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Weekend Permutations - Football: The ups, downs and play-off deciders

bet365 look at who will be celebrating and who will be commiserating come 5pm on Saturday afternoon

The Premier League is set for a thrilling conclusion with the races for the title, relegation and fourth place all set to go to the wire. While this weekend’s fixtures could have a huge effect on the destination of the Premier League trophy, it is at the bottom where things can be decided.

Norwich City could be relegated from the Premier League after going ten points adrift from safety following Burnley’s win on Sunday. Another Burnley win away at Watford, coupled with a Norwich defeat at Aston Villa, would be enough to see the Canaries return to the Championship.

Burnley could also leave Watford on the brink of relegation if they were to win at Vicarage Road. A Clarets victory would move them onto 34 points, a total that Watford could only reach by winning all their four remaining games.

The Championship

Champions-elect Fulham celebrated promotion last weekend, and could be crowned champions before their match on Monday evening, if Bournemouth fail to pick up all three points away at Blackburn on Saturday afternoon.

Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest are fighting it out to join Fulham in the Premier League next. The Cherries travel to Ewood Park while a resurgent Forest host Swansea City at the City Ground.

Sheffield United can take a huge step towards the play-offs if they can see off QPR at Loftus Road on Friday night, but it will go down to the final game of the season if Middlesbrough can match their result at home to Stoke City.

At the bottom of the table the relegation places have already been filled with Barnsley, Derby County and Peterborough already resigned to their fate.

League One

The League One title race has come down to the final weekend of the season with Wigan, Rotherham and MK Dons all fighting it out for the two promotion places.

Wigan are in the driving seat with a three point and six goal gap between themselves and third placed MK Dons, but will be slightly nervous after their defeat against Portsmouth on Tuesday night, a match in which they had led 2-0.

Rotherham were ready to celebrate promotion on Tuesday evening too, but a late Michael Ihiekwe own goal against Sunderland levelled the game and left the Millers in second place on 87 points, two points behind Wigan and one in front of the MK Dons. Rotherham travel to Gillingham on Saturday knowing a win will seal their return to the Championship.

MK Dons charge to automatic promotion stalled over Easter with back-to-back defeats. They must defeat play-offs chasing Plymouth and hope that Rotherham slip up at Priestfield. Their other hope is to defeat Plymouth and Wigan suffer an unlikely heavy defeat.

The play-off chase in League One is equally as complex.

Sheffield Wednesday (82 points, GD +25), Sunderland (81 points, GD +25), Plymouth (80 points, GD +25) and Wycombe (80 points, GD +23) are fighting it out for the three remaining play-off places.

Wycombe currently sit outside the top six and travel to Burton Albion needing to better Plymouth’s result at home to MK Dons. A win for Wycombe could actually see them finish fourth, if Sheffield Wednesday, Sunderland and Plymouth all fail to win.

Sheffield Wednesday host Portsmouth and Sunderland travel to Morecambe on what is expected to be a topsy turvy afternoon.

At the bottom of the table a win for Fleetwood will be enough for safety and relegate Gillingham, AFC Wimbledon and Doncaster Rovers, who would all join the already doomed Crewe. Defeat for Fleetwood opens up the door for Gillingham as both teams currently sit on 40 points.

It would take a huge goal swing for AFC Wimbledon and Doncaster.

League Two

Exeter City joined Forest Green in securing promotion to League One by coming from behind to defeat Barrow in midweek. Northampton will join them and claim third position if they can win their final two matches of the season, starting with Exeter on Saturday.

With Forest Green and Exeter locked on 83 points, the title will go down to the final game of the season.

With all teams in the division having two matches left to play, the fight for the final automatic spot, as well as the play-off places, are expected to go right down to the wire.

All of Port Vale in fourth, Mansfield in fifth and Bristol Rovers in sixth will have aspirations of ousting Northampton from the automatic promotion spot but know that defeat on Saturday will likely leave them looking at the play-offs.

This weekend is a huge weekend for all the teams bidding for League Two promotion. Salford and Tranmere in ninth and tenth need three points or they will drop out of the chase and the likes of Swindon, Sutton and Bristol Rovers will be left to fight it out.

At the wrong end of the table Oldham and Scunthorpe can no longer save their seasons and both will drop out of the football league.

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