In Focus: The Fight to Retain Premier League Status

In less than a month, three Premier League teams will be relegated to the Championship.

Norwich and Watford appear fairly set to descend to the second tier, leaving the other teams competing for the final berth.

We analyze the top-flight survival battle after a brilliant week for Burnley and a disastrous one for Everton.

Toffees’ perilous situation
Dropping into the bottom three with six games left puts Everton’s 68-year run in the Premier League in peril.

Rafa Benitez was a dud in the Goodison Park dugout earlier this season, but Frank Lampard has done little to improve the Toffees since his January appointment, and there are genuine doubts about whether he was the appropriate man for the position.

There is no doubt that the Merseysiders have the quality upfront to keep them out of the relegation zone, but falling into the relegation zone will have given the players a scare.

Lampard, 43, is adamantly opposed: “It makes no difference to me since I expected them [Burnley] to get a result today. We have six games to their five. We’ll strive to score as many points as possible.

“That leaves us and Burnley, with Leeds maybe entering the picture because of their current position.

“We must not become engrossed in the game of what everyone else is doing. For the next six games, we must completely focus on ourselves.”

But it’s difficult for Everton supporters and players not to be concerned by Burnley’s revival following Sean Dyche’s dismissal.

Many criticized the move, but it now appears inspired, with Under-23s manager Mike Jackson leading the Clarets to seven points in three games.

Burnley’s team is no stranger to relegation dogfights; they’ve been in similar positions previously.

Jackson, the caretaker manager, stated: “We have a good score, and everything is built around it. I wouldn’t trade the team spirit that we have in this group for anything.

“I’m overjoyed for the group and everyone involved. We’re enjoying the challenge of these games, and that’s how we’re going to look at it now: where can we develop and get better, and that’s where we want to go.”

Schedule of events
On paper, Burnley has an easier run-in than Everton, as they face opponents with an average rank of 12.6 in the league, compared to 10.33 for the Blues.

The Lancashire clubface Watford this Saturday and still have to face a stuttering Aston Villa twice, as well as a trip to Champions League-chasing Tottenham and a final-day task at up-and-coming Newcastle.

Meanwhile, Lampard’s team faces Chelsea on Sunday and Arsenal on the last day in a difficult sequence of fixtures.

They, too, must travel to Vicarage Road, as well as play games against Leicester, Brentford, and Crystal Palace.

With a look at the schedule, it’s clear to see why Lampard was so keen to emphasize Leeds as still being in the hunt.

The 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace last night put them five points ahead of Everton and three ahead of Burnley, but their next three games are against Manchester City, Arsenal, and Chelsea.

When faced with the same set of games in December, Leeds failed to pick up a single point while conceding 14 goals.

That is why, despite picking up 11 points in five games, West Yorkshire is tense.

Their remaining two games, at Brentford and at home to away-day specialists Brighton, will be difficult as well.

Former Whites winger Harry Kewell described the predicament as “frightening,” admitting that he would rather be in Burnley’s shoes.

The 43-year-old Australian stated: “It’s terrifying to behold. It’s a little upsetting since they’re a terrific club that has worked so hard to be where they are.

“But, based on their encounter, I’d be thrilled to be in Burnley’s shoes right now.

“The new manager has a few wins under his belt, and the momentum is building. They have a tough run-in with Everton and Leeds, and it will be difficult.”

Turns and twists
Given the results of recent games, it is impossible to anticipate what will happen in the next four weeks.

Burnley will be in a terrific position if they can pick up three more points from Hertfordshire this weekend, while their nearest competitors play two of the Premier League’s top three.

But if they don’t, if they stay close to the Toffees and watch Lampard’s team win against his former club, the scenario might change dramatically.

Whatever happens, the battle for Premier League survival appears to be going down to the wire.

 

The Premier League Golden Boot race is in focus.

Mohamed Salah appears likely to break away from his nearest opponents in the Premier League Golden Boot race as Liverpool bids to bring in leaders Manchester City.

The Egyptian has 22 goals for the Reds this season, five more than Tottenham striker Heung-Min Son.

Is it, however, a foregone conclusion that Salah will win the award again next month? The runners and riders are evaluated.

Egyptian king seeks the throne
Salah is expected to continue to lead the charts and win his third Golden Boot in just five seasons at Liverpool.

He started the season on a high note, scoring 10 goals in his first nine games, including a hat-trick against Manchester United.

Despite missing two games for the Africa Cup of Nations, the Reds’ No11 has maintained his scoring touch, scoring braces in the 6-0 win over Leeds and the 4-0 thrashing of United.

Fernando Torres, a former Kop hero, recently stated: “When players win medals at the same time, you usually talk about individual prizes for them.

“But, in the last five or six years, I believe he has been one of the world’s top two or three players. The consistency is incredible.”

Son scored nine goals in 11 games after returning from a hamstring injury but has gone scoreless in his last two appearances.

If he wants to remain in contention, the South Korean will need to recreate his excellent combination with Harry Kane and Dejan Kulusevski.

Cristiano Ronaldo is a goal striker who is a goal striker who is a goal striker is a striker who is Recent hat-tricks against Tottenham and Norwich have kept the Portuguese legend in contention, but he will need a massive performance in the final four league games to overtake Salah.

In recent seasons, Liverpool has frequently had two players competing for the Golden Boot, and Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane have once again produced impressive goal totals.

With 13 goals, Jota remains one of the Premier League’s finest purchases in the last decade.

Having scored one fewer goal than his Anfield teammate, Mane has already hit double figures for the second time this season and is on track for another solid goal total.

Kane and Ivan Toney, both from London, are tied for 12 league goals, but they’ve left it too late to follow Salah.

Even beyond the abundance of names already listed, there are a plethora of gamers who regularly connect to the internet.

Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez continue to cause difficulties for defenses, while Bukayo Saka and Wilfried Zaha are having a good time in the capital.

However, Salah’s position at the top of the goalscoring column remains unrivaled, and the Anfield hero is poised to win this competition once more.

 

Ramsey extends his contract with Villa until 2027.

Jacob Ramsey’s contract with Aston Villa has been extended until 2027.

Ramsey, who made 22 league games for Villa in 2020-21, has now made 30 this season and has been a bright spot in an otherwise lackluster season.

Ramsey, 20 years old, stated: “It’s a moment of pride for me, especially for my family.

“I’ve been here for a long time and have progressed through the academy, so signing for another five years at this club is a dream come true for me.

“I can’t thank everyone enough for their assistance in getting me to this stage.

“It’s been great. I’ve had my ups and downs, but that’s all part of the experience, and I feel like I’ve been playing well this season, so it’s wonderful to be rewarded with a new deal.”

Ramsey has played 75% of Villa’s available Premier League minutes this season, ranking third among the team’s midfielders in both successful passes (32.83) and tackles earned (1.55) per 90 minutes.

The Villans youth product scored his first Premier League goal against Arsenal last October and has since added five more, including a brace against Leeds in February.

On Saturday, Steven Gerrard’s team will face Norwich.

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