After Gameweek 20, it appears the bottom six may be the main clubs in the relegation battle, barring a collapse from any of the clubs above. Leicester City sits six points clear of the gap with Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace just above the drop. A win from Swansea City pushed the club even on points with Sunderland and Hull City currently sit bottom after another loss.
First the Swans, under the direction of new manager Paul Clement from the stands, won its first match since its 3-0 win over Sunderland in early December. The last time Swansea City played Crystal Palace, it ended in that 5-4 thriller back in late November. It was a brilliant match and many were hoping the sequel would duplicate that excitement. If one was a Swans supporter, then they had their wish. Àngel Rangel’s nicely placed finish two minutes from time proved to be the difference in the Swansea City 2-1 victory. In the first half, there was a penalty appeal after Christian Benteke was upended by Łukasz Fabiański, but the play ended without a penalty. Benteke was taken off at halftime but not before Alfie Mawson nodded home a Gylfi Sigurðsson set piece to open the scoring.
After halftime, when Frazier Campbell came on for the injured Benteke, the Eagles began to threaten and a questionable handball appeal on Rangel looked like the best chance up until that point. In the 83rd minute, Wilfried Zaha showed his true form and did something with class. Campbell played a pass back to Martin Kelly, who curled a cross into the box. The ball came to Zaha and the winger hit a brilliant side-volley past Fabiański for the fantastic goal. That was until five minutes later when Leroy Fer played a ball over the top and Rangel collected and put the ball past Wayne Hennessey. This was a big win for the Swans as the club left the bottom and jumped to even on points with Sunderland. Crystal Palace has not won since early December and the club is currently one point outside the relegation zone.
Sunderland earned a very precious point in the club’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool. Liverpool, which is in the top four, came into this match expecting three points and the Black Cats did well to prevent that. Despite trailing 1-0 after a Daniel Sturridge goal, Jermain Defoe converted from the spot to equalize the score. Sunderland did well to keep the match close at halftime. In the second half, Sadio Mané finished past Vito Mannone, who was making his second start since Jordan Pickford’s injury. Mané made up for it with a handball after a Seb Larsson free-kick. Defoe dispatched the penalty and the Black Cats left with a well-earned point.
Middlesbrough earned a nice point in a goalless draw with Leicester City Monday. Boro did enough in the match and dominated possession and the passing success, but the match was even on chances. This point was Boro’s fourth in its last four matches. Hull City struggled once against and fell 3-1 to West Bromwich Albion. Robert Snodgrass gave the Tigers the early lead in Mike Phelan’s last match before the Baggies got goals through Chris Brunt, Gareth McAuley and James Morrison in the win. Hull City is now three points back of Sunderland and Swansea City and the club is struggling for points.