On Monday night West Bromwich Albion suffered a heavy defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, leaving them seven points from safety in the Premier League. The Baggies might look doomed but with only eight points separating 9th place and the relegation zone a whole host of teams could swap places come the end of the season.
Over the last five years the average points to stay up have been 36. Recently Stoke City midfielder Charlie Adam stated that his club were aiming for 38 points. Due to this I believe that Burnley, Leicester, Everton, Bournemouth, Watford and West Ham United will gain the points needed to stay up. However, there is still a chance they could get dragged into the dogfight. However, I will be analysing the seven teams I think are in real danger chances of staying up.
13th Newcastle United
Sunday’s surprise win over Manchester United helped lift Newcastle from 18th to 13th in the table showing how tight the league is. The win also stopped the rot, with the club having only won two games in 12 games before Sunday’s win. Manager Rafa Benitez is arguably the best man for the job, with many seeing him as the main reason for Newcastle possibly staying up, but lack of backing by the board means he has a weak squad. Goals has been the main issue for Newcastle with their top goalscorers being Joselu and Ayoze Perez with four goals which simply isn’t enough. January signing Islam Slimani scored seven goals last season; and Benitez will be hoping he can recover from a thigh injury soon to boost their chances especially as they still have to face four of the top six before the end of the season.
Verdict: Danger, but should just survive.
14th Brighton and Hove Albion
Currently sat two points above the relegation zone, Brighton arguably have their biggest game of the season in two weeks times when they face relegation rivals Swansea at home. A win there could give the Seagulls some breathing space, as well as a much-needed boost after just two wins in 10 games. Manager Chris Hughton knows the division having kept Norwich up in the 2012-13 season. They will need all the points they can get, as they still have to play Arsenal, both Manchester clubs, Tottenham and Liverpool before the end of the season. Home form will also be crucial, with four of Brighton’s six wins this season coming at the Amex stadium.
Verdict: 50/50 could stay up or go down.
15th Crystal Palace
The honeymoon period of Roy Hodgson’s spell at Crystal Palace seems to have come to an end, with 3 wins in 10 games and an injury hit squad threatening to de-rail his impressive work at Selhurst Park. Failing to win their first seven games of the season Hodgson led the Eagles to 12th in the table by January but has seen that form drop off. To add to this he has been hit with a huge injury list of ten players, including star man Wilfried Zaha and defenders Scott Dann and Martin Kelly. With their next three fixtures being against Tottenham, Manchester United, and Chelsea the odds are against Palace to stay up. Results against teams around them will be key, but with players returning from injury and a good run off fixtures to end the season they should have enough to stay up.
Verdict: Should stay up.
The appointment of Carlos Carvalhal was met with criticism by pundits and neutrals, with the Portuguese manager being sacked by Championship side Sheffield Wednesday four days prior to joining Swansea. However, one loss in seven games under Carvalhal has seen the Swans move from bottom of the table to 16th with no sign of their form ending. The losses of Leory Fer and Wilfried Bony to injury will be a blow, but with Andre Ayew returning to the club and with five of their next six games being against teams around them, Swansea should extend their seven-year stay in the Premier League by another year.
Verdict: Should stay up.
Sunday’s win over Bournemouth would have brought relief around the Kirklee’s stadium following a run of five straight loses and no wins in eight games. David Wagner’s side have tailed off after a superb start to the season, with their defensive strengths leaving them, meaning that they haven’t kept a clean sheet in six games. Having only scored 23 goals all season (with four coming on Sunday), they will need to find a way to put the ball in the back of the net more frequently if they are to stay where they currently are. Their home form will be crucial with only two wins away from the Kirklee’s stadium this season. However, with their last four games being against Chelsea, Everton, Man City, and Arsenal the odds are stacked against the Terriers.
It has been a difficult first season in charge for Mauricio Pellegrino, with his Southampton side not looking like the team of recent years. Years off selling their best players have taken its toll on the club meaning that they have only 1 win in ten games. Like last season scoring goals is still an issue for Southampton, as is drawing too many games having drawn 11 this season. With a spell of four away games in a row between March and April, they will need to improve on their form of two away wins this season. The four remaining games at St Mary’s will play a massive part in what division the Saints are in next season.
19th Stoke City
This season marked the 10th season Stoke City have been in the Premier League since their promotion in 2008. In that time their lowest finish in that time was 14th place with the club never being in a relegation place. That was until this season, with a poor run of form leading to Mark Hughes’s sacking and Paul Lambert being given the task of keeping Potters in the top flight. Charlie Adam’s stoppage time missed penalty against Brighton could prove crucial, but the Potters have one of the best run in’s out of the seven teams battling to survive, with their two final games being against Crystal Palace and Swansea. However, with the worst goal difference in the division and confidence low they have a big task to turn it around. Lambert has never been relegated from the Premier League during spells at Norwich and Aston Villa and will be hoping to keep that record intact come the end of the season, however it looks unlikely.
20th West Bromwich Albion
Seven points from safety, three wins all season, four wins in 39 games. The statistics do not provide good reading for the Baggies who look destined for the Championship after a nightmare season. With the team slowly falling under Tony Pulis, Alan Pardew came in but has not been able to change the losing mentality at the club. With January signing Daniel Sturridge picking up an injury against Chelsea on Monday, things don’t look good for the Baggies. Yet despite this you could argue that they have not helped themselves, having led eight times this season and ended up not winning, including blowing a 2-0 lead at home twice. A win is a must in their next league against Huddersfield if they are to have any hope of staying up, but with five injuries and a possible ban for top goalscorer Jay Rodriguez it looks like being too little to late for Albion.