Premier League final day: All you need to know about the teams fighting to avoid relegation

2NGMFHB Everton, UK. 18th Feb, 2023. Amadou Onana of Everton (r) looks to tackle Jack Harrison of Leeds United. Premier League match, Everton v Leeds Utd at Goodison Park in Liverpool on Saturday 18th February 2023. this image may only be used for Editorial purposes. Editorial use only, license required for commercial use. No use in betting, games or a single club/league/player publications. pic by Chris Stading/Andrew Orchard sports photography/Alamy Live news Credit: Andrew Orchard sports photography/Alamy Live News

On the final weekend of the Premier League season, two teams out of Everton, Leicester City and Leeds United will join Southampton in being relegated to the Championship. Only one of the three will retain their Premier League status. All three have turned to new managers to try and lead them to safety but it now all comes down to their final game.

Everton vs. Bournemouth – Sunday, May.28 (16:30 GMT)

Sean Dyche and Everton go into their final game of the season knowing their fate is in their hands. As the side currently above the drop zone, they know a win at Goodison Park will be enough to ensure they maintain their ever-present status in the Premier League.

They start two points ahead of both Leicester and Leeds but do have an inferior goal difference to Leicester which could be all important.

Everton have several injury worries following their draw last time out against Wolves. Both Nathan Patterson and Dominic Calvert-Lewin were substituted off with injuries and could be unavailable for this weekend.

If Calvert-Lewin is unable to start, Dyche may look to Demari Gray to fill in as the central attacker having come on to replace Calvert-Lewin last weekend and Dyche has used him in that role already this season. Gray is the second top-scorer for Everton in the league this season with five goals, behind only Dwight McNeil with seven, a clear signal of their struggles in front of goal as a team. Gray also has the best PFF shooting grade of any Everton player this season, 75.5.

Whilst they have struggled to score this season, managing only 33 goals in the league with only Wolves and Southampton scoring less, their final game does come against the second-worst defence for conceding goals in Bournemouth.

Gary O’Neil’s side have conceded 70 goals in their first season back in the top-flight. Only Leeds have given up more goals with 74. Bournemouth’s keeper Neto has the lowest PFF shot stopping grade of any keeper this season in the Premier League at 52.8, so Everton will be looking to Gray, McNeil, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Alex Iwobi to threaten the porous Bournemouth defence.

Premier League relegation 2022-23

The Everton defence will need to be on form as well and they have the player with the best PFF challenge grade (94.9) and PFF aerial duel grade (97.8) in the league this season in James Tarkowski.

He will inevitably be key to Everton’s hopes of keeping Bournemouth out. The injuries at full-back will be a concern for Dyche, however. As well as Patterson’s injury, they were already without first choice right-back Seamus Coleman. A big miss as a leader, Coleman also has the fifth-best PFF dribble defending grade in the league of 89.7.

On the other flank, Vitaliy Mykolenko who has also been strong against the dribble this season with a PFF dribble defending grade of 86.7, remains a doubt but Dyche has stated that the full-back may have a chance of featuring in the final game of the season.

A win for Everton and the results for Leicester and Leeds are rendered irrelevant, but anything else opens the door for both to leapfrog to safety.

Leicester City surround the referee
(Photo: James Holyoak | MI News) Credit: MI News & Sport /Alamy Live News

Leicester City vs. West Ham United – Sunday, May.28 (16:30 GMT)

An extremely defensive display on Monday night yielded a 0-0 draw away at Newcastle, with many questioning Dean Smith’s decision not to try harder to get a much-needed win.

The point achieved at St James' Park does mean that Leicester can now get above Everton with a win over West Ham and a draw or defeat for Everton. Having the best goal difference of the three teams involved in the fight could be the deciding factor in safety or relegation. Smith started key players such as James Maddison and Harvey Barnes on the bench on Monday but will almost certainly be putting them straight back into the starting line-up this coming weekend.

