Premier League relegation battle: Who will escape the drop between Brighton & Cardiff?
The title race and scrap for the top-four are the more glamorous issues to be resolved in the Premier League, but survival in England's top flight remains arguably the most important.
They say that form is temporary and class is permanent. But if neither of these sides has shown genuine Premier League class this season, then perhaps form is the most important thing and that's where Brighton has the edge in this enticing battle to avoid the trap door into the English Championship.
Form & status quo 〽️
Cardiff sits four points behind Brighton with two games to play and six points to play for. Cardiff's vastly inferior goal difference means that they need two wins and for Brighton to pick up a maximum of one point from their two remaining fixtures. Cardiff has lost five of their last six matches at the worst possible time, while Chris Hughton's Brighton side produced an upturn in form, not necessarily results, that suggests they should have enough in the tank to stay in the division.
Ironically, Brighton's last defeat to a side in the bottom half was against Cardiff on 16 April but they've built on that with a creditable 0-0 draw with Wolves and they were desperately unlucky to lose 1-0 at Tottenham in stoppage time. Their come-from-behind 1-1 draw at Newcastle last time out seemed to be a visible shot in the arm for the players.
Warnock bemoans bad decisions 🗣
It's an old adage in football that bad decisions even themselves out, but tell that to Cardiff manager Neil Warnock. His side was robbed late on against Chelsea when Blues skipper Cesar Azpilicueta scored from a blatantly offside position and calls haven't gone for them ever since. However, it's foolish crying over spilt milk and Warnock can only deal with the situation as it is. He didn't pull any punches with his opinion on the officiating in the Premier League in a recent interview and got fined a hefty amount of money for what he said.
Remaining fixtures 📆
The equation is simple for Neil Warnock. Cardiff City must win both of their remaining fixtures and then hope that Brighton picks up nothing from their remaining matches. Cardiff will be hopeful in that regard because Brighton's last two games are away to Arsenal and home to title-chasing Manchester City.
Cardiff simply must beat Crystal Palace to keep hopes alive, and that's a match that cannot be missed as this unique brand of entertainment gets served up by the Premier League year on year. The odds are stacked against them, but stranger things have happened.
Who's staying up?