A Battle for Relevance

POSTED: 18 March 2011

A Battle for Relevance

The threat of relegation is more real to some teams than others. Aside from a handful of top-ranked teams pursuing premiership victory, the realistic options are either scramble to stay just above the drop zone, or find mid-table safety. And for teams with bottom standings, every game is a fight to either dodge, or escape from the shame of relegation.

This is the situation currently plaguing Wigan Athletic and Birmingham City, as they prepare for a faceoff set for this weekend. Birmingham, at 17th place, are one West Ham United win away from falling into the drop zone. At 20th place, match hosts Wigan sit dangerously unmoved at the bottom of the pile, needing at least a two-win streak to pull themselves to safety.

From where I sit, each side’s numbers are not very reassuring. Wigan hold a 5-12-12 overall record, featuring two recent Premiere League losses (totalling three counting an FA cup defeat), two draws and a sole win in between. Birmingham show 6-13-9, with a recent draw, two losses and two wins.

Head to head, a possible Wigan home advantage is watered down by the side’s depressing 3-6-6 home record. Birmingham, despite having the only away win in the sides’ 7-game history, currently hold an unthreatening 2-6-5 away record.

The desperation for a win will possibly be one motivating factor for each side. The question of that being enough to claim an extra three points is a different story.

Verdict: Draw