All the eyes may be at the top of the Premier League standings, but history would show us that the most interesting aspect of the English top-flight is the battle to stay in the division.
At least one of the relegation spots is always up in the air come the final day of the season, and the league table already looks to be shaping up that way once again. But, which teams will be wearily be looking over their shoulders as we enter the crucial winter stage of the season following the international break?
Premier League Relegation Battle
Norwich Already Look Doomed, Toon In Danger
The bottom two in the Premier League relegation battle are already looking in big trouble this season. We will start with Norwich City. Many experts have already pointed out that the Canaries business plan isn’t a good outlook when it comes to fans’ excitement, as owners look more than happy to get promoted before going back into the Championship the following season just to get the lucrative parachute payments. Norwich already looks doomed this season, and there isn’t much hope of them staying in the top-flight.
Daniel Farke’s side is yet to win a game and has taken just two points from a possible 30. They are already eight from safety and have scored the fewest league goals at this stage of the season in Premier League history (3). Furthermore, they have the worst defensive record, having conceded 25. It looks more of a case of whether the Canaries can reach the eleven points set by Derby County when they were relegated as the worst team in Premier League history in 2007-08.
Newcastle United could be an interesting play from a betting standpoint. Despite the multi-billion dollar takeover, the Toon are winless in ten, and are on the verge of appointing Eddie Howe. Howe did an excellent job at Bournemouth before taking them down, but the Englishman failed at his only stint away from the club with Burnley. It could be a more risky appointment than many believe, especially for a team that offers very little quality at both ends of the field. They will need to invest heavily in January to stay in the division.
Burnley, Leeds & Watford Looking Over Their Shoulders
Watford and Burnley are currently the other favorites to be relegated this season. The Hornets have appointed Claudio Ranieri as head coach, and already mixed results has put the Italian under pressure. Their next two games are Arsenal and Manchester United, and few would be surprised to see the Hornets hierarchy ax yet another manager before Christmas. However, they do at least have quality within their ranks.
Time could be up for Burnley in the Premier League this season. Sean Dyche has long been the reason for their extended stay in the top-flight, but their luck could finally run out with the aging squad that they now have. Turf Moor is no longer the fortress that it previously was, while they are less solid defensively, which had always been their strong point. Fixtures against Watford, Aston Villa, and Everton over the festive period will be telling for their chances of survival.
Then it comes to the sides just above the drop zone, who could be looking over their shoulders. Leeds United and Aston Villa both find themselves in this bracket. Leeds has needed to contend with a number of injury issues already this season and has scored the third-fewest goals in the top-flight. However, they should be fine once they are back up to full strength.
Aston Villa could be an interesting case. They have struggled since the departure of Jack Grealish, while pressure is mounting on Dean Smith after a run of four straight defeats. Fans had already turned on Smith before the West Ham defeat last weekend, but the questions of who follows the boyhood Villa fan will be pivotal to their survival chances. John Terry is the name on the lips of fans, but the Chelsea legend’s lack of experience could ultimately cost them their place in the Premier League.
Premier League Relegation Tips:
- Norwich @ -1200
- Burnley @ +110
- Aston Villa @ +700
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