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Southampton leaves Swansea on brink of relegation, all but clinches Premier League safety

Manolo Gabbiadini’s scrappy 72nd-minute strike at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday was, without a doubt, the biggest goal of the Premier League season so far.

It was the only goal of a proper relegation six-pointer between Swansea and Southampton, and it lifted the Saints three points clear of the 18th-place Swans with just one game remaining. Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy made a few mammoth saves to secure a massive 1-0 victory.

The result also ended West Brom’s run at the greatest ever Premier League escape, officially condemning the Baggies to relegation. They’ll drop down to the Championship alongside Stoke despite not losing since March, because of a decision they made in November.

And it left the Premier League table looking like this with just one – or, in Huddersfield Town’s case, two – matchday to go:

Updated Premier League table

Team — Points (goal differential) | Games played

16. Southampton — 36 (-18) | 37
17. Huddersfield — 36 (-29) | 36
———————————————
18. Swansea — 33 (-27) | 37
19. West Brom (R) — 31 (-23) | 37
20. Stoke (R) — 30 (-34) | 37

Final day relegation scenarios

In simultaneous games on Sunday, Southampton hosts Manchester City; Swansea hosts Stoke. To catch the Saints, the Swans must win, see Southampton lose, and overturn a nine-goal differential.

And even then, goals scored, the next tiebreaker, would see Southampton stay up. So Swansea needs something along the lines of a 4-0 victory and a 6-0 Southampton loss against City. Not impossible, given the opponents; but certainly improbable.

Swansea City’s Andre Ayew battles for the ball with Southampton’s Jan Bednarek, right, and Wesley Hoedt during the English Premier League soccer match at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Wales, Tuesday May 8, 2018. (Nick Potts/PA via AP)

Swansea’s best hope is to catch Huddersfield. The Terriers have two games remaining, but the opponents are Chelsea (on Wednesday) and Arsenal (Sunday). One point ensures their safety. Zero, however, leaves them vulnerable. Two Huddersfield losses and a Swansea win on the final day would see both Southampton and Swansea stay up and Huddersfield tumble back down to the Championship.

So, provided there are no outlandish goal differential swings, in bullet-point form:

Southampton avoids relegation with …

  • Any set of results – again, provided they don’t somehow finish with a goal differential worse than Swansea’s.

Huddersfield avoids relegation with …

  • At least a point against either Chelsea or Arsenal; OR
  • A Swansea loss or draw against Stoke on the final day.

Swansea avoids relegation with …

  • Huddersfield losses to Chelsea and Arsenal; AND
  • A win over Stoke on the final day.

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Henry Bushnell covers global soccer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at henrydbushnell@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell, and on Facebook.

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