Every Premier League relegation candidate’s run-in rated - including Leeds United, West Ham, and Everton

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We’ve taken a closer look all seven relegation candidates’ respective run-ins.

Crunch time. High noon. The business end. Whatever you want to call it, this Premier League campaign is quickly approaching its conclusion, and there are still several clubs nervously peering over their shoulders at the proverbial Sarlacc Pit of Championship football next season.

In a remarkably tight contest towards the foot of the table, just 10 points separate 20th and 14th, with three of seven set for the drop. (Wolves; we are putting an immense amount of trust in you here, please don’t make us look silly.)

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And so, with that in mind, we’ve taken a closer look at the final run of matches for Southampton, Leicester City, Nottingham Forest, Everton, Leeds United, West Ham, and Bournemouth, as well as rating just how rough they can expect their respetive run-ins to be.

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Southampton

Let’s take it from the top with the club at the bottom. The Saints are in trouble. Big, big trouble. They say that hope is the last thing to die, which in itself should terrify Southampton because they appear to have renounced any semblance of optimism entirely. They are, in short a pathetic, apathetic mess.

But what of their run-in? Well, let me tell you, it’s not good. With seven games to go, Ruben Selles’ side have to face Arsenal, Newcastle United, Brighton, and Liverpool. Yikes. Their remaining three matches come against a newly-electrified Bournemouth, unassuming surprise package Fulham, and fellow basket cases Nottingham Forest. It might be time for the Saints to start praying, if they haven’t already.

Run-in roughness rating: 8/10

Leicester City

Of all the teams that have been sucked into this relegation black hole at various points over the course of season, Leicester are, by some distance, the most baffling. Less than a year ago, the Foxes were in the semi-final of a European competition. Sure, it was the Conference League, but it still counts... just. Fast forward 12 months and they look like a wholly spent force, lacking in direction, guile, or inspiration. Brendan Rodgers has gone, Dean Smith has arrived, nothing is likely to change, and the abyss beckons.

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Their final batch of matches does offer a very, very faint glimmer of something like hope, however. The only current top six side they have to face are Newcastle United, and the only other genuine big gun in their path is Liverpool. Those two tests aside, they have Wolves, Leeds United, Everton, Fulham, and West Ham. Plenty of winnable matches, plenty of six-pointers. At this precise moment in time, however, Leicester don’t look capable of winning a coin toss.

Run-in roughness rating: 5/10

Nottingham Forest

Robin Hood must be spinning in his grave right now. All season long, Forest have made a habit of being very poor and giving every allowance they can to a number of clubs considerably richer than they are. Perhaps if they had a marksman as lethal as ol’ Locksley they wouldn’t be in this predicament. No team has scored fewer in the Premier League this term, and thanks to a gossamer backline, their goal difference of -32 is the worst in the division.

As for their run-in, it’s pretty gnarly. Liverpool, Brighton, Brentford, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Roy Hodgson’s free-scoring Crystal Palace are all likely to cause problems, but hey, at least they get to play Southampton! That small mercy aside, things do not look good.

Somebody call Sir David Attenborough; we might be about to see some serious deforestation.

Run-in roughness rating: 9/10

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Everton

The thought of Everton getting relegated this season is almost unimaginably absurd. I mean, after all this time and all those near misses, it couldn’t happen, could it? Surely not. Well, let me assure you dear reader, they said the same about the moon landings, and they said the same about the opening of a McDonald’s in Durham motorway services (a gleeful five-minute walk from my childhood home), and on both occasions, they were wrong. Very, very wrong.

The Toffees appear to pinning a lot of hope on the fact that they have Sean Dyche in charge, a man who laughs in the face of relegation, but who also played a principal role in Burnley’s relegation last season. The gravel-voiced manager is justifiably a cult hero of the Premier League, but whether he can get enough of a tune out of this lacklustre dressing room to keep Everton afloat remains to be seen.

Run-in-wise, the Blues have Newcastle United, Brighton, and Manchester City to contend with, but will be otherwise hopeful that they can scrape some positive results together against the likes of Crystal Palace, Leicester City, Wolves, and Bournemouth.

Run-in roughness rating: 6/10

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Leeds United

Leeds United have picked a bad time to get suddenly godawful. The Whites had shown some signs of progress under Javi Gracia, but imploded against Liverpool on Monday evening, and have now lost their last two matches by an aggregate score of 11-2. They are sinking fast.

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Upcoming games against Man City, Newcastle, and Tottenham have a daunting feel to them, but there is more optimism to be gleaned from clashes against the likes of Leicester, West Ham, and Bournemouth. Next up, however, is Fulham away, and a damaging result in that one could really set the tone for the remainder of their campaign.

Run-in roughness rating: 6/10

West Ham

Whatever happens to West Ham this season, whatever fate awaits them, there will be a post mortem in East London this summer. You see, this is not how their campaign was supposed to pan out. The Hammers, fresh off the back of an incredibly vibrant domestic and continental effort last term, were meant to expand and solidify. Instead, they have withered and crumbled.

In truth, it feels like there are absolutely three teams worse than David Moyes’ men in the division at present, but nothing is certain, and they will need to keep on picking up the points cement their top flight status. Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Leeds, Leicester City, and perhaps even Brentford should give them the chance to do just that, but Man City, Liverpool, and Man United will provide much sterner tests.

Run-in roughness rating: 6/10

Bournemouth

Credit where credit is due, had I written this article even a month ago, I probably would have gone in quite hard on Bournemouth. Up until recently, the Cherries looked devoid of any real survival instinct, but in the past few weeks they have turned things around to a genuinely admirable extent. Four wins in six have elevated them to 14th in the table, six points clear of danger, and if they can carve out another smattering of decent results, they might just be okay.

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West Ham, Southampton, Leeds, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Man United, and Everton stand in their way, in that order, and all things considered, you’d have to say that things could be a whole lot worse. Whisper it, but Bournemouth should survive from here.

Run-in roughness rating: 4/10

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