Are Sunderland now the favourites to join Reading and QPR in relegation?

After Sunderland lost to Manchester United they then had to witness those teams around them pick up points. Are they the favourites to go down?

The Premier League took yet another one of its many twists and turns this weekend with major ramifications at the foot of the table. First things first Reading look gone; defeat to Arsenal leaves them well adrift at the foot of the table. If QPR lose to Fulham on Monday then you can say goodbye to both teams playing in blue-and-white hoops.

The rest of the relegation battle is not so clear-cut; and the weekend’s results made it all the more interesting.

Norwich City fell at the perennial survivors Wigan Athletic while Southampton once again raised their game against big opposition by outplaying Chelsea in a 2-1 triumph.

Those results coupled with a defeat for Newcastle United mean one thing; surely now Sunderland are the favourites to go down.

Sunderland lost in the lunchtime fixture against Manchester United through a Titus Bramble assisted Robin Van Persie strike.

Now The Black Cats sit just one point above Aston Villa in the final relegation places and the same gap separates them from Wigan Athletic below them in 17th; with both those sides having the extra caveat of a game in hand over the Wearside club.

Then there is the loss of top-scorer Steven Fletcher. Out for the rest of the season with ankle ligament damage his goals will be sorely missed. The hopeful return of cataclysmic captain Lee Cattermole has also been ruled out.

If things couldn’t get much worse they have a horror-show of a fixture run-in. Chelsea, Newcastle, Villa and Spurs away with home ties against Everton, Southampton and Stoke not looking easy on paper.

Those home fixtures look like being their only saving grace. On their day they can do a number on Everton but have a wretched recent record against The Toffees. Stoke are always a pain when you face them and getting more than a point from that game would be a good effort. As for Southampton; they are playing some of the best football in the league when they want to and that is far from a three point banker.

This weekend saw plenty of winners and losers but absolutely no doubt about the biggest loser of all; that was Sunderland.

Now they have to grab something at Stamford Bridge next Sunday; or they can expect to enter the relegation mark for the first time this season. And they might just stay there.

Do you think Sunderland can survive the drop?

images: © vagueonthehow, © Ronnie Macdonald

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