The battle to avoid the drop promises to be one of the most exciting in recent years, with no side left languishing at the foot of the Premier League table.

Queens Park Rangers picked a good time to record back-to-back wins. Wigan Athletic and Southampton have struggled for consistency, while Reading are managerless after four straight league defeats.

Sunderland are six points clear of the relegation zone but will be looking nervously over their shoulders after a run of six games without a win. A cluster of clubs sit three ahead of the Black Cats on 33 points, knowing two more wins would make them safe.

QPR remain one of the favourites to go down despite two victories on the bounce. The basement side doubled their wins tally last week but still have plenty to do. The Rs face Villa and Wigan in the coming weeks, two games which could decide their fate.

Reading sit level on points with QPR at the bottom of the table and look destined for the drop. Trips to Manchester United and Arsenal come next, meaning the Royals are likely to continue their slump. They will be banking on a honeymoon period under a new boss.

Wigan come next, one point above QPR and Reading and three behind Villa with a game in hand. They are the masters of avoiding relegation and should pull clear this time around, despite their FA Cup distraction.

Villa have endured another season of struggle and their young side could get nervy as the end draws nearer. Southampton, too, could suffer from nerves, while the shock of getting dragged into a dogfight could make life difficult for Sunderland.

With so much on the line, it promises to be an enthralling climax.

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