The Premier League title is Manchester City’s to lose this season and this has led to a distinct lack of intrigue at the top of the table. More focus has been placed on the race to finish in the top four this season than has been placed on the title winners. While the top four race is interesting, the best stories in the League at the moment can be found at the other end. At least eight Premier League sides are at risk of facing the drop this season. Three of those sides will have their clubs trajectory changed dramatically in the next few months and this promises to be fascinating. From rank outsiders like Norwich to the richest club in world football Newcastle United, there is a real jeopardy as to what will occur. So let’s take a look at each of the eight sides at risk of relegation and examine their chances for survival.
In truth Patrick Viera’s side has played well at times this season and should have more than enough quality to avoid the drop, however, poor form over the last few months has the London side only nine points above the drop zone.
The big problem for Palace this season has been in front of goal. No attacker in the squad has managed more than six league goals this season. At this point, on-loan midfielder Conor Gallagher is the club top scorer. Whilst goals from midfield are always a great attribute, it is not a trait Palace can rely on for the rest of the season.
New signing Odsonne Édouard has put in some good performances up top but has failed to hit the net on a regular basis, while experienced duo Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke have scored even less than the Frenchman. If this continues then Palace will likely be in for a nervous end to this season.
The Bees always had their work cut out for them this season and will likely be happy to sit 14th in the league at this stage of their first season in the top flight. Unfortunately, Brentford are the side currently suffering some of the worst form in the division. No wins in seven games has Brentford seven points above the drop zone having played two games more than most of the sides below them.
On top of this, further issues at the club arose when star striker Ivan Toney was caught making derogatory statements about the side. With many of the teams below them improving, its safe to say Brentford have work to do if they want to stop the rot and get back to their early-season form.
Injuries have been the bane of Leeds United’s season. This is largely why the club finds themselves six points above the drop, however, post-January Leeds only has themselves to blame.
The club went into this season with a notably thin squad and after a terrible injury crisis they still decided not to add to the team with new signings. Add to this a playing style which demands an extremely high work rate and you have a recipe for disaster.
If The Whites do go down this season then they will surely rue this quiet transfer window as a missed opportunity. It took Leeds United 16 years to get back into the Premier League and you can expect Marcelo Bielsa’s side to work extremely hard to keep their spot. Its not all doom and gloom for Leeds as star players Patrick Bamford and Kalvin Phillips are due back from injury and will surely spur the side on in the second half of the season.
Everton are a warning to Newcastle that having money to spend does not guarantee success. Its easy to forget that the club has one of the highest net spends in the Premier League and were recently managed by the Legendary Carlo Ancelotti.
As a result of this spending Everton have had to tighten the purse strings this season in order to comply with Financial Fair Play. It’s not all about a lack of new players though as anyone who has watched Everton play recently will understand why they are fighting relegation.
The Toffees were truly terrible under former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez and find themselves with 12 league defeats so far this season. To put that in perspective that is three more defeats than bottom side Burnley.
Evertonians do have some hope in the second half of the season as after a change of manager they look to be slowly steadying the ship. The addition of Frank Lampard along with some high profile new signings should be enough to keep Everton above water this season but that is far from a guarantee.
It is hard to imagine a team that would suffer more than Newcastle if they failed to beat the drop. The club hit the headlines this season when they became the richest club in the world following a Saudi backed takeover by the Public Investment Fund.
The future looks certain to be bright for Eddie Howe’s side, however, prior to the January transfer window they were one of the favourites to be relegated.
In the last five games this has changed dramatically. The club are unbeaten during this period and also boast a three-match winning streak. The club also made sure to sort out its defensive issues by brining in three experienced Premier League players in Matt Targett, Dan Burn and Kieran Trippier. Its beginning to look like Newcastle will avoid the drop this season and move on to bigger and better things in the next few years.
Somehow Dean Smith has made Norwich competitive this season. When the former Aston Villa boss took over from Daniel Farke The Canaries looked dead and buried. They were rock bottom of the league with only one win and had looked very much like a championship side. Since Dean Smiths takeover the club have recorded a further three wins and at one point had even lifted themselves out of the bottom three. Unfortunately Norwich still look a side who will really struggle to maintain their Premier League status.
At this point, the club has conceded the most goals and scored the least goals of any team in the division. To sit last in both categories while out of the relegation zone was an achievement in itself. Norwich decided not to strengthen in January making it a certainty that they will still have a lot to do in the next few months if they are to avoid the drop.
If anyone can sort out this dire Watford side then it is a veteran of the game like Roy Hodgson. Even then the former Palace boss has an enormous task ahead of him to do so. The London side sit 19th in the table having played two games more than bottom side Burnley. Aside from this the clubs recent form is terrible with no wins in their last 11 Premier League games.
Fans and pundits are generally critical of Watford for changing managers multiple times a season, however, this time the club were certainly right to do so. Roy Hodgson has a proven record of helping clubs avoid relegation and will surely be able to improve this side. Even then it is hard to imagine Watford avoiding the drop this season. The clubs around them have either strengthened or have started to improve their form while Watford have yet to do either.
It would be easy to look at Burnley and come to the conclusion that the club are doomed to relegation. The Clarets sit bottom of the table with only 14 points, have a single win in 24 games and have sold their best striker to rivals Newcastle United. Reasons for positivity in the camp would seem to be thin on the ground.
Despite all of the club were able to lure top Bundesliga striker Wout Weghorst to the club and have also seen key player Ashley Barnes come back from injury. The sides performances have also seen an uptick in the last three games in which they gave both Manchester United and Liverpool a scare while taking a point off of Watford.
It is also worth mentioning that Burnley are excellent defensively. The club have only conceded 29 goals this season which puts them seventh in the division for goals conceded. With the boost of two new high quality attackers it is certainly possible that we see a far better second half of the season from Sean Dyche’s side. It seems unlikely that Burnley will survive the drop this season but they do look a side who will fight it all the way.
Let us know which clubs you think will be relegated this season!
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