This is shaping into a classic relegation scramble. Panic is increasingly difficult to suppress, and fear stalks the land.

The price of relegation from the Premier League is becoming more alarming each season, with eight clubs mathematically involved in the struggle.

Newcastle have done the bare minimum to ensure survival. Tony Pulis should bully West Bromwich Albion into staying up. Tim Sherwood is one win away from installation as an Aston Villa legend.

Logic suggests the bottom five clubs are bang in trouble. Who will save themselves? Our predictions might surprise you.

Leicester City
Run-in: Swansea (H), Burnley (A), Chelsea (H), Newcastle (H), Southampton (H), Sunderland (A), QPR (H)

The signs are promising. Leicester have five home games in their final seven fixtures. They remain bottom, but are a vibrant, defiant team with momentum, following two unexpected victories at the perfect time.

Much will depend on whether manager Nigel Pearson has the courage of his convictions. The experience of Esteban Cambiasso, the pace of Jamie Vardy and the street smarts of David Nugent suggest they have the potential to play their way out of trouble.

Burnley
Run-in: Everton (A), Leicester (H), West Ham (A), Hull (A), Stoke (H), Aston Villa (A)

Sean Dyche should have been manager of the year in 2014, for getting Burnley promoted to the Premier League on a meagre budget. He will be even more deserving of the accolade in 2015 if he succeeds in keeping them up, against prohibitive odds.

Sean Dyche

Dyche’s team will not lack for energy, organisation and intestinal fortitude. Their run-in offers hope, provided they can find a missing spark in front of goal.

Sunderland
Run-in: Stoke (A), Southampton (H), Everton (A), Leicester (H), Arsenal (A), Chelsea (A)

Dick Advocaat went a little early with his boasts of managerial infallibility, following Sunderland’s traditional win in the North East derby.

Persistent collapses hint that he has inherited a team of dubious collective character. Defensively shambolic in their latest surrender, against Crystal Palace, they will need to have given themselves breathing space before the season ends with two forbidding away games. The visit of Leicester to the Stadium of Light looks pivotal.

QPR
Run-in West Ham (H), Liverpool (A), Manchester City (A), Newcastle (H), Leicester (A)

Chris Ramsey is a likeable man, an excellent coach, and a rookie manager who was given a hospital pass by his predecessor, Harry Redknapp. His dejection, after a cruel defeat by Chelsea, seemed significant. 

Belief is the key factor. They should win their two remaining home games, since West Ham and Newcastle already have the flip-flops on, and it may come down to a winner-takes-all trip to Leicester on the final day.

Hull City
Run-in: Liverpool (H), Crystal Palace (A), Arsenal (H), Burnley (H), Tottenham (A), Manchester United (H)

The football Gods like a chuckle every now and again. The prospect of Steve Bruce being relegated at Old Trafford, where he shed pints of blood for Manchester United’s cause, seems too enticing for them to resist.

Hull are a classic case of a team sleepwalking into trouble. They have a daunting run-in, and are beset by injuries. Big signings are underachieving. Bruce may consider himself fortunate to have just signed a new three-year contract.

Prediction
Hull, Sunderland and QPR to go down.