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Premier League Battle For Survival

The battle to avoid the drop is boiling up to a fascinating finale. With just two fixtures remaining, six teams are still fighting to avoid the three relegation places.

Mathematically it is still possible for Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers to go down but both are six points clear of the relegation spots and with a superior goal difference. That leaves half a dozen clubs still in the mix as the survival struggle goes down to the wire.

West Bromwich Albion have been written off by pundits as relegation certainties for much of the season but they have given themselves a glimmer of hope after winning their last two home matches. Although they remain bottom on goal difference, they are level on points with Middlesbrough and two wins could lead to another unlikely Great Escape.

Boro manager Gareth Southgate has also set his side a target of back-to-back victories although their fate is no longer in their own hands following their 3-1 defeat at Newcastle United.

That first success for new manager Alan Shearer, lifted the Magpies above Hull City who have won just one of their last 20 league matches, a run which has brought 14 defeats. They have slipped into the bottom three for the first time this season and now face a tense climax to the campaign.

Hovering just above the bottom four and looking nervously over their shoulders are Sunderland and Portsmouth who meet at Fratton Park on Monday. Victory for either side would make them mathematically safe and leave the losers sweating on survival – although both may already have enough points.

The difficulty for all the teams is that no-one knows how many points it will take to survive.

REMAINING FIXTURES

HULL CITY
Bolton Wanderers (A) 16th May, Manchester United (H) 24th May.

MIDDLESBROUGH
Aston Villa (H) 16th May, West Ham United (A) 24th May.

NEWCASTLE UNITED
Fulham (H) 16th May, Aston Villa (A) 24th May.
PORTSMOUTH
Sunderland (H) 18th May, Wigan Athletic (A) 24th May.

SUNDERLAND
Portsmouth (A) 18th May, Chelsea (H) 24th May.

WEST BROMWICH ALBION
Liverpool (H) 17th May, Blackburn Rovers (A) 24th May.

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