From 10th in the Premier League table down to 14th there is a small cluster of teams who currently sit on 33 points this season; seven off the magic 40 mark. Fulham and West Ham have played fewer games and the way things are going victory in those fixtures should see the London clubs safe while nobody can really see Newcastle United going down with all the Gallic quality oozing throughout their squad.
So then you look at Norwich and Sunderland and for me the team truly in peril among that cluster; Stoke City.
At the start of the season I made a rather bold prediction about Stoke this campaign; suggesting they could be in for a long hard relegation fight which has indeed been laughed off. However the team are once again in danger of running out of fuel before the chequered flag.
Last season it was the side’s turn-of-the-year form that made me predict such a woeful season ahead and again Tony Pulis has watched his men struggle post-Christmas. After an excellent December which saw them pick up points against the likes of Tottenham, Everton and West Brom they have toiled for form.
Since the Boxing Day 3-1 pasting of Liverpool the fact is The Potters have won just once; against Reading on the 9th February.
Personally I feel the sacking of Brian McDermott has come at an awful time and in a similar way as with what happened at Wolves last season Reading can now count themselves out of the relegation battle; as a Reading habitant myself it pains me to say that bottom of the table beckons.
As for QPR they are looking resurgent but may have left themselves too much to do while at the moment there is little doubt who you would back in a game between Stoke and Aston Villa, Southampton or Wigan Athletic.
While it may not take 40 points to be safe this season you would have to say Stoke would be wary of not reaching that magic mark which is just seven points away. However with fixtures left including Everton, Manchester United and Tottenham as well as crunch away ties with teams such as Southampton, QPR and Sunderland it may be the home form that is important.
Victories against Norwich, West Brom and Villa would see them safe but while they may have been counting their chickens earlier in the season Stoke City may have left the barn door ajar for a few plucky hens to escape.
Do you think Stoke are still in danger of relegation? Or have they already done enough this season?
image: © ronnie macdonald