The race to avoid relegation has really heated up in recent weeks as the bottom three have all picked points that mean they could still get out of danger. And while it’s the three newly-promoted sides that occupy the bottom three at present and are favourites to make a swift return back to the Championship, Hull City could be the side in biggest danger of losing their Premier League status come the end of May.
For the majority of the season, Hull City have rarely been mentioned as possible candidates for the drop, and with a squad containing a number of talented established Premier League stars Steve Bruce was expected to comfortably guide them to safety once more.
But Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Swansea has left the Tigers in real trouble going into the final seven games, and they sit just two points ahead of Burnely and a resurgent Queen’s Park Rangers.
They sit bottom of the form table without a win in five games, and with no sign of their luck changing anytime soon fans of the club could be forgiven for feeling extremely anxious at the prospect of relegation.
And perhaps the most worrying part of it all is their fixture list over the next weeks that really will have alarm bells ringing. It’s safe to say Hull look in serious danger.
Bruce’s side have three games left in April, and it’s difficult to see them picking up many points given their current run of form. They travel to St Mary’s this weekend to face a Southampton side who will be desperate for a win to keep alive their faint hopes of Champions League qualification. They then welcome Liverpool to the KC Stadium, another side chasing the top four places who also will be in need of the three points.
You would say their final game of the month represented Hull’s best chance of picking up points when they visit Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace. But again this poses a hugely difficult task given the run of form the Eagles are on under new boss Alan Pardew as his side continue to climb the table. Their impressive victory over Manchester City on Monday has them showing no signs of letting up as the season draws to a close, and their aim of securing a top-half finish does little to suggest Hull can go there and win.
So conceivably they could enter May and the final four games without anymore points to their name, and unfortunately for them things don’t get any easier. They host the league’s in-form side Arsenal who may still have an outside shot at the title when the two sides meet, before what could be the pivotal game of Hull’s season.
Burnley are the visitors to the KC on 9th May, in a game that looks like it will have a huge bearing on the fate of both sides. Given the fact Burnley continue to pick up points, it could be a must win for the home side and maybe their only real opportunity for another victory this season.
By the time they travel to Tottenham the week after they may well find themselves in the bottom three. They will be hoping by that time that Spurs’ can no longer qualify for the Champions League which could make a difficult game slightly more winnable, before their season finishes with a visit from none other than Manchester United. Not the team you want to be playing if you need points on the final day.
The Red Devils could still be challenging for second place, or on the other hand may need points themselves to seal a top four spot. Either way it’s another tough ask for Hull.
So there you have it; worrying to say the least. A horrendous run of victories means it’s difficult to make a case for Hull beating the drop and remain above the chasing pack for much longer. They may well require two or three wins over the coming weeks to stay above QPR, Burnley and even Leicester who won at the weekend. But can you really see them doing that? I certainly can’t.
We all the Premier League can throw up some surprise results, particularly towards the end of the season when teams are fighting for their lives. And Hull have to take confidence from this and their recent defeat to Chelsea in order to give them the belief that they can stay up, otherwise their latest stay in the Premier League will reach it’s end once again after two seasons.