Leicester City are now in the relegation zone after Nottingham Forest and Everton picked up three points this past weekend. This moved the Foxes into the relegation zone and two points behind Everton. Will Dean Smith be able to overcome to the odds and lead Leicester to safety? Let’s take a look at the bottom five in the table.
Southampton - 24 Points (-33 GD)
Remaining opponents: Fulham - Brighton - Liverpool
The Saints are all but mathematically relegated to the Championship with three matches remaining. Southampton have the worst goal differential in the league and will likely need to pick up wins in all remaining fixtures to avoid relegation. While Fulham are playing for pride and may field a weaker squad, Brighton and Liverpool are locked in a battle for Champions League and Europa League qualification next season and will field their best teams. It is hard to imagine Southampton picking up more than a point in the remaining three games.
Leeds - 30 Points (-30 GD)
Remaining opponents: Newcastle United - West Ham United - Tottenham
Leeds face perhaps the most daunting final three games. All of their remaining opponents have something to play for. Similarly to Southampton, Newcastle United and Tottenham are also fighting for European qualification next season. Furthermore, West Ham will likely not be mathematically safe when Leeds visit London Stadium. Ultimately, Leeds will be hard pressed to pick up victory the rest of the season and will likely be relegated.
Leicester City - 30 Points (-15 GD)
Remaining opponents: Liverpool - Newcastle United - West Ham United
The Foxes are now favorites to be relegated and it is easy to see why. Again, Liverpool and Newcastle are in a fight for Europe and are in top form. However, Leicester may see a reprieve with West Ham as their final game of the season. The Hammers are currently in the Europa Conference League semi-finals and may be resting their squad for the Final and they are mathematically secure after their aforementioned game against Leeds. Furthermore, Leicester hold the best goal differential of the bottom five. If they make it to 33 points and Everton and Nottingham Forest drop points, they will likely go through on goal differential.
Everton - 32 Points (-21 GD)
Remaining opponents: Manchester City - Wolves - Bournemouth
While it is not a given that Everton will pick up points in the final three matches, they have the best chance to. The Toffies have the easiest remaining schedule of the teams in the relegation battle. While they face a daunting task against Manchester City and Erling Haaland, they finish their schedule against Wolves and Bournemouth who are mathematically secure and sit 13th and 14th respectively.
Nottingham Forest - 33 Points (-31 GD)
Remaining opponents: Chelsea - Arsenal - Crystal Palace
Forest were an afterthought three weeks ago. Winless since February, the Reds pulled off victories in two of their last three and are now three points clear of the relegation zone. However, they have a peculiar final schedule.
The easiest matchup to analyze is the Gunners trip to City Ground. Arsenal are locked in a title race with Manchester City and cannot drop points the rest of the season if they want to lift the title.
Meanwhile, crosstown rivals Chelsea as a club having nothing to play for, but their players certainly do. Chelsea spent over €600,000,000 on 16 players this season. Despite this unprecedented investment from new ownership, Chelsea currently sit in the bottom half of the table. With over 30 senior team players and improvements clearly needing to be made, Chelsea are rumored to be selling numerous high profile players when the transfer window opens. This will be many Chelsea players final chance to impress new ownership and prove they are not surplus to the current project.
Forest’s best chance at points in the final three comes against Crystal Palace, who they beat earlier in the season. If it comes down to the final day, Forest will likely need points in this game as they sport the leagues second worst goal differential that may get significantly worse after their matches against Arsenal and Chelsea. Ultimately, Forest likely only need one point for safety.
Leicester City will likely be relegated to the Championship. For the Foxes to remain in the Premier League, they will likely need to reach 33 points and secure safety on goal differential. The three points are most likely to come from a victory against West Ham assuming they are mathematically secure and resting their squad ahead of the Conference League Final.
Even if Leicester find themselves at 33 points, they will also need Everton and Forest to falter. Leicester are relying on Everton to only take one point from their two matchups against Wolves and Bournemouth and crossing their fingers that Crystal Palace and Chelsea shake their poor form to deny the Reds any points.
My final table prediction -
Everton 35 Points
Nottingham Forest - 34 Points
Leicester City - 33 Points (Relegated)
Leeds - 31 Points (Relegated)
Southampton - 25 Points (Relegated)