Who will be relegated from the Premier League and promoted from the Championship? The Soccer Saturday pundits give their verdicts
Last Updated: 15/03/18 8:28pm
There may be a depleted Premier League programme this weekend, but it still looks a crucial one in deciding who will be in the top flight next season.
Five of the bottom eight sides are in action on Saturday, while there's a full fixture list in the Sky Bet Championship, including Sunday's crucial clash between Derby County and Cardiff City, live on Sky Sports Football.
So with the battle to be in the Premier League hotting up, we challenged the Soccer Saturday pundits to predict who be on their way up and who will be on their way down come the end of the season...
Three up: Wolves, Cardiff, Fulham (6/4 with Sky Bet)
Wolves are going to do it, they're coming up. Their victory over Reading, coupled with Aston Villa's shock defeat, means they are all but certain of going up.
Cardiff are not going away. People underestimate how good they are, they don't get the credit they deserve. Their result at Brentford in midweek was massive and moved them seven clear of Villa in third.
After those two, it's an absolute lottery between Villa, Fulham and Middlesbrough. Villa probably have to concentrate on the play-offs, so knowing that could give them time to rest a few players, while it would take a brave man to back against Boro and Tony Pulis, especially as they seem to be finding their form.
Derby have had a nightmare, but if they get into the play-offs it's a free swing because they haven't looked like going up for five weeks or so. But if I had to commit to one club, it would be Fulham. They have all of the momentum and I don't see them losing their home game in the play-offs, given their current form.
Three down: West Brom, Huddersfield, Southampton (16/1 with Sky Bet)
West Brom are down. I still think Huddersfield will go down, their league position - just four points above the drop zone - is deceiving. I watched them play against 10 men last week and they couldn't break them down, so that doesn't bode well.
It's impossible to say who will go for sure, because a lot depends on the timing of the fixtures and whether the big clubs play them ahead of Champions League or FA Cup ties. It's all about timing.
For Southampton to lose 3-0 at Newcastle was worrying. Five of their last eight games are away from home against teams around them, so I think they will go too.
Three up: Wolves, Cardiff, Middlesbrough (9/2 with Sky Bet)
I can't see Wolves throwing it away. I know Cardiff have got Wolves to come and Derby away on Sunday, which is a toughie and they could drop points there, but I do think they'll go up though after seeing Villa still have issues with their QPR defeat.
I'm not sure there's an outsider to sneak into the play-offs so, while I know Fulham are the form team, you've got to time your run well. I'm going for Middlesbrough to do that with Tony Pulis starting to get the best out of Adama Traore and showing the required trust to get the best out of Patrick Bamford, while he's sorted out the defence as you'd expect.
Three down: West Brom, Huddersfield, West Ham (16/1 with Sky Bet)
I agree that West Brom have gone, not many would argue with that right now. Then, given I'm going for Crystal Palace to beat them this weekend, my next team is Huddersfield.
Finally, after the embarrassing scenes last weekend, West Ham are my third side to face the drop. The atmosphere at that club is toxic right now and it is going to be very difficult to turn that around before the end of the season.
Three up: Wolves, Cardiff and Aston Villa (11/5 with Sky Bet)
It's a huge game on Sunday, but I do think that Cardiff will hold on to their place in the automatic promotion places alongside Wolves.
Then anything can happen in the play-offs and I know it was a bad result against QPR, but I think Aston Villa have too much quality for the others when it comes to delivering when it really matters.
Three down: West Brom, Southampton, Huddersfield (16/1 with Sky Bet)
It will probably be different next week, but these three are based on the form we've seen over the last weeks.
I covered Southampton last week and they were absolutely dreadful. They didn't look threatening, they didn't look like they could defend, they were all over the place and I think they are six games too late in appointing Mark Hughes to have a real chance of turning this around.
Matt Le Tissier
Three up: Wolves, Cardiff, Fulham (6/4 with Sky Bet)
Can't see Warnock blowing that advantage, he's such a wily character. Fulham by the play-offs. They're a really decent run, Target has done well, Sessengon is a great talent, Cairney has the quality in the middle and Mitrovic is on fire.
Three down: West Brom, Stoke, Huddersfield ( 6/1with Sky Bet)
I'll complete the full house with West Brom, then I'm going for Stoke and Huddersfield. I'm expecting a bit of a new manager bounce from Mark Hughes and the next league game is absolutely massive for us against West Ham, which will hopefully drop them further in it. Stoke are difficult to beat, but they're simply struggling to win games and you wonder where the goals are going to come from. Whereas we've got Charlie Austin to come back and save us!
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