The Premier League run-in: what to look out for with eight games to go – part 1

Will it be Reading, or Sunderland or both?
Going down – will it be Reading, Sunderland or both?

The 2012/13 is in its final stretch with still many things to fight for. Part one of this two-part analysis provides some talking points to consider over the final few weeks of the season –

  1. Will Sunderland go down?

With Martin O’Neil at the helm it would seem inconceivable that a team under his leadership could ever be relegated. However, things have not been going well for him and the black cats since Christmas, currently lying in fifteenth position and only four points above the bottom three, and few bad results will seem them slide quickly into the mire. He is too good a manager to have a team go down, sadly the same cannot be said about his current group of players.

2.     Who will be kings of London?

For the past few seasons, Chelsea have been undisputed champions as the best team in London, now with things looking decidedly shaky under Rafael Benitez, three teams are fighting for the crown – Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal. It may seem like a battle not worth fighting for, but to have the bragging rights in the capital over rival fans is a valuable thing indeed.

3.     Can anymore be said about QPR?

The QPR boys make the headlines every weekend, manager Harry Redknapp has done more interviews than Piers Morgan and we are still no closer to deciding if and how they can avoid the drop. The next couple of games are going to be crucial, and come the final day of the season it is quite possible that QPR will be relying on the results of the teams around them to get them out of trouble, than handling it themselves.

4.     What will happen to Reading?

Reading is one of those clubs whose fate is decided by the actions of their chairman. With ten games to go, the Chairman of Reading sacked manager Brian McDermott  – with Reading hot favorites to go down, at this stage, what manager wants to take over a club and have the word ‘relegation’ listed on his CV? It has been two weeks since the sacking and there are still no takers for the position.

We just have to hope Reading don’t go the same way as Wolves did last year. With a similar number of games to go, the Wolves Chairman sacked the manger and with no takers for the job put the assistant manager in charge until the end of the season. The new manager was utterly useless, Wolves were relegated and a year on they are facing a possible second relegation to League One.

5.     Will Manchester City be able to close the gap on Utd?

A fifteen-point lead at the top of the Premiership is almost unheard of. But with Manchester City showing no consistency what so ever and Manchester United grinding out wins the gap has yet to close. The two teams meet on April 8th in the Manchester derby for what has the potential to be the game of the season. But unless Manchester United spectacularly implode (and anything is possible) all Manchester City can hope for is to close the gap to ten points or less, anything less will just be embarrassing for the soon to be ex champions.

Part two will follow soon….

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