The don’t deserve to go down XI
You’re getting off lightly, Birmingham fans. We’re not convinced you are safe just yet, but for the sake of this experiment we are focusing on the current bottom-five. So, here’s a team of Wigan, Blackburn, Blackpool, West Ham and Wolves players whose performances have not been befitting of possible relegation.
1. Ali Al-Habsi (Wigan)
Long-term Bolton benchwarmer Al-Habsi has really earned his Premier League stripes during his loan spell at the DW Stadium this season. Honourable mention to Robert Green, who is equally undeserving of relegation.
2. Michel Salgado (Blackburn)
The Spanish veteran has been a key part of a Rovers defence that has been miserly at home. OK, they haven’t been so good away but it’s still by far the best defensive record in the bottom five.
3. Maynor Figueroa (Wigan)
The Honduran left-back regularly receives admiring glances from higher up the Premier League table and he has been solid again this term.
4. Christophe Berra (Wolves)
The Scot has been a solid figure in the Wolves defence this season. He has had a couple of blips over the course of the season, but generally he’s stopped a lot more goals than he has been responsible for conceding.
5. Chris Samba (Blackburn)
The man-mountain defender has been solid as ever at the back and has been linked with his fair share of moves away from Ewood Park. He is also Rovers’ joint second-top scorer for the season!
6. Charlie Adam (Blackpool)
Whether he was distracted by transfer talk or has just got slightly off the boil, his form has dipped since January. Nonetheless, his influence for the Seasiders this season has been immense. That’s why he has been linked with those high-profile moves.
7. Charles N’Zogbia (Wigan)
Arguably not quite as standout as he was last season, but still one of the shining lights in what has been a pretty decent Wigan midfield.
8. Scott Parker (West Ham)
The West Ham midfielder’s contributions have been recognised by far more noble news outlets than your humble OTP, but he is fully deserving of his place in our side. It is fair to say that West Ham would already be dead and buried if it wasn’t for Parker.
9. DJ Campbell (Blackpool)
Obviously goals are at a premium at the end of the table we are discussing, so Campbell’s 11 Premier League strikes for Blackpool have been vital. DJ has proved he can cut it at the very top level.
10. Demba Ba (West Ham)
Yep, it’s slim picking for strikers down at the bottom. Ba hasn’t set the Premier League alight since arriving in January, but he has bagged five league goals. That’s the same as Carlton Cole and one less than Frederic Piquionne, and he’s done it in half the games.
11. Matt Jarvis (Wolves)
Jarvis’ England call-up is testament to his continued good form for Wolves. With Liverpool among those reportedly interested, it’s hard to imagine he would drop to the Championship even if Mick McCarthy’s side do go down. At his best he is exhilarating to watch.