aston Villa stranded another seven behind at the bottom.