Joleon Lescott column: Saving Leeds could be Big Sam's toughest task yet
Sam Allardyce is no stranger to a challenge but keeping Leeds up may be his toughest assignment yet.
I'm not sure any of us are surprised when a struggling club turn to Big Sam, given his history and pedigree in these situations — though four games hardly gives him much chance to make an impact.
What's more, starting with a trip to Manchester City is an absolute nightmare.
As we've seen so many times recently, you can set your team up perfectly at the Etihad and still end up getting well beaten.
Sam understands the remit, though. Leeds won't be expecting a glamorous style or an exciting brand of football from him, it just needs to be effective.
I never got to play under him but having spoken to many former team-mates that did, everybody seemed to really enjoy themselves.
He'll keep things simple. It'll be a clear process and even if it doesn't work, the players will always go out on to the pitch knowing exactly what he expects from them.
He'll look to instil a feel-good factor within the dressing room and quickly try to work out what motivates each individual, even if time is against him in that regard.
If you offered him six points from the four games right now, I think he'd snap your hand off.
Down to the wire
I said last week that the loser of Leicester's clash with Everton would be relegated — so of course it ended level!
I'm not sure if that draw does either side many favours really. Both will feel like they had enough chances to win it.
The Toffees were probably the better team on the night but Leicester missed a penalty, so all in all, you have to say a draw was about right.
Being honest, I'm really worrying for my old club now. Taking points from this weekend's trip to Brighton or next weekend's home game with Man City seems a tall order.
Beyond that, they'll fancy their chances against Wolves and Bournemouth but who knows what the league will be looking like by that point.
Southampton are surely gone. I reckon they'd need to take almost maximum points in their final four games and there's no way that's happening.
They still have the chance to stick a dent in Nottingham Forest's survival bid on Monday night though.
Talking of which, time for my predictions.
Joleon Lescott's Premier League Matchday 35 predictions
Bournemouth vs Chelsea (Saturday, 3pm)
Form points to a Bournemouth win but it all depends on their attitude. Now they are safe, will they play with extra freedom or become complacent?
Chelsea are on a stinking run but this string of losses can't go on forever.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1-1 Chelsea
Manchester City vs Leeds (Saturday, 3pm, Sky Sports)
We all know what Leeds will be trying to do at the Etihad but it's easier said than done!
City's game with Fulham was a tight scoreline but they still only conceded one or two shots on target, so I think they'll have few problems here.
Prediction: Manchester City 3-0 Leeds
Tottenham vs Crystal Palace (Saturday, 3pm)
If Crystal Palace could get their noses in front here, I'd have confidence in them to go on and win the game.
Tottenham are really hard to judge at the moment but I'm leaning towards them grinding this out.
Prediction: Tottenham 2-1 Crystal Palace
Wolves vs Aston Villa (Saturday, 3pm)
Wolves have done enough to secure safety but this looks a big ask for them against Aston Villa.
Even though they lost at Old Trafford, Unai Emery's men are one of the division's form teams and you'd have to fancy them here.
Prediction: Wolves 1-2 Aston Villa
Liverpool vs Brentford (Saturday, 5.30pm, Sky Sports)
I see Liverpool finishing this season strongly now, but I don't think Manchester United or Newcastle will drop enough points for them to sneak into the top four.
Brentford are a tough opponent for anyone though and there are a few similarities in their approaches. This could easily end level.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-2 Brentford
Newcastle vs Arsenal (Sunday, 4.30pm, Sky Sports)
Newcastle are so good at home, so they will really fancy this. They are also probably the only team apart from City playing with more confidence than Arsenal this season.
The Gunners did bounce back well against Chelsea in midweek but I see them dropping points here.
Prediction: Newcastle 2-2 Arsenal
West Ham vs Manchester United (Sunday, 7pm, BT Sport)
This is a tough old week for West Ham and you would expect them to try and keep things tight after Wednesday's loss to City.
The hosts can make this a close contest but you'd have to think Erik ten Hag's side may end up edging it.
Prediction: West Ham 1-2 Manchester United
Fulham vs Leicester (Monday, 3pm)
There were flashes of the old Leicester on Monday night — but it was also easy to see why the Foxes have been dragged into the relegation battle.
Fulham are very good at home but their performances have become far less consistent, so a draw seems viable.
Prediction: Fulham 1-1 Leicester
Brighton vs Everton (Monday, 5.30pm, BT Sport)
Nobody wants to go to Brighton at the moment with the way they are playing and the positive atmosphere that is around the place.
Everton looked better against Leicester but sadly I can't see them picking up anything here.
Prediction: Brighton 2-1 Everton
Nottingham Forest vs Southampton (Monday, 8pm, Sky Sports)
Southampton already need a miracle to survive but if they lose this one, that's their season over.
Forest will fancy this. A victory here would put them one win away from safety I reckon. What more motivation do you need?
Prediction: Nottingham Forest 2-1 Southampton
Joleon Lescott was speaking to Matthew Hill
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