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‘This is a bit unfair’ – Gary Lineker names clubs he ‘suspects’ Premier League will want relegated as Everton resume fight

In Europe
April 15, 2024
Gary Lineker

Gary Lineker -Credit:Rest is Football podcast

Everton resume their fight for Premier League survival when they head to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea tonight.

After a weekend in which all four of the teams below them in the table failed to win, Everton will kick-off this evening two points clear of the drop zone. But as Sean Dyche has regularly attested to, his Blues side would already be safe had it not been for the points deductions handed out to the club this season.

Everton were hit by six-point and two-point penalties – the latter of which is going to appeal – for breaching the league’s spending rules. Without them, the Blues would currently be 10 points clear of third-from-bottom Luton Town.

READ MORE: Everton have 76 reasons why they can finally leave Newcastle with an unwanted record

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Fourth-from-bottom Nottingham Forest, meanwhile, would be five points better off than Luton, rather than one, had it not been for their four-point deduction. Their appeal against that penalty is set to be heard after Forest’s visit to Goodison Park on Sunday (April 21).

It means the battle to remain in the top flight could yet be decided off the field. That is certainly not fair on Everton and Forest fans – nor on the supporters of Luton, Burnley and Sheffield United, whose clubs currently comprise the relegation places following their promotions from the Championship last season.

And speaking about the situation down at the foot of the Premier League on the latest The Rest is Football podcast, Goodison great Gary Lineker has suggested league bosses may prefer the current bottom three to remain as it is.

“I suspect, and I know this is a bit unfair, but I suspect the Premier League will be sort of hoping that’s the case,” said Lineker, who scored 40 goals in his sole season at Everton. “Because that way the points deductions won’t affect it.”

Asked who he believes will go down, fellow guest Alan Shearer said: “I think the bottom three in terms of Sheffield United, Burnley and Luton.”

The Blues have two games in hand on Forest and Luton, the latter of whom return to action on Saturday (April 20) when they host Brentford. Their two rivals meet at Goodison a day later.

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