The Observer asked fans of the bottom seven clubs to say who would go down and who would survive. Perhaps to no great surprise, all seven – our own Pete Sixsmith included – said Sunderland would drop. Pete did allow for another possible great escape but without much confidence. Everyone apart from the Palace supporter thought they were doomed, too, with the votes for the third team divided between Hull, Boro and Leicester .

Here are Pete’s responses. (You can see the article in full at this link.)

20th: P25 W5 D4 L16 F24 A46 Pts19

Are you going down?

We’ve had four escapes in a row but I don’t see a fifth one coming this year. Poor players, no discernible tactics and a rapidly disillusioned support suggest we are heading, finally, for a spell in the Championship.

Reasons to be hopeful

Jermain Defoe and Jordan Pickford. They’re at opposite ends of their careers and at opposite ends of the field, but both are class acts. If the nine who fill the gaps between could lift themselves we may just squeak through – meaning I’d be back in this slot in February 2018 answering the same questions. Perhaps the biggest cause for hope is we the have experience of dodging the hangman’s rope which our rivals do not.

Reasons to be worried

Lamine Koné could have been a hero for us but has been a disappointment because he agitated for a move. Adnan Januzaj has been poor. Fabio Borini looks lost. Papy Djilobodji makes me wonder who scouted him. The owner put little money up this season – and it shows.

Is the manager to blame?

David Moyes must accept some of the blame as it goes with the job, but he has been hamstrung by a lack of finance and a horrendous string of injuries to key players such as Cattermole, Kirchhoff and Anichebe.

Tips for the drop

Us, Palace and Middlesbrough – or maybe Leicester if the annual miracle occurs.

Peter Sixsmith SalutSunderland.com

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Salut! Sunderland is written, illustrated and edited by - and principally for - supporters of Sunderland AFC. The site aims to be sufficiently literate and entertaining to appeal to people who do not follow SAFC but enjoy good football writing.

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