Black Cats poised to kill off Canaries to complete amazing run

Alex Broadway

As recently as Friday, the relegation race looked as if it could go into the season's final minutes. Now it could be decided on Wednesday.

Despite the fact that Aston Villa are safe, it's still interesting to keep an eye on the relegation race at the bottom of the Premier League. Cardiff City and Fulham were officially eliminated this weekend, and only Norwich City and Sunderland remain in contention to join them. Technically, Norwich could still catch West Bromwich Albion on points, but it would require the reversal of 19 goals worth of differential in three matches. So for our purposes we're ignoring them.

We've also got the fact that Sunderland could get a draw and a loss and end tied on 36 with a winning Norwich. But again, the goal differential would be too much to make up, especially given that the scenario means Sunderland's stays the same for one of those matches. Even if they somehow tied on differential, Sunderland have scored more goals anyhow. That said, I would love to live in a world where Norwich survive because Sunderland drew West Brom, lost 7-0 to Swansea and the Canaries beat Arsenal 7-0.

But let's ignore the absurd. Put as simply as is possible, Norwich only have one chance of avoiding the drop: they must beat Arsenal at Carrow Road next weekend AND Sunderland must lose to West Brom and Swansea.

Intuitively, that scenario seems pretty implausible. But, despite their great run of form, Sunderland have been a terrible team this year. It's not crazy to think that the clock may strike midnight before their season is over and that they could lose out. And, with Norwich, we saw them play a smart match against Chelsea today that seems to indicate they've got something left. It's not crazy to think that Norwich stay up.

But if we take a look at the current probabilities for all of the outcomes, it becomes pretty evident what a tough thing that will be. Norwich currently have a 26.87% chance of winning against Arsenal (remember, in the absence of good probability numbers, we're using odds translated to probability). The chance of Sunderland losing out is 4.67%.

To see the chances of those happening simultaneously, we simply multiply them together to see that the chances of Norwich staying up are... 1.25%.

Sorry Canaries. It's been a good three years with you up, but it looks like your run has come to an end. We can officially ring the death bells if Sunderland get any kind of result on Wednesday.

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