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Relegation battle examined: Who will maintain their Premier League status?
Southampton, Fulham and Huddersfield in relegation zone
Last Updated: 19/02/19 9:14pm
While Huddersfield and Fulham look stranded at the bottom of the Premier League table, only three points separate the six teams above them.
With 12 games left, we look at a number of the factors connected to the hopes and fears of those involved in this season's battle to stay in the top flight...
The points required for survival has dropped significantly in recent seasons - 34 points would have been enough to stay up last season, while over the last five campaigns an average of 35.4 points was sufficient. Compare that to the previous 18 seasons (1995-2013) when an average of 36.7 points was required to survive.
But only one team in Premier League history has stayed up on 34 points. In 2004/05, Bryan Robson's West Brom survived with that total when a final-day win for any of the three relegated clubs - Crystal Palace, Norwich and Southampton - would have seen them avoid the drop instead.
Fewest points won by teams staying up
Burnley's current run of seven games unbeaten may prove to be crucial as they look to have the trickiest run-in of any of the teams threatened by relegation.
The Clarets' future opponents have an average of 1.63 points per game and they are the only team among the bottom eight who still have five games left against the top six, including visits to Liverpool and Chelsea.
Huddersfield's fixtures also look tough - they have trips to Tottenham and Liverpool to come in April and are the only Premier League team without a single remaining home game against a team in the bottom eight.
|Team||Points per game of opponents||vs top six||vs bottom eight|
|Crystal Palace||1.32||2 home, 2 away||2 home, 3 away|
|Brighton||1.33||1 home, 3 away||4 home, 2 away|
|Newcastle||1.34||1 home, 1 away||4 home, 2 away|
|Fulham||1.40||3 home, 0 away||2 home, 1 away|
|Huddersfield||1.43||1 home, 2 away||0 home, 4 away|
|Southampton||1.47||2 home, 2 away||2 home, 2 away|
|Cardiff||1.55||2 home, 2 away||1 home, 3 away|
|Burnley||1.63||3 home, 2 away||2 home, 1 away|
In fact, the greatest escape in Premier League history would be required for Huddersfield to extend their two-season stay in the top division.
There is no precedent for a team surviving from Huddersfield's current situation of 14 points from safety with 12 games left. However, one more point will at least see them avoid the ignominy of equalling Derby's all-time low of 11 Premier League points, set in 2007/08.
Fulham's current position of 19th and eight points from safety also looks dire, although there are one or two instances in Premier League history of teams rescuing themselves from similar situations, most notably West Ham in 2006/07 who were 10 points from safety in mid-March. It took a Carlos Tevez-inspired run of seven wins from their final nine games to get out of trouble.
Stayed up when 6+ points adrift with 10 or fewer games remaining
|Bradford||1999/00||6 pts from safety, 5 to play||W3 D1 L1|
|Portsmouth||2005/06||8 pts from safety, 10 to play||W6 D2 L2|
|West Ham||2006/07||10 pts from safety, 9 to play||W7 D0 L2|
|Fulham||2007/08||6 pts from safety, 5 to play||W4 D0 L1|
|Sunderland||2013/14||7 pts from safety, 6 to play||W4 D1 L1|
|Leicester||2014/15||6pts from safety, 9 to play||W7 D1 L1|
In three seasons prior to this one, seven of nine teams relegated from the Premier League changed their manager during the season - the exceptions were Alex Neil at Norwich in 2015/16 and David Moyes at Sunderland in 2016/17. However, there are also examples of when switching manager in the fight for survival can be beneficial.
On four occasions in Premier League history, a club have changed manager after Christmas when in the relegation zone and gone on to survive - most recently when Paul Clement rescued Swansea two seasons ago, albeit with over half the games left to play.
Changing manager after Christmas in relegation zone and stayed up
|Club||Season||Sacked||Position when sacked||Games remaining||Replacement||Finishing position|
On the flip side, there is one instance in Premier League history when a club have changed manager after Christmas while outside of the relegation zone before eventually going down.
In April 2014, Norwich were 17th and five points clear of the bottom three when Chris Hughton was sacked and replaced by Neil Adams. The Canaries only took one more point that season while Sunderland took 13 points in the same period under Gus Poyet to pull off their great escape.
While points against the top clubs can be seen as a bonus in a relegation battle, the head-to-head meetings between teams involved in the survival scrap can be make or break.
Crystal Palace have the best record against fellow bottom eight teams so far this season, taking an average of 1.67 points per game in those matches compared to 0.71 points per game against everyone else.
However, only taking into consideration results between the six teams separated by three points between 13th and 18th, the Eagles only have one win - at home to Burnley - and one point per game on average.
Burnley themselves can be hugely encouraged by their recent form in these head-to-head clashes - they have taken 13 points from the last 15 available when they have faced another of the bottom eight clubs.
Head to head among bottom eight
Huddersfield could become the ninth club in Premier League history to be relegated in their second season after promotion, and the first for four seasons since Hull in 2014/15.
After securing survival with one game to spare last season, Huddersfield look set to follow the pattern of narrowly staying up in their first season followed by relegation in the second - Bradford, West Brom, Hull and QPR fans have all experienced that in the past.
Should Fulham and Cardiff both somehow dig their way out of trouble, this season would be only the fourth in Premier League history to see all of the promoted clubs survive - most recently it happened last season when Newcastle, Brighton and Huddersfield secured safety a year after coming up together from the Championship.
Relegated in second PL season after promotion
|Team||Relegated||Previous PL season|