We’re less than a month away from the end of the Premier League season and the race to avoid relegation is really heating up.
Following the most recent round of action, Norwich are 17th, but Sunderland have a game in hand and are only a point behind in 18th, while Newcastle are a further point back.
The remaining fixtures of the trio will be key to survival and in this regard the Mackems have the advantage.
Sam Allardyce’s men face Arsenal, Stoke City, Chelsea, Everton and Watford between now and the end of the season and there are definitely some winnable games in that run.
Stoke’s 4-0 loss to Tottenham shows that the ninth-placed Potters may already be on the beach with nothing left to play for and a team fighting for their lives should be able to get something out of them, especially as Sunderland have won four of their last five against the Britannia outfit.
Furthermore, Watford have only won one match since booking their place in the FA Cup semi-final and, with the Hornets’ attentions elsewhere, the Mackems should earmark this as a game to pick up three points.
The quality possessed by Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton may be too much for Jermaine Defoe and company but picking six points up in their other games would be enough based on their counterparts’ matches.
Newcastle have to face Liverpool and Tottenham, who will be fighting for Europe and the title respectively, while they should be able to get past Aston Villa and Crystal Palace so wouldn’t be able to overhaul Sunderland.
Meanwhile, Norwich face Arsenal, Manchester United, Watford and Everton in their final four outings.
The Canaries should struggle against the Gunners and the other big teams considering only Aston Villa have a worse record against teams in the top-half, while, as shown before the Hornets are there for the taking.
That means the best Alex Neill can hope for is three points from their last fixtures and that will be enough for the Mackems to overtake them and survive for another season.