This weekend in the Premier League
3. The battle against relegation
|AS IT STANDS
17. Aston Villa
However, they could drag a Norwich team in a downward spiral into the mix when the two sides face each other on Saturday.
The Canaries have won just once since December 15, which is definite relegation form, but a home game against the league's bottom side is always the most welcome on the fixture list.
QPR look in an equally perilous position following a 2-0 loss to Everton last weekend - but they also come face to face with a team who look a shadow of the side on show in the first half of the season. Stoke have also won just once this calendar year and twice since Boxing Day.
Wigan celebrated reaching a first ever FA Cup final by facing their future Wembley opponents on Wednesday. The Latics bossed proceedings for the majority and created a number of opportunities, but lost out to a Carlos Tevez goal seven minutes from time in a 1-0 defeat. They travel to London at the weekend to face a West Ham side buoyed from a 2-2 draw with Manchester United knowing they are winless at Upton Park since their promotion to the top flight in 2005.
|BET OF THE WEEKEND
|Jim Knight, Goal.com Betting Editor
Paolo Di Canio's arrival has had an immediate impact on Sunderland's fortunes and his side should be full of confidence ahead of Saturday's game with an Everton side who have only won one of their last seven away games in all competitions.
The match result looks tough to call given Everton's inconsistency away from home and with Sunderland still something of an unknown quantity under Di Canio, but there is one bet which does stand out as offering some real value.
The Black Cats have found their scoring touch of late and the three goals against Newcastle will give them great confidence coming into this game. Likewise Everton should be capable of breaching the home side's defence as they continue their push for European football next season.
Both teams to score is as short as 4/6 (1.67) in places but Coral offer it at 10/11 (1.91). This bet would have paid out in 14 of Everton's last 17 away games and, given both sides still have plenty to play for, it should have a good chance of landing again.
Sunderland produced a stunning display to beat rivals, and fellow relegation candidates, Newcastle 3-0 on Sunday. Boss Paolo Di Canio stole the headlines with his excitable celebrations on the touchline, but the sheer difference in class between the team on show at St. James' Park and that near the tail-end of Martin O'Neill's tenure was vast.
And the Italian will be looking to keep up momentum against an Everton side they have not beaten in the Premier League since 1996. However, the Toffees have won just once in their previous seven games on the road.
That heavy defeat looks to have dragged Newcastle into the relegation fight with their third win in four games. Alan Pardew's side have been the definition of 'inconsistent' this term but face a West Brom side who are winless in their last four. The Baggies were candidates for European football just a few weeks ago - but a similar inability to grind out results has seen them slip to eighth.
And, finally, Aston Villa. Paul Lambert's side looked as good as down only a few weeks ago but a remarkable improvement in form - taking 10 points from the last 15 available - has relieved much tension around Villa Park.
They do, however, face champions-elect Manchester United in Monday's evening fixture with the added pressure of having seen their relegation rivals all having played their games. Furthermore, they could well be back in the drop zone come kick-off too.