How the nine-team Premier League relegation scrap ends with everyone on 38 points

Crystal Palace’s defeat at Brighton confirms what we already expected: this is a great big daft nine-team relegation fight and that is tremendous news for everyone apart from the supporters of said nine teams.

But how will that relegation scrap play out? Other, lesser football outlets might consult a feeble supercomputer or simulate all the games on FIFA in their mum’s basement, but not us. We’ve done it properly: decided on the outcome we want, and worked everything out backwards from there. We’ll tell you precisely how it’s going to play out. They’re all going to end up level on 38 points. Every one of them. Thirty-eight points.

Obviously this means relegation – and indeed every finishing position from 12th down – will be settled by goal difference. We’ve not worked that bit out because we’re not complete lunatics and also we don’t actually care which three teams go down as long as they and the six teams directly above them all finish with 38 points. Here’s how it all goes down.


Crystal Palace

Now: P27 W6 D9 L12 Pts 27

Predictable defeat to his former club Arsenal sees patience in Patrick Vieira finally run out. He’s replaced by Roy Hodgson, obviously, who picks up a solid enough point against Leicester in one of the many, many six-pointers to come. Defeats to Leeds and Southampton drag Palace right into the sh*t and see Hodgson get all feisty in his post-match press conferences but a much-needed win over Everton finally ends Palace’s absurd wait for 2023 success. Then they lose to Wolves – 1-0 probably – but turn over Patrick Vieira’s West Ham (Oh yeah, Moyes gets sacked as well at some point and they appoint Vieira) in a grudge match. Defeats to Tottenham and Fulham sandwich a point against Bournemouth before final-day victory over Forest takes Palace to the magical 38-point mark and possibly safety. Don’t know, don’t care.

Final total: P38 W9 D11 L18 Pts 38

Roy Hodgson Crystal Palace F365



Now: P27 W7 D6 L14 Pts 27

A couple of draws in six-pointers against Leeds and Forest keep Wolves ticking along above the trapdoor before they beat Chelsea because everybody does these days. Brentford are held before another six-pointer against Leicester ends all square. Victory over Palace – 1-0 probably – is much needed ahead of a tough run of closing games starts with defeat to top-four contenders Brighton. A midlands derby draw takes them to 38 points with three games to go and surely safety? Not necessarily; two of those games are against Man United and newly-crowned champions Arsenal. Both are lost as, more damagingly and credibility stretchingly, is a home game against Everton. The Toffees famously never win away from home, but needs must.

Final total: P38 W9 D11 L18 Pts 38


Nottingham Forest

Now: P26 W6 D8 L12 Pts 26

Nottingham Forest and their giant squad of all the footballers set about their path to 38 with a draw against draw specialists Newcastle and another at home to fellow battlers Wolves. Defeat at Leeds is a setback for Steve Cooper and all the lads, but they bounce back to win impressively at Villa Park. Which is just as well, because their next three games are against United, Liverpool and Brighton, with a point at home to the Seagulls all they have to show for that tricky spell. Further draws follow against Brentford, Southampton and Chelsea before Forest get a big slice of luck. In the penultimate round of games they meet Arsenal, who the previous week had beaten Brighton to wrap up the title and – to the disgust of Chief Superintendent Keys and Sergeant Agbonlahor – celebrated like they’d won the bloody league. The Gunners turn up at the City Ground half-interested and half-cut. Some observers even claim to have spotted a hair out of place on Arteta’s head. The pissed-up Gunners are duly turned over by the far more motivated Tricky Trees. Forest have things in their own hands now, but then lose to Palace like idiots.

Final total: P38 W8 D14 L16 Pts 38



Now: P27 W6 D7 L14 Pts 25

Everton start their run-in by beating Chelsea like everyone else, before a goalless draw against Tottenham where neither side has a shot on target and Antonio Conte laughs at the very idea that he should be expected to compete with Sean Dyche and a club as well-run as Everton. Defeat to Man United is next for the Toffees, before an impressive win over Fulham reminds everyone that there is more to Dyche and his football than most give him credit for. Then they lose to Palace like idiots. A point against Newcastle is decent, but losing to Leicester confirms that this Everton side is just too damn silly to get the job done in the six-pointers that really matter. A draw against Brighton is fine, while Dyche is unable to match Frank Lampard’s achievement in taking a point off City. By now in the deepest of poo and with two six-pointers to finish, Dyche drags his men to the 38-point mark with a 1-0 win over Wolves, the winning goal an own goal in a game with no shots on target, and a draw against Bournemouth that takes both teams to… 38 points.