Maddison unsurprisingly has been the main creator for Leicester this season. With nine assists, he has more than double the next best of any Leicester player and has created 69 chances in total which puts him inside the top 10 of all players in the Premier League. Maddison also has the tenth-best PFF crossing grade of any player with 84.5 this season. His contribution will be vital if Leicester are to get the win that they need to have any chance to avoid the drop.

There may be plenty of Leicester fans hoping David Moyes has more than one eye on the Hammers' upcoming Europa Conference League final clash with Fiorentina, and chooses to rest some of his main players.

The West Ham manager had the opportunity to do this last weekend however against fellow strugglers Leeds, and he kept his key men in the line-up, but with this being their last game before the final on Jun. 7, he may be more open to rotation.

Leicester’s defence has been their achilles heel this season and whilst they made a concerted effort to defend last week, they did so at the expense of any threat in attack for 85 minutes. They can’t afford to do that again this week, needing to play for the win and hope their defence can hold up.

Since replacing Danny Ward as the first-choice keeper, Daniel Iversen has been busy. Of all keepers in the league to have played more than a handful of games, Iversen has the second worst % of shots conceded that have been deemed as saveable with 48%. Only Aaron Ramsdale has a higher % of 56%.

Centre-back Jonny Evans is also an injury worry for the defence having been subbed off against Newcastle. Evans holds the second-best PFF challenge grade (78.5) and PFF aerial duel (78.7) grade for any Leicester player this season, so would be a big miss if he is unable to play on Sunday.

A win still may not be enough for Leicester, but their superior goal difference does give them the chance to jump above Everton with either a draw or a loss for Dyche’s side. For Leeds, that is a less likely avenue and they will need both Everton and Leicester results to go their way to have any chance of survival.

Leeds United's Weston McKennie and Robin Koch
Paul Terry/Sportimage Credit: Sportimage Ltd/Alamy Live News

 Leeds United vs. Tottenham Hotspur – Sunday, May.28 (16:30 GMT)

Two defeats and one draw are the output of Sam Allardyce’s short reign at Elland Road so far. If Leeds have any chance of avoiding the drop, they need to get their first win of the likely short Allardyce era.

They host a Tottenham side who have their own uncertainties going into the summer and have stuttered and stumbled to the end of the season, dropping out of Champions League contention, and now relying on other results to have any chance of getting into the top seven and a Europa Conference League spot.

Leeds’ path to safety is the most complex of the three sides. They need to win and then would need Leicester to fail to win and likely an Everton loss. Should Everton draw, they could get above them on goal difference, but would need to win by three goals to achieve that. With Leicester having a goal difference nine goals better than Leeds, a Leicester win would also almost certainly be enough to relegate Leeds.

With a top seven finish still within reach, Tottenham will be unlikely to hand out any favours in their line-up. Harry Kane is two goals away from 30 in the league this season, coming up against the worst defence in the Premier League.

Leeds have been dealt a double blow ahead of match-day 38 with the news that they will likely be without Patrick Bamford, who was subbed off injured against West Ham last weekend, while there are also doubts about the fitness of fellow forward Rodrigo.

It has been a tough season for Bamford, managing only four goals in the league with a PFF shooting grade of 61.2, which ranks as the 100th best of all forwards in the league. The main threat they will be putting their hopes on for goals in this must win game will be top-scorer Rodrigo. The former Spain international has managed 13 league goals and has a much stronger PFF shooting grade of 84.5, the 15th best of all players, but is managing an plantar fascia issue.

With both teams needing to win, goals look likely here. As we have already seen, Leeds has the worst defence in terms of goals conceded. Spurs have had their own issues keeping the ball out of the net this season. 62 goals conceded is by far the worst in the top half of the table, and only five teams in the league have conceded more, all teams in the bottom six.

Fraser Forster has replaced Hugo Lloris towards the end of this season as the first-choice keeper. The veteran has saved 55% of his shots on target this season. Only four keepers have a lower % of saving shots on target, and only Gavin Bazunu at Southampton has played more games than Forster of these keepers.

We often see high scoring games on the final day of the season, this one feels like a candidate for that given the need for both sides and their defensive records across the previous 37 games.

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