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The relegation battle: What each club needs on the final day

28 May 2023
RELEGATION-BATTLE-NEW

Everton, Leicester or Leeds. Who will secure the final place in the Premier League for next season?

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The relegation battle is going down to the wire, and it could all come down to goal difference.

Two teams from Everton, Leicester City and Leeds United will join already-relegated Southampton in the Championship next season.

We take a look at the three teams heading into a nerve-wracking final day, and the results they need to achieve safety.

Relegation battle

Position Pos Club Played Pl GD Points Pts
17 Everton EVE 38 -23 36
18 Leicester City LEI 38 -17 34
19 Leeds United LEE 38 -30 31
20 Southampton SOU 38 -37 25
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Everton

The challenge for Everton is quite simple - beat AFC Bournemouth at home and their Premier League status is secure regardless of results elsewhere.

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On paper, Sean Dyche's side are in the strongest position, sitting two points clear of the bottom three and playing in front of a raucous Goodison Park crowd.

The potential loss of forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin to injury could be a big blow for an Everton side who moved out of the relegation zone earlier this month with a 2-2 draw at Leicester and sensational 5-1 win over Europe-bound Brighton & Hove Albion.

While the Toffees then suffered a  3-0 home defeat against Manchester City, Yerry Mina's late, late goal that earned a 1-1 draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers last time out epitomised the battling qualities that Dyche is demanding for one last push this Sunday.

“The main thing for me is the mentality,” Dyche told the club's official website.

“I can’t enhance on that enough. We changed the shape three or four times in the second half [at Wolves] and we’re asking a lot of the players to keep changing. They were clear-minded, and they just kept going and going.   

“We got what could be a big point, but we’ve got to reinforce that by going again this week. It’s within us to take care of ourselves and that’s what we’re going to do.”

When they last met: AFC Bournemouth 3-0 Everton

Leicester City

Dean Smith has promised that Leicester will go into their must-win home match against West Ham United with "all guns blazing" as they look for a final-day miracle.

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Monday night's 0-0 draw at third-placed Newcastle United means the Foxes' fate is now out of their own hands.

For Leicester to stay up they must beat the Hammers and hope that Everton draw or lose against Bournemouth.

Anything less than three points for the Foxes would not be enough. But if Leicester win and Everton draw, the two clubs would finish level on points, and Leicester would stay up on goal difference.

While Leeds are level on points with Leicester, Smith's side have a nine-goal superior goal difference, so a win should ensure they finish above the Whites.

When they last met: West Ham 0-2 Leicester

"We need to win," Smith told the club's official website. "We’ve hopefully put some added pressure on to Everton, who need to win as well, if we win.

"I always said it may come down to goal difference and let’s hope it does as that’ll mean they haven’t won their game and, if they’ve drawn, that’s not enough for them.

"We’ve got to go out all guns blazing and we’ve got to find that balance between not going too open and adventurous – making it easier for a strong West Ham team to score."

Leicester will be encouraged by their clean sheet against Newcastle - their first in 22 matches - and the fact that their previous shutout came against West Ham. 

Leeds United

Leeds also have to win to stand any chance of extending their three-year stay in the Premier League, as they host Tottenham Hotspur.

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The Whites are also relying on both Everton and Leicester to draw or lose.

If Leeds win and Leicester fail to do so then Leeds would move above the Foxes. And if those results are combined with an Everton defeat then Leeds would be safe, with more points than their rivals.

If Leeds win, Leicester fail to do so and Everton draw, then Leeds would have to beat Spurs by three clear goals. Leeds would then match Everton for both points and goal difference, and stay up because they have scored more goals over the season.

When they last met: Spurs 4-3 Leeds

According to head coach Sam Allardyce, brought in on a short-term deal three matches ago, Leeds need a "miracle" to avoid relegation. Yet he feels it's the perfect time to face an out-of-sorts Spurs side.

"We have to keep going, we have to lift the spirits," Allardyce told the club's official website. "They have to accept the criticism because they have to understand the need to get better. It's constructive criticism.

"Going forward it should show a little bit more of what we did against Newcastle, but not the mistakes we made [against West Ham] and hopefully, perhaps, we can get a win. Tottenham are not at their best at this minute and we'll have to try and take advantage of that. 

"We've got to try and lift everybody up to give that last performance and win in front of our own crowd. We've got to do it [win] first and see what happens. It's happened before and it can happen again."

Leeds could be without striker Patrick Bamford, who hobbled off with an injury in Sunday's 3-1 defeat at West Ham.

"We'll have to wait and see," added Allardyce. "If it is his hamstring it's probably unlikely [he'll feature]."

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