As the end of the 2023-24 season creeps closer, we look at the remaining fixtures of all seven clubs in the Premier League relegation battle to see who might have the kindest run-in.

Just when we thought the Premier League relegation battle couldn’t get any more gripping, Everton were deducted another couple of points on Monday. While that wasn’t exactly enough to nudge them into the pit of despair that is the bottom three, it’s fair to say it was a hefty blow.

Had they not beaten fellow strugglers Burnley at the weekend, Everton’s second points deduction of the season would have seen them slip into the relegation zone. So, although they sit two points clear and have a game in hand, there’s no doubt it’s all getting a bit tense down there.

In Monday’s update to relegation probabilities as determined by the Opta supercomputer, Luton Town had been the biggest winners when taking into consideration the weekend’s results and Everton’s latest sanction. The Hatters’ chances of going down decreased by 20.1 percentage points, meaning they were relegated in 59.1% of the 10,000 season simulations as opposed to 79.2% last Friday.

But when we look at how likely it is for x team or y team to get relegated, it’s always instructive to also consider who each team plays during the final weeks of the season. As the number of remaining games gets smaller, it becomes easier to pinpoint ‘hard’ fixture schedules or vice versa.

We can use the Opta Power Rankings to help quantify the difficulty of each team’s run-in, taking the average team rating of every side that the bottom seven clubs still have to play. Obviously, with them all having six or seven games left, each team has potentially problematic fixtures, and just because one match is deemed easier/harder doesn’t mean the result is a given. But the data helps illustrate who might have cause for concern.

Premier League relegation battle - The Run-In
Jonathan Manuel / Data Analyst

Crystal Palace

As it happens, the team furthest from the relegation zone are the ones deemed to have the toughest run-in; Crystal Palace have seven games left and the average team rating of their opponents is 89.1. So, while they are five points clear of the bottom three, the Opta supercomputer suggests that gap could get tighter.

It doesn’t get any easier after their loss to Manchester City on Saturday, as their next assignment is away to Liverpool, who themselves are desperately seeking points as they look to keep their title challenge on track.

No one will be expecting Palace to pick up a positive result there, and they’ve also got to play Newcastle United, Manchester United and Aston Villa, the latter of whom could still be battling to confirm Champions League qualification when they meet on the final day. But the caveat to the tricky end to the season facing Oliver Glasner’s men is, after the trip to Anfield, only two of their final six games are away from home.

Luton Town

If Luton do manage to cling on to their Premier League status this season, there’ll be those who point to their ‘luck’ in seeing Everton and Forest hit with points deductions; after all, had those not been dished out, Luton would be four points adrift of safety right now rather than only being in the bottom three on goal difference.

Their run-in is interesting, though. While the supercomputer rates it as second hardest behind Palace’s with an average team rating of 88.0 for their opponents, that is obviously pushed up significantly by Manchester City, who are the top-ranked side in the Opta Power Rankings and the team they face in their next game at the Etihad Stadium.

Otherwise, Rob Edwards will likely look at their final five fixtures with optimism, confident of getting results against Brentford (H), Wolves (A), Everton (H), West Ham (A) and Fulham (H), especially for those games at Kenilworth Road.


Of the teams in the relegation battle, it’s fair to say no one has a more polarising run-in than Everton. It’s going to be fascinating to see how they do because it will push them to their limits both mentally and physically.

The average team rating of their opponents might be slightly lower than that of Luton’s, coming in at 87.0, but there’s no doubt they’re in for a difficult few weeks.

A run of three games against Brentford (H), Luton (A) and Sheffield United (H) before their final match of the season will be vital, and they also face Nottingham Forest (H) on 21 April in the unofficial points deduction derby.

But on the flip side, Chelsea at Stamford Bridge is a difficult one to read because of how erratic Mauricio Pochettino’s men are, and the Toffees also have to host Liverpool in the Merseyside derby and go to Arsenal on the final day of the campaign when the Gunners could still be fighting for the title.

It’s also worth pointing out that there’s no guarantee the matches against their fellow strugglers will be straightforward. Such will be the importance of those games, they may be determined by whichever team handles the pressure best.

Everton have never been relegated from the Premier League, so it’s within reason to say the pressure is on them the most.


According to the Opta supercomputer, Burnley have been as good as relegated for weeks now. In the latest season projections, they went down in 98.1% of the 10,000 simulations, so some might suggest looking at their run-in is irrelevant even if it’s deemed easier (86.6) than those of Palace, Luton and Everton.

There’s a six-point gap from them to Luton, and that can be a difficult deficit to make up at this stage of the season even if you’re on a hot streak.

Burnley at least don’t face any of the (current) top four before the end of the campaign, and they’ve still got to go to Sheffield United and tussle with Forest (H) in a potential relegation six-pointer on the final day of the season. But a run of Manchester United (A), Newcastle (H) and Tottenham (A) in succession seems likely to end their resistance.

Nottingham Forest

In the latest season predictions by the Opta supercomputer, Forest went down 33.6% of the time; while Palace (2.4%), Everton (6.1%) and Brentford (1.5%) are only given outside chances of being relegated at the moment, the projection model clearly sees it as a shootout between Forest and Luton for that 17th spot.

Premier League relegation race

Those two don’t play each other again before the end of the season, though Forest do face Everton, the Blades and Burnley all away from home. It’s difficult to know whether that’s a good thing or not, though the average team rating of those they still have to face is 86.3, meaning their run-in is – theoretically – more straightforward than four of their relegation rivals.

Nevertheless, there is an argument they’d prefer to be playing more mid-table opposition who aren’t fighting for anything specific. That’s not how it’s fallen, however.

Any points gained from the visit of Manchester City will be a bonus; the key will surely be in their matches against the other strugglers.

Sheffield United

Nine points behind Luton and Forest, and threatening to break the record for most goals conceded in a Premier League season; if Sheffield United manage to escape relegation, it’ll be one of the most remarkable achievements in Premier League history.

The supercomputer rates their run-in as one of the easiest among this group of clubs, with the average rating of their opponents at 86.0.

That’ll be because they still have to face Brentford (A), Burnley (H), Forest (H) and Everton (A). But as mentioned before, while those teams aren’t in good shape, the fact they all have so much to play for might make them more problematic than teams who may be thinking about the beach.

Either way, the supercomputer considers the Blades’ relegation likelihood to be 99.6%, so they’re practically without hope regardless of who they still have to face.


Brentford are 15th and a point worse off than Palace but the supercomputer rates their run-in as the most straightforward of these seven clubs, with their remaining opponents having an average rating in the Opta Power Rankings of 84.1.

Much of that will be down to their next three matches, which could be hugely decisive – and not just for Brentford.

They host Sheffield United this weekend before back-to-back trips to Luton Town and Everton; that’s three games in a row against other teams in the bottom five, so three very winnable games in theory.

Of course, their opponents will in all likelihood feel the same way about facing Brentford, especially Luton and Everton considering the Bees have lost nine (1W, 1D) of their 11 away matches since the start of November.

Who knows how it’ll all unfold; but what is clear, the sheer number of matches remaining between the strugglers promises to have a significant impact on deciding who goes down.

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