Friday 10 February 2012
One glance at this weekend’s fixture list will tell you that for those clubs at the bottom of the Barclays Premier League, it is going to be no ordinary couple of days.
The battle to avoid the drop will be in sharp focus as all of the bottom six are playing each other in three matches that could go a long way towards deciding who will be relegated in May.
On Saturday, basement club Wigan travel to Bolton and second bottom Blackburn play Queens Park Rangers, while on Sunday there is the small matter of the Black Country derby between Wolves and West Brom.
We take a look at how each club is shaping up ahead of a crucial weekend:
Top scorer: Shane Long 6
Home record: W2 D2 L8 F9 A16 Pts 8
Away record: W5 D3 L4 F15 A18 Pts 18
Form: L Swansea, D Fulham, W Stoke, L Norwich, L Tottenham, L Everton
"I'm under no illusions about the importance of the game as far as our fans are concerned"
- Roy Hodgson
Next six League matches: Wolves (A), Sunderland (H), Chelsea (H), Man Utd (A), Wigan (A), Newcastle (H)
West Brom manager Roy Hodgson:
"If you want to stay ahead of the teams around you you've got to win matches. The more matches you win, the bigger that gap becomes.
"I'm under no illusions about the importance of the game as far as our fans and their fans are concerned. We'll be doing everything we can to prepare for it and hopefully give a good account of ourselves."
Top scorer: Heidar Helguson 8
Home record: W2 D4 L6 F13 A20 Pts 10
Away record: W3 D2 L7 F12 A21 Pts 11
Form: L Wolves, D Aston Villa, W Wigan, L Newcastle, L Norwich, L Arsenal
Next six League matches: Blackburn (A), Fulham (H), Everton (H), Bolton (A), Liverpool (H), Sunderland (A)
QPR manager Mark Hughes:
"We need to take points off the teams in and around us. We weren't able to do that last week against Wolves; a couple of weeks ago against Wigan we were.
"Blackburn are coming up at the weekend so they are big games, each and every one of them. We need to get back to hampering the teams in and around us and helping ourselves."
Top scorer: Steven Fletcher 9
Home record: W3 D2 L7 F16 A23 Pts 11
Away record: W2 D4 L6 F11 A21 Pts 10
Form: W QPR, L Liverpool, L Aston Villa, D Tottenham, L Chelsea, D Bolton
"Last week we were in the trenches fighting everyone and this week it's been calm"
- Mick McCarthy
Next six League matches: West Brom (H), Newcastle (A), Fulham (A), Blackburn (H), Man Utd (H), Norwich (A)
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy:
"We aren't fighting the world this week. It is nice to have that winning feeling back. Last week, it was like we were in the trenches fighting everybody and this week it has been quite calm and benign.
"In the main our performances have been good overall, and we know that if we can make it back-to-back wins, it will give everyone a huge lift."
Top scorer: Ivan Klasnic 7
Home record: W2 D2 L8 F14 A25 Pts 8
Away record: W4 D0 L8 F14 A24 Pts 12
Form: L Norwich, D Arsenal, W Liverpool, L Man Utd, W Everton, D Wolves
Next six League matches: Wigan (H), Chelsea (A), Man City (A), QPR (H), Aston Villa (A), Blackburn (H)
Bolton manager Owen Coyle:
"Every one of us will be desperate for the points for obvious reasons so there's no doubt that when it comes to the business end of the season these are the games that you're certainly looking to win and it can help your situation.
"What we don't want to happen is see all the good work we have done in the last couple of months come undone."
Top scorer: Yakubu 12
Home record: W3 D0 L9 F16 A24 Pts 9
Away record: W1 D6 L5 F18 A30 Pts 9
Form: L Arsenal, L Newcastle, D Everton, W Fulham, L Stoke, W Man Utd
"The lads know the pressure is on now because the clock is ticking"
- Steve Kean
Next six League matches: QPR (H), Man City (A), Aston Villa (H), Wolves (A), Sunderland (H), Bolton (A)
Blackburn manager Steve Kean:
"The pressure is on. We have not got many games left and we need to get to a position and points tally that is going to take us out of this zone we are in.
"The lads know that the pressure is on now because the clock is ticking. There is pressure to get a result against QPR and get a reaction to the defeat at Arsenal last weekend."
Top scorers: Franco Di Santo, Jordi Gomez 4
Home record: W1 D5 L6 F11 A22 Pts 8
Away record: W2 D2 L8 F10 A27 Pts 8
Form: D Everton, L Tottenham, L QPR, L Man City, L Sunderland, D Stoke
Next six League matches: Bolton (A), Aston Villa (H), Swansea (H), Norwich (A), West Brom (H), Liverpool (A)
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez:
"The real advantage that we have got is that we have been through this situation many, many times before, as a football club not just as a squad.
"From now till the end of the season they are really big cup finals that we need to approach in the manner that they need to be approached to get the points that we need to achieve our aim. I do feel that the football club is ready to do that once more."