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Premier League relegation battlers have 10 games to save their season

The battle for Premier League survival enters its final straight this weekend, with the teams at the bottom all now having 10 games to save their season.

West Bromwich Albion are rooted to the foot of the table, seven points adrift of safety, but only six points separate third-bottom Swansea City and Watford in 10th.

So which clubs are most at risk of the drop and who will go down? What are the key games and factors that will decide the outcome?

WATFORD (currently 10th in table, 33 points, -9 goal difference)

Key game: Five of Watford's past 10 are against teams below them, but a win at home to West Brom this weekend will lift them to 36 points and ease survival fears.

Key player: Troy Deeney -- The long-serving striker is Watford's talisman. His goal in last week's 1-0 win against Everton was crucial and he is vital to the team's prospects.

Impact of relegation: Big ambitions to become an established Premier League would be in tatters and upheaval would see a mass exodus from Vicarage Road.

Prediction: Safe

BOURNEMOUTH (11th, 32, -10)

Key game: Back-to-back encounters with Watford, West Brom and Crystal Palace later this month will be decisive. Four points from those should see Bournemouth safe.

Key player: Callum Wilson -- The striker has scored seven goals in 18 league games this season, so Bournemouth need him to stay fit.

Impact of relegation: A wage bill that has grown over three years of top-flight football would be too heavy for the Championship, so relegation could be hugely damaging financially.

Prediction: Safe

BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION (12th, 31, -11)

Key game: Brighton must still play six of the top seven, with Tottenham, Burnley, Manchester United and Liverpool their last four matches, so back-to-back games against Huddersfield and Crystal Palace next month must be won.

Key player: Lewis Dunk/Shane Duffy -- Brighton's defensive partnership has been crucial this season and they simply have to stay fit and available for the run-in.

Impact of relegation: Brighton are on a strong financial footing, but after so many years striving to go up, relegation after one season would be a hammer blow.

Prediction: Relegated

David Moyes looks on during West Ham's FA Cup defeat at Wigan
David Moyes has lifted West Ham from 18th to 13th in the Premier League since taking over in November.

WEST HAM UNITED (13th, 30, -15)

Key game: Home games against Southampton, Stoke and Everton, on the final day, will decide West Ham's fate.

Key player: Marko Arnautovic -- If the Austrian had performed to expectations at the start of the season, West Ham may now be safe, but his form has risen under David Moyes and he is the key man.

Impact of relegation: Relegation would be catastrophic on every level for West Ham and leave the club facing a worrying future in the Championship.

Prediction: Safe

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (14th, 30, -23)

Key game: After the weekend trip to Spurs, Huddersfield's next five games are against rivals in the bottom 10. Survival hinges on those, with Manchester City and Arsenal the final two fixtures.

Key player: Aaron Mooy -- The Australia midfielder is currently out with a knee infection, but is expected back for the visit of Swansea on March 10. David Wagner's team will need his drive and creativity.

Impact of relegation: A blow to Huddersfield's pride, but chairman Dean Hoyle runs a tight ship and the club will be well-placed to bounce straight back.

Prediction: Safe

NEWCASTLE UNITED (15th, 29, -11)

Key game: Home games against Southampton, Huddersfield and West Brom are huge, but Newcastle must win them.

Key player: Jonjo Shelvey -- The midfielder divides opinion, but when he performs, so do Newcastle. Rafa Benitez knows that his team's prospects are linked to Shelvey's performances.

Impact of relegation: Newcastle have survived relegation twice in recent years, but if owner Mike Ashley stops subsidising the club after dropping out of the top flight, it will be a grim future for at St James' Park.

Prediction: Safe

SOUTHAMPTON (16th, 27,-12)

Key game: Tough away games against relegation rivals and encounters with the top six lie ahead, so a win at home to Stoke this weekend is vital.

Key player: Dusan Tadic -- The Serbian midfielder can decide games for the Saints, but his form has been mixed this season. He needs to rediscover his best, quickly.

Impact of relegation: Southampton are well run, so relegation would be a blow, but not a catastrophic one.

Prediction: Relegated.

Wilfried Zaha's return to fitness will be critical for Crystal Palace's Premier League survival hopes.

CRYSTAL PALACE (17th, 27, -18)

Key game: If it goes down to the wire for Palace, the final two games are against Stoke and West Brom, so they could be make-or-break.

Key player: Wilfried Zaha -- The former Manchester United winger is currently on the sidelines, but he is Palace's match-winner and, once fit, he can inspire Roy Hodgson's team to safety.

Impact of relegation: Palace are a robust club that has yo-yoed between the divisions in the past, so they would survive another drop into the Championship.

Prediction: Safe

SWANSEA CITY (18th, 27, -20)

Key game: Swansea must still face most of their relegation rivals, but the next two games, at home to West Ham and away to Huddersfield, will be huge.

Key player: Ki Sung-Yueng -- The South Korea midfielder gives Swansea quality on the ball and organisation in midfield and their upturn in results have coincided with his return to the team.

Impact of relegation: A damaging blow for the club's American owners, who would have to face up to a big drop in finances outside the Premier League.

Prediction: Safe

STOKE CITY (19th, 26, -26)

Key game: The final two games of the season, at home to Palace and away at Swansea, may well be decisive for Paul Lambert's team, but they face tough encounters with Manchester City, Spurs and Liverpool before those fixtures.

Key player: Xherdan Shaqiri -- The Switzerland winger is Stoke's top scorer with seven goals and is capable of moments of magic. Lambert will need plenty of those from the former Bayern Munich man.

Impact of relegation: A decade in the Premier League has put Stoke on a strong financial footing, but they also have a list of big earners who may need to be sold.

Prediction: Safe

WEST BROMWICH ALBION (20th, 20, -20)

Key game: Alan Pardew's team still have plenty of games against relegation rivals, but if they don't win at Watford this weekend, it could be the end of their manager and the club's survival hopes.

Key player: Daniel Sturridge -- When you are relying on Sturridge getting fit to save you, it highlights the dire situation facing West Brom, but Pardew's men need goals and Sturridge, once he beats his hamstring injury, could still score them.

Impact of relegation: Expect a big clear-out at The Hawthorns, but with wealthy Chinese owners, the financial ramifications may not be cataclysmic.

Prediction: Relegated

Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_


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