Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Sun 11 May 2008

The Axeman Cometh...

It's come to this, then... While Manchester United and Chelsea fight over who should have the Premier League trophy for the coming year, four teams will fight just to survive in the top flight.

Derby County have already succumbed to the executioner's axe, which means two relegation places need to be filled, and by 5pm BST today either Bolton Wanderers, Birmingham City, Fulham or Reading will fill them.

The way things stand at the moment, Reading and Birmingham occupy those remaining places, but such is the closeness of all the teams involved that the axe could come down on almost anyone.

That said, there are a couple of things to note. Firstly Bolton are definitely in the best place at the moment, being that they're three places ahead of their nearest rivals, Fulham, and two places clear of the drop zone.

That means if Bolton get a draw away to Chelsea today, they'll be safe, no matter what the others do.

Then there's Birmingham. They're only one point behind Reading and Fulham and have a far better goal difference than the two of them. That gives us the situation that if Birmingham avoid defeat at home to Blackburn today and Reading and Fulham lose, Birmingham will stay up.

The fact of the matter, though, is that Birmingham look likely to go down today. Many of the possible permutations from today's results will see Alex McLeish's men demoted to the Championship, and if that's the case, it should be interesting seeing who takes the last place between Reading and Fulham.

All of which brings us to the handy Relegation Calculator that SPAOTP have designed for you. When all the important matches get underway today, you might want to know who's set to go down and who'll stay up, so why not use the chart below? It'll give you many of the outcome permutations just by cross-referencing who's doing what in each game involving Bolton, Fulham, Reading and Birmingham.

And before you check it out, we've left out all the permutations involving Bolton winning for the reasons mentioned above and yes, we know the writing's a bit small, but that's easily alleviated. Just click on the image to see a bigger, clearer version.

The best of British luck, then, to all the teams involved. Oh and by the way - who do you think will go down today? Leave us a comment and let us know!

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