Aston Villa, Watford and Bournemouth all enter Sunday’s final day of the Premier League season facing the dreaded spectre of relegation, but by the end of the afternoon one of that trio will have survived.
Going into final final round of matches in the coronavirus-delayed campaign, only Daniel Farke’s Norwich City know that they will definitely be playing their football in the Championship next season.
And of the other teams who could join them, it is Aston Villa who possess the best chance of staying up.
Villa’s 1-0 win at home to Arsenal on Tuesday has put their fate in their own hands, and they head to West Ham – who only secured their safety with a draw at Manchester United on Wednesday – with their heads above water.
Dean Smith’s side possess a better goal difference than the Watford outfit they sit above in the table, and given that they have scored more goals too then the Hornets find themselves in a very tricky position.
If Watford – who are away at Arsenal – can better Villa’s result (Watford win – Villa draw, or Watford draw – Villa loss) then they will stay up, but if Villa win then the Hornets are going to have to win by two goals more than Smith’s men.
In other words, if Villa beat West Ham 1-0 then Watford would have to beat Arsenal 3-0 to climb out of the relegation zone, and if Villa won 2-0 then Watford need to win 4-0, and so on.
17. Aston Villa – P 37, Pts: 34 (GD: -26)
18. Watford – P 37, Pts: 34 (GD: -27)
19. Bournemouth – P 37, Pts: 31 (GD: -27)
R. Norwich – P 37, Pts: 21 (GD: -44)
For Bournemouth the equation is a lot simpler.
Eddie Howe’s side go to Everton knowing that the only hope they have of surviving is that if both Aston Villa and Watford lose their matches by any score.
Only then would the Cherries have a chance of staying up, which they would do with a win by any score at Goodison Park in this scenario.
Any other set of results sends them down to the Championship for the first time since 2015.