Commentary

The EPL's relegation battle

West Ham and Blackpool are among the most likely to fall out of the top flight

Updated: April 28, 2011, 1:05 PM ET
By Jonathan Costa | ESPN Stats and Information
Jonathan SpectorMark Thompson/Getty ImagesJonathan Spector and West Ham are on the verge of being relegated from the Premier League.

The title race in England appears to have been settled, with Manchester United almost a 99 percent favorite to win the league according to ESPN's Soccer Power Index. However, the competition to stay in the Barclays Premier League for the 2011-12 season is coming down to the wire.

ESPN's Soccer Power Index projects four teams with relegation chances of greater than 40 percent with less than a month to go in the season, and the gap between 15th and 20th was only six points as of Thursday morning.

There are no trophies for finishing 17th, but a club that stays up in the Premier League can bank on television payments of at least $60 million next season, while a club that is relegated gets a far smaller share of the television pie and a "parachute payment" from the Premier League of roughly $24 million.

So with a large financial incentive at stake, here's a look at how SPI projects the bottom of the table to shake out and some key battles along the way: