As Paul Clement’s faltering Swansea City take on Stoke at the Liberty Stadium this weekend, there’s no need for me – or anyone else – to state how must-win this game really is.
READ MORE: Odd decisions costing Swansea their season
READ MORE: Swansea are right back in the relegation mix
Every game is must-win from here.
The problem is that even if Swansea do win every game (pretty unlikely) we already find ourselves in the position of needing Hull to slip up.
Of course, the chances of Hull winning every single one of their last five games is just as unlikely, although not impossible. The toughest team they face is Spurs on the final day.
However this reliance on the Tigers to lose just illustrates that we have probably left it too late to save the season.
I’m not sure why, but some part of me still thinks we’ll survive. Looking at the final five games though, I’m not sure how.
We’ve had it drummed in to us that 40 points is the magical safety number. Three wins would get us close. Four wins out of the next five games would probably see us safe (again, depending on Hull). But can you really see us winning four games? We haven’t won one game since the start of March!
It depends on how well Clement can rally the side. Do the players have any fight or desire in them? Or are most of them accepting relegation, then looking forward to a transfer in the summer?
While getting anything more than a point from Man United or Everton would be a miracle, taking three points from Stoke and West Brom – both at home – is achievable. That would leave Sunderland, which in theory should be the easiest game of the season.
First up is that fixture against Stoke, which will be as tough a match as any we’ve played this month. Forgetting the fact that they happily beat us 3-1 earlier in the season, they are now sitting comfortably in the middle of the table with the top ten in their sights. They have a handful of players that can really damage us: Marko Arnautovic, Peter Crouch and Xherdan Shaqiri to name a few.
Worse still, Swansea will have no Jack Cork or Wayne Routledge, who are out with injury. Not that these are game-changing players, but we need everyone at full strength to have a chance.
Reflect on the last few months and it really is a baffling situation. Look at some of the quality players we have and what they are capable of doing. How have things gone so badly for Swansea, considering the optimism and regeneration Paul Clement brought with him in January?
Sadly I have no answers. Let’s hope both Clement and his squad can come up with something on Saturday.