The race for Premier League survival has taken another significant turn with Sunderland seeing the positive effect of Paulo Di Canio’s management with a resounding, and thumping, 3-0 victory over fierce local rivals Newcastle.
That result, and the manner in which they went about their business, has done wonders for their hopes of staying up and they are now as big as 5/1 to face the drop into the Championship.
However, fixtures against two of their main relegation rivals – Stoke and Aston Villa – as well as Europe-chasing Everton and Tottenham inside the next few weeks will surely define where the north-east side finish in the final standings.
In contrast, dropped points for Aston Villa and Stoke keep them firmly in the relegation scrap. Like Sunderland, 17th placed Villa also face fixtures against their main relegation rivals, with games against Wigan and Sunderland as well as champions elect Manchester United and Chelsea. They can be backed at 5/2.
Freefalling Stoke, having been defeated 2-0 by Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, have the easiest of the fixtures in the run-in, with games against QPR, Norwich and Southampton in the upcoming weeks. Their odds are reflected in their immediate challenges and can be found at 9/2.
Current incumbents of the final relegation spot, Wigan, are finding a good streak of form just at the most vital time. A comprehensive FA Cup semi-final victory over Millwall at Wembley will surely add confidence to an increasingly buoyant camp.
How much of a distraction the fight for starting places back at Wembley will be for the Latics players remains to be seen, but with two games in hand over their rivals at the foot of the table, and with a three point deficit to the safety of 17th place at present, Roberto Martinez’s side are now 11/8 to drop into the Football League.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.