Yakubu, Moses, Taiwo face relegation battles
On April 27, 2012
By John EGBOKHAN

 The battle to stay alive in the English Premier League will be in focus this weekend as Super Eagles trio of Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Victor Moses and Taiye Taiwo play key matches for their respective clubs, bidding to avoid being relegated to the Championship next season.

Yakubu

With Wolves already relegated, two more teams must join the Molineux team in the Championship. Any of these five teams, comprising Aston Villa, Queens Park Rangers, Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers and Bolton might be relegated but of the lot,  any two of Bolton, QPR, Blackburn and Wigan appear the most likely to get relegated.

Bouncing from a 2-0 home win over Norwich at the weekend, Blackburn Rovers, parading Eagles forward Yakubu, will be on the road to play Champions League chasing Tottenham Hotspurs, whose form of late, has been very poor. In their last match against Queens Park Rangers, Tottenham were humbled 1-0 and are desperate to avoid a successive defeat against another side trying to avoid the drop to the lesser fancied Championship.

Since being touted to become England manager after Fabio Capello was axed, Coach Harry Redknapp has not been able to deliver the goodies for the fans at White hart Lane and is under pressure to get the job done this weekend when Blackburn come visiting for a match that might determine Yakubu’s fate in the top league.

With 31 points from 35 games in the 2011-2012 season, Blackburn, are one of the teams most likely to go down should they fall at White Hart lane. They cannot afford to share points less alone lose against Spurs. Coach Steve Kean, who has had a rocky stay at Ewood Park, since being named stand-in coach, has his work cut out for him as he must be able to get something from this match of face the full wrath of the club’s directors, who have been patient this far with him.

To get the job done, Kean will be relying on his strikers to score the goals that will ease the pressure on the team but after failing to find the net in his last game, is Yakubu going to find his range on Sunday?

In another relegation match slated for tomorrow, Wigan, parading new Eagles striker, Victor Moses, have their destiny in their hands against Newcastle.

Taye Taiwo

Despite losing 2-1 at Fulham at the weekend, the chances of Wigan beating Newcastle are high. The Lactics have been impressive in the run-in to the Premier League season and at home, they have been simply fantastic. With 34 points from 35 games, a home win will see Wigan go six points clear of Blackburn with two games left to play in the season and should Blackburn lose at White Hart Lane, then Yakubu’s relegation from the Premier League will be all but confirmed as they will need Wigan to lose their last two games to have any realistic chance of beating the drop.

Whilst Latics currently hold a five-point gap between themselves and the relegation zone, Coach  Roberto Martinez  stressed the importance of taking nothing for granted with three massive games still remaining:

“We haven’t achieved anything yet, what we have found is a run of results that gives everyone belief and confidence in the way we’re playing. There are twelve points still to fight for and every team in our area of the table are going to pick up points over the coming weeks.

“I expect it to be a very tight fight until the very end and the five-point gap that we’ve earned is nothing compared to the margins that will change from now until the final game.

“It’s important that we continue playing to the level we’ve shown in the last few weeks and keep that competition within the squad high – that’s been one of the major factors in our good form.”

For Taiye Taiwo’s Queens Park Rangers, their London derby against Chelsea is another key game in their bid to beat the drop to the Championship.

Tied on 34 ;points with Wigan, the Coach Mark Hughes’s QPR charges, who gained a morale boosting 1-0 home win over Spurs last weekend, know that their short walk to the other side of London to face a resurgent Chelsea team will be anything but a jolly ride. Still hopeful of securing a Champions League slot next season, the Blues re in no mood for mercy for any team, not much, one struggling to stay alive in the Premier League.

Victor Moses

QPR’s last two matches are against Stoke at home and an away trip to Manchester City on the last day of the season while Wigan next two games after this weekend’s tie are an away game against Blackburn Rovers followed by an home match against already relegated Wolves. For Blackburn, their last two matches after week 36 of the season see them welcome Wigan to Ewwod Park, before hitting the road to confront Chelsea in the battle for survival.

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