Hull City are in the biggest danger. They currently occupy the relegation places with 34 points, although one tiny crumb of comfort is that their goal difference of -18 is significantly better than Newcastle’s, should that become a factor.
Newcastle United are on 36 points with a goal difference of -25, so anything other than a Hull City win will see them relegated and their North East rivals survive.
The Magpies will also benefit from the support of celebrity spoon-bender Uri Geller
So the key question is can Hull beat Manchester United to give themselves hope?
A look at the form guide would suggest not. They have won only two of their last ten games, with two draws and six defeats. Not the ideal preparation for a winner-takes-all, do or die battle.
The only silver lining is that their opponents Man United are hardly in the greatest shape either. They won five games in a row from March to April, but since then have faltered: they’ve won only one of their last five, with back-to-back defeats to Chelsea, Everton and West Brom. Two of those losses were away games too….so Hull shouldn’t throw in the towel just yet.
Their preparations have been hampered by the suspension of midfielder Jake Livermore due to alleged cocaine use, but sometimes that can have a galvanising effect on the rest of the squad. If they can’t get motivated for a game of this magnitude then they shouldn’t be professional footballers in the first place.
If omens are your thing, then you’ll like to know that Man United have won all seven of their past Premier League meetings with Hull.
On the other hand, with the Red Devils having nothing to play for Louis van Gaal may take the opportunity to hand Premier League debuts to some of his young squad, such as the promising centre half Tom Thorpe. That could play into Hull’s hands.
Hull are priced from 11/5 to pull off an unlikely upset, with Man United 5/4. The draw can be backed at 23/10.
Doing the Unthinkable
If Hull can somehow win, then that heaps the pressure back onto Newcastle. With their inferior goal difference, they would have to defeat West Ham to ensure survival.
For a side that hasn’t won since February, that’s a tall order.
The Hammers are hardly blazing a trail of glory at the moment, having won just two of their last ten games, but this is likely to be Sam Allardyce’ last game in charge and they will want to go out on a high.
Interestingly, the bookies have Newcastle as short as 4/5 to beat West Ham on Sunday.
So there you have it: the Premier League fate of Hull City is in their own hands. If they beat Manchester United on May 24 they have a chance – a slim chance – of doing the unthinkable and staying up.
If they don’t, they can wave goodbye to millions of pounds and probably a large proportion of their players.
No pressure then!
BY: CRAIG SIMPKIN