Premier League: Four Key Matches That Defined the Relegation Battle

Teemu Pukki of Norwich City (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Teemu Pukki of Norwich City (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images) /
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As the Premier League paused its season, there were six clubs in the relegation battle. Four matches have been pivotal to the race to escape the drop.

Despite all the opening day hopes, six teams have settled in the relegation zone or sit aloft a few points from safety. When the league shut down, Brighton sat alone in 15th with 29 points.

West Ham, Watford, and Bournemouth were in 16th through to 18th, respectively, all at 27 points separated by goal differential. Aston Villa was in 19th with 25 points with Norwich City in the bottom slot with 21 points.

The clubs fighting against relegation had many moments and matches that defined their individual campaigns. There have been manager changes, transfers of players, and critical games that have affected the race for better or worse.

It has been quite difficult just to pick four matches, but I will give it a good try. There is one match that does deserve an honorable mention.

January 1, West Ham defeats Bournemouth in David Moyes’ return

As the previous year ended, the Hammers were in complete free fall. Since beating Manchester United in late September, they had managed just two wins and two draws in their next 13 league matches, putting them in 17th, but only one point from the drop spots.

West Ham sacked their manager Manuel Pellegrini and replaced him with David Moyes, who had previously rescued the Hammers from relegation earlier in his journeyman managerial career.

In Moyes’ first match in charge, West Ham faced Bournemouth, who was one point ahead of them in the table standings. The Hammers dismantled the visitors 4-0 leading to fans hoping that history would repeat itself as it often does.

Unfortunately, there was no new manager bump for the Hammers as they would only win one of their last nine matches, leaving them no better in the standings as they were when the year started.

Here are the most defining moments.