The battle for relegation to the Premier League took a few more turns on Monday, with 21 goals scored in just three incident-filled games as clubs forfeit their future in the top flight.
Nottingham Forest and Everton won to pull themselves out of the bottom three, while Leicester’s loss to Fulham puts them in even greater danger, as does Sam Allardyce’s Leeds.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the relegation period and what lies ahead for those struggling to survive with only three games left.
Position: 16th place; Points: 33; Goal difference: -31
Steve Cooper’s side gave themselves a great chance to extend their return to the top flight beyond one season when they beat inferior club Southampton 4-3 in a late match on Monday.
Brentford’s last-minute goal saw them concede a point in their previous game, but Forest beat Brighton on 26 April, bolstering their hopes.
What follows is a trip to out-of-shape Chelsea before taking on title-chasing Arsenal, with Cooper trusted by the club all season while others around them hack and change in dugouts. At least the relegation area remains intact ahead of their visit to Crystal Palace on the final day.
Position: 17; Points: 32; Goal difference: -21
FT. TOFFEE UP WITH FIVE GOALS!!! #UTFT
1-5 #BKHAEV pic.twitter.com/3CaLjitfpn
— Everton (@Everton) May 8, 2023
A fantastic sight: on Monday, the Toffees beat Europe’s Brighton 5-1, their first win since 11 March.
Four draws in that time kept them in touch with their rivals and now they have their heads above the water heading towards the final stretch.
Sean Dyche has been in similar positions in the past and will encourage his players to use Brighton’s performance as a yardstick for a serious challenge for Manchester City next at Goodison Park, ahead of Wolves away and Bournemouth at home.
Position: 18th place; Points: 30; Goal difference: -15
The Foxes may have scored three goals at Fulham but still slipped to a 5-3 defeat, sending Dean Smith’s side back to the relegation places.
They have scored five points in three games ahead of Craven Cottage but have also conceded penalties in decisive moments in their last two matches and confidence will drop again.
With Champions League contenders Liverpool and Newcastle due to come before hosting West Ham on the final day, Smith needs to work out some unlikely outcomes if he is to prove the club hierarchy was right by appointing him after the firing of Brendan Rodgers last month.
Position: 19th place; Points: 30; Goal difference: -25
Sam Allardyce was given four games to keep Leeds in the top flight and the first of those ended in a 2-1 loss to league leaders City on Saturday.
They have now taken just one point in their last six games, and their last four defeats during Javi Gracia’s tenure have come on aggregate at 17-4.
Dealing with such a leaky defense has been Allardyce’s main concern since his appointment and he will next face two of his former clubs in Newcastle and West Ham uniforms before Leeds host Tottenham on the final day.
Position: 20th; Points: 24; Goal difference: -33
An extremely difficult night, but thanks for your incredible support, #SentsFC fans pic.twitter.com/3cineCdb4p
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) May 8, 2023
The Forest clash ended in a minor defeat that all but guarantees that Southampton’s 11-year Premier League run has come to an end and the Saints are now eight points away from safety.
Ruben Selles is Saints’ third manager of the campaign, but he failed to follow the huge change it took when he took over in February with a draw against high-flying Arsenal, the club’s only point in their last seven games.
Their relegation will be confirmed if they fail to beat Fulham at St Mary’s on Saturday and even that may not be enough with matches against Brighton and Liverpool still to come.