West Ham United manager David Moyes has predicted that the battle against the drop will continue until the very last day of the season.
There are no fewer than 12 or 13 teams currently fighting to preserve their Premier League status, with nine points separating 9th placed Watford from the drop zone, with only West Bromwich Albion starting to get cut adrift.
The Baggies are currently eight points from safety with nine games to play, with Stoke, Crystal Palace, Southampton, Newcastle, Huddersfield, West Ham, Swansea, Bournemouth, Everton and Brighton separated by just seven points.
Speaking about the situation at the bottom of the table in his pre-match press conference, Moyes said:
“It’s changing all the time, there is very little between the teams in 10th and down the bottom so I think any one team can beat the other. You’ve just got to pick up points when you can.
“We have had some good results against teams around us but also a couple of defeats. That’s typical of the bottom end of the league at this time.
“Points? I think 40 is the safe bet, if you get 40 then you’re pretty much there so we’ve got ten points to get there
“It’s that tight and sometimes you think your position gives you a cushion but it’s not because you need the points so we are all fighting hard.
“It’s competitive, teams are doing everything they can to stay up.”
Asked where this year’s battle would rank among the others he has been involved in over the years, he replied:
“Apart from last year (at Sunderland), I’ve not really been involved too much at the bottom end of the table.
“Overall I have worked higher up but I would say it’s the most competitive it’s been.
“The top six are very difficult to beat but from anywhere down, on their day, anyone can beat anyone. It’s going to be tight and probably go down to the last day for many teams.”
Moyes will be hoping to grab the first three of those desired points on Saturday afternoon when they face Burnley, who only last weekend achieved the magic 40 point mark themselves.