Final total: P38 W9 D11 L18 Pts 38



Now: P26 W7 D3 L16 Pts 24

Leicester end their losing streak with a draw against Brentford and then another against Palace. Everything’s going to be okay, especially when a win over Villa, by now the league’s only mid-table club, and a draw against Bournemouth make for a four-game unbeaten run. Brodge is back! Then they lose to City, draw with Wolves and lose damagingly to Leeds. Beating Everton is key, and they also turn Liverpool over with Jamie Vardy rolling back the years and doing a mad volley or something. But in between those successes against the Merseyside teams they lose on the banks of the Thames at Fulham. Their penultimate game against Newcastle is, of course, drawn and final-day defeat to West Ham sees both sides end on, yes, look at that, how convenient, it’s 38 points.

Final total: P38 W10 D8 L20 Pts 38


West Ham

Now: P26 W6 D6 L14 Pts 24

Somewhere in among what follows West Ham also play City, but they lose so it doesn’t really matter. They also lose to Southampton, because we kind of need them to, but beat Newcastle and draw a pair of London derbies against Fulham and Arsenal. A draw against Bournemouth is the final straw and Moyesball is finally consigned to the bin. Vieira comes in and turns over Liverpool in his very first game but then loses to former club Palace. Vieira’s Hammers hold Man United at home and snaffle another precious point the following week at Brentford, but defeat at home to Leeds leaves them on the brink. They end the season by winning at Leicester because, again, that’s the result we need and thus it is the result that happens.

Final total: P38 W9 D11 L18 Pts 38



Now: P26 W6 D6 L14 Pts 24

Back-to-back wins over Villa and Fulham form the unlikely starting point of Bournemouth’s route to 38 points, before rather more predictable results in their next four games: defeat to Brighton, a draw against Leicester, defeat at Tottenham, and another point against West Ham. Then they lose to Southampton, because Southampton have to pick up points somewhere for this to work, and then draw against Leeds because a lot of these six-pointers will need to be draws, guys. The Cherries then beat Chelsea because everyone does before drawing with Palace, losing to Man United and then drawing with Everton on the final day to wrap everything up in a neat little bow.

Final total: P38 W9 D11 L18 Pts 38



Now: P26 W5 D8 L13 Pts 23

Leeds draw with Wolves, obviously, and then lose to Arsenal, obviously. They beat Forest, though. And Palace. Now they’re marching on together but oh they’ve just lost to Liverpool and Fulham and everything is terrible again. Four points from six pointers against Leicester and Bournemouth is tidy enough, though, and defeat to Man City neither here nor there really. Having also lost at Newcastle they then urgently need a result against West Ham and they get it. They go into the final day against Spurs on 37 points and an entertaining 6-6 draw in which both sides toss away three-goal leads sees Leeds finish on 38 points and Spurs miss out on the final Champions League spot to Brighton.

Final total: P38 W9 D 11 L18 Pts 38



Now: P27 W6 D4 L17 Pts 22

Southampton’s possibly successful great escape bid begins with a win over Spurs, after which Antonio Conte scoffs at the idea he should be expected to compete with a club that can afford to have not one but two players with the surname Armstrong. Another, arguably even more significant, win over West Ham sees Southampton right back in contention for survival, and another big win over Palace between obvious defeats to City and Arsenal keeps things ticking nicely. Bournemouth are beaten too, which means defeat to Newcastle isn’t too bitter a pill. A point at Forest is just about okay, but defeats in the face of the sheer unrelenting competence of Fulham and Brighton look to have finished Southampton off before a heroic final-day stand sees them secure victory over Liverpool, condemning Jurgen Klopp’s side to the Europa Conference while possibly securing their own survival maybe.

Final total: P38 W11 D5 L22 Pts 38

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