One game to go: Latics final day Premier League permutations

At 5pm on Sunday we were out of it, or at the very least toeing the very edge of a rather large crevice that leads to the Championship canyon. Thanks to a comeback the likes of which we haven’t seen for months (the last time Wigan came from 2-0 down to win was that game with Arsenal last year), Latics are back in with more than a sniff of survival.

Things could have been so much better had results gone our way on Saturday, which meant from then onwards we truly would be battling for our top-flight lives, but of course we can do nothing about other teams’ performances. Besides, the tide may well turn, with Latics arguably having slightly the easier task in terms of their opposition this coming Sunday. Here’s the skinny.

Premier League table

Bottom 6 as of 18 May 2011

Ps Team Pld GD Pts
15 Blackburn 37 -14 40
16 Wolves 37 -19 40
17 Birmingham 37 -20 39
18 Blackpool 37 -21 39
19 Wigan 37 -22 39
20 West Ham 37 -24 33*

*West Ham already relegated

Source: Premier League

Final day fixtures

(Sunday 22 May 2011, all 4.00pm kickoff)

  • Stoke (LDWDWL) v Wigan (LWLDDW) [Live on Sky Sports Red Button]
  • Man United (WDWLWD) v Blackpool (LLDDDW) [Live on Sky Sports 1]
  • Tottenham (DDLDLW) v Birmingham (WLLDLL) [Live on Sky Sports 2]
  • Wolves (LDLDWW) v Blackburn (DLLWDD)

Source: Football Association/BBC

I’ve included form guide information, but that doesn’t count for very much in a one-game all or nothing situation.

It’s no surprise that few have outlined all the permutations that surround these oh-so-critical fixtures. Whilst we aren’t going to attempt to explain everything that might happen, we shall focus on Latics and their potential for survival, at least where mathematics are concerned. We shall save pure footballing matters for another post, for this article shall serve to outline the (potentially gut-wrenching) technicalities of this final round of games.

Permutations

If Latics win, they would only be relegated given victories from Blackpool, Birmingham and either Wolves or Blackburn (who, remember, play each other). Should the Wolves-Blackburn game finish a draw we would be assured safety. Basically we’d be rather unlucky to go down in this situation.

If Latics draw, they would need Tottenham and Man United to beat Birmingham and Blackpool respectively to stay up. Less realistically, if Wolves lost by four or more goals we would only require one of Birmingham or Blackpool to lose.

If Latics lose, it will firstly require Birmingham and Blackpool to lose, at which point it will go down to goal difference. Wigan would want Brum and the Seasiders to both lose by two more goals than they lost against Stoke. For example, if we lost 1-0, we would need the others to each lose 3-0. This would see us jump ahead of Blackpool on goal difference and Birmingham on goals scored (barring three goals from Birmingham).

In a nutshell: Wigan would be unlucky not to stay up with a win. A draw offers some hope, whilst a loss leaves us clutching at straws. There, it would have been easier for me to start this post with that sentence, wouldn’t it?

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