Movement in the relegation zone

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The Independent Online

The effect of a single weekend's results on the Premiership relegation betting demonstrates so clearly the importance of every match at this stage of the season that you wonder how the managers stand the strain.

At 3.45 on Saturday afternoon, Coventry were poised to take three points at White Hart Lane and a huge stride away from danger. An hour later, they became the third team quoted at long odds-on for the drop, the first time this year that the odds-makers have judged the issue so close to being resolved.

Coventry are now 1-3 to join the Endsleigh League, while QPR's chance of survival improved, if that is the right word, from 1-10 to 1-6 after their defeat of Southampton. Bolton, after a free-fall from 1-40 to 1- 10, fell back to 1-12 after a draw with Manchester City.

City, though, are far from secure on 3-1, not least in advance of next Saturday's match with Manchester United, the current 4-7 Premiership favourites. Southampton too looked a side with deep problems against QPR, and are just 6-4 for the drop. Only Wimbledon, 14-1 from 9-2, can look back on the weekend with total satisfaction.

Coral are sweating profusely on the outcome of Bordeaux's Uefa Cup semi- final against Slavia Prague. The firm offered, and laid, 1,000-1 about Bordeaux winning the trophy earlier this season. The best price now is 9-2.

TO BE RELEGATED (Hills): 1-12 Bolton, 1-6 QPR, 1-3 Coventry, 6-4 Southampton, 3-1 Manchester City, 14-1 Wimbledon.

FA CUP (Hills): 5-6 Liverpool, Manchester United.

THE DOUBLE (Hills): Manchester United 15-8, Liverpool 22-1.

EUROPEAN CUP (Coral): 8-11 Ajax, 13-8 Juventus, 9-1 Nantes, 14-1 Panathinaikos.

CUP-WINNERS' CUP (Hills): 13-8 Paris St-Germain, 9-4 Feyenoord, 5-2 Deportivo, 11-2 Rapid Vienna.

UEFA CUP (Coral): 13-8 Bayern Munich, 7-4 Barcelona, 4-1 Bordeaux, 9- 2 Slavia Prague.