Premier League Relegation Battle 2016/17
With the title effectively wrapped up, the top 6 virtually decided and no natural underdog, it’s hard not to feel that the true appeal of the Premier League this season is in the relegation fight. Furthermore, there is a sense of unpredictability with the teams of the bottom this year, as whilst the likes of Newcastle, Aston Villa etc, had been easy favourites to go down in recent years, there is no such luck at the bookies this year. As such, the bottom 6 this year all have a potential to go down, with each team having their own Ali Dia for every Jamie Vardy.
Currently 14th– Bournemouth
Extending my jurisdiction to include Bournemouth may be considered by some to be harsh, but recent results have left them self-consciously looking behind their shoulders. 4 consecutive losses and having not won since 2016, there is still an element of instability about the squad, despite Eddie Howe’s lofty ambitions. But whilst they have a Jordan Ibe for every Jack Wilshere, there is enough quality to safeguard their Premier League status, although some investing couldn’t go amiss in the future.
Prediction: Survival, 14th
Currently 15th– Leicester City
As a Spurs fan, it’s hard for me to comment on this without feeling shallow. Resenting their run last season, I cursed when they won the league as Spurs lost their heads at the Bridge. But moreover, I’m a football fan, and watching them fall so hard is disrespectful to the dream that the underdog can win. And so perhaps thankfully, I predict they will survive. Despite recent results (5 consecutive losses and no win this year) and the sacking of the man who made them, Ranieri’s departure has so far been the wakeup call the players needed. It would be too easy to predict that they will be relegated given the events recently, but the quality of players of: Vardy, Mahrez, Schmeichel will shine through under the right conditions. Being in the threat of relegation has already brought back some life against Liverpool and Hull; let’s hope it lasts.
Prediction: Survival: 16th
Currently 16th– Swansea City
Just before Christmas I thought the birth of Christ himself might be the only way for Swansea to survive. Furthermore, the club broke a golden rule of relegation dogfighting, and sacked their manager and replaced him with a man who has no experience of the Premier League. Yet Paul Clement has brought back an element of flair to the side, and having gotten positive results from Liverpool, Southampton and fellow strugglers Leicester, the Welsh club seemed to have dawned upon a period of stability.
Prediction: Survival, 15th
Currently 17th– Crystal Palace
Well who would have predicted this, Sam Allardyce in a relegation battle? Despite the cliché, Allardyce’s tenure doesn’t seem to be reading from previous scripts. Having only won 2 games in charge, and lost 6 in charge of the Eagles, one would usually question whether it is Allardyce managing the team. However, with the attacking prowess of Benteke, Zaha and Townsend (not as bad as it sounds) they have signs of revival at last, finally winning consecutively. And as much as Palace have problems, others have more significant ones, and as such I predict them to survive, by the skin of Allardyce’s melting face.
Prediction: Survival, 17th
Currently 18th– Middlesbrough
To see a team of a team of such star individuals as Stewart Downing (again, not as bad as it sounds) be as low as 16th is damning in itself. Having not won since December, they play a style of football that is counter-productive in the Premier League. With a lack of service to the like of Negredo, the team resort to defending heavily. Which was usually effective, but over time they have been found out, and once their opponents score one, Middlesbrough lack the creativity to score back. This explains their goal difference of only -9, the highest in this battle, but losses are mounting and points matter more than goal difference, so it’s unfortunate to pronounce them as the first casualties the year.
Prediction: Relegation, 18th
Currently 19th– Hull City
Taking a leaf out of Swansea’s book at Christmas, the tigers I thought would’ve doomed themselves by appointing Marco Silva as manager. Yet there is a new-found period of optimism at the KCOM stadium, stopping any losing streak and having only lost recently to Arsenal and Chelsea, they have hope yet. However, whilst the losses are drying up, their quality across the pitch isn’t as consistent with other relegation rivals:
Leicester have Vardy, Palace have Benteke, Hull have… Elmohamady?
Whilst this may be a petty argument, there is a lack of Premier League quality through the squad. As such, this current purple patch may be a sign of a revival, it could equally be the gasses escaping a rotting corpse.
Prediction: Relegation: 19th
Currently 20th– Sunderland
This shouldn’t surprise many. If you’re a keen mathematician and noted that there’s only one place I can place Sunderland, then congratulations. But if there was one team anyone predicted to get relegated at the start of the season, Sunderland were most frequently mentioned. Appointing David Moyes as manager is a sign of pessimism only seen in funeral parlours, and whilst his only tactic of passing to Defoe is working, it is only meant to be temporary. The day he gets injured, I can see fans standing outside the Stadium of Light with flowers and a makeshift tombstone. They need to get relegated, reform their finances (actually spend on players), and get a manager half capable of common sense.
Prediction: Relegation: 20th