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Any two from eight

It really is tight at the bottom end of the table at the moment, mainly in part to back to back wins from ourselves, Charlton and West Ham which has now meant there are just seven points between the Newcastle in eleventh and Charlton in eighteenth as all teams in the bottom half have now been dragged into the relegation battle:

* Aston Villa's 1-1 draw last night at home to Everton is not included in the table.

It is a strange situation in that having won two games on the road, points wise we are now better off in terms of safety, but have managed to drag half a dozen sides into it.

It is conceivable that after this weekends games both Charlton and West Ham could be out of the bottom three and it is often that the Easter period - whilst not deciding matters, does go a long way in shaping the final outcome.

Assuming that Watford are dead and buried (the plucky display against Chelsea probably summed up their season perfectly), then it is two from eight heading into the Easter fixtures - although this should see some sides do themselves a big favour and being all but safe come this time next week..

Looking at the fixtures, it suddenly becomes even more of a nervous times for teams and what is striking is the number of games that are to be contested between sides in the bottom half with what could be a massive game on the final day of the season between Wigan and Sheffield United.

They also do illustrate that despite the good work in recent games by Charlton and West Ham, the do (West Ham in particular) have the toughest of the run-ins, whilst if Wigan and Sheffield United do drop out of the league then they have only themselves to blame.

Remaing fixtures:

Newcastle - Sheffield United, Arsenal, Portsmouth, Chelsea, Reading, Watford.
Middlesbrough - Watford, Aston Villa, Liverpool, United, Tottenham, Wigan, Fulham.
City - Charlton, Fulham, Liverpool, Arsenal, Watford, Aston Villa, United, Tottenham.
Fulham - Everton, City, Reading, Blackburn, Arsenal, Liverpool, Arsenal.
Aston Villa - Blackburn, Wigan, Middlesbrough, Portsmouth, City, Sheffield United, Bolton.
Wigan - Bolton, Aston Villa, Tottenham, Liverpool, West Ham, Middlesbrough, Sheffield United.
Sheffield United - Newcastle, West Ham, United, Charlton, Watford, Aston Villa, Wigan.
Charlton - City, Reading, Everton, Sheffield United, Blackburn, Tottenham, Liverpool.
West Ham - Arsenal, Sheffield United, Chelsea, Everton, Wigan, Bolton, United.