Premier League 2017/18 Relegation Contenders
The battle to avoid relegation is shaping up to be a thriller this season as the bottom half of the Premier League table is extremely congested. The three teams currently occupying the drop zone – West Ham, Swansea and Crystal Palace – are bursting with talent and none of them were expected to be in danger this season. The teams above them will, therefore, be looking nervously over their shoulders, as none are displaying consistency and any can be dragged into the relegation zone with a couple of bad results. Owners are panicking and already four managers have been sacked, with the potential for more casualties over the coming months. It should prove to be another nail-biting affair, but who is in the gravest danger? Here we run through the teams that will genuinely fear for their Premiership survival:
Palace picked up just their fourth point of the season when they snatched a late equaliser against West Ham. The Eagles endured a miserable start to the campaign and Frank De Boer was sacked after just four games, with his team bottom of the table. Roy Hodgson was parachuted in to save them, but after seven games they were still bottom, without a point or even a goal to their name. However, they surprised everyone by beating champions Chelsea 2-1, and battled to a decent draw last time out. They have pulled off several great escapes in recent seasons, and the green shoots of recovery they have displayed of late suggests another could be on the cards.
The Swans may be 17th but they Swansea look to be in real trouble. They have scored just seven goals in ten games and they badly struggle to create chances, so they could well be doomed.
Huddersfield are the smallest club to play Premier League football since Barnsley in the mid-1990s and they were made odds-on favourites to go down at the start of the campaign. However, the Terriers keep surprising everyone. They got off to a flying start to the season, beating Palace and Newcastle, only to tumble down the table by going on a six-game winless streak. However, they then pulled off the shock of the season by beating title-chasing Man Utd 2-1. A 3-0 defeat against Liverpool brought them crashing back down to Earth, but they have done enough to suggest they will battle bravely all season. However, ultimately the lack of depth in the squad might derail their survival bid and Huddersfield fans could be in for a long old winter.
The Cherries are fourth from bottom, with just 10 points from 11 games, and they also look to be in serious danger. Not long ago Eddie Howe was talked about as a future England manager and linked with top jobs, but his star is waning on the back of this poor showing from Bournemouth. They like to play attractive football and it can be great for neutrals to watch, but their lack of defensive solidity, their risk-taking nature and their refusal to shut up shop and win ugly means they will continue to drop points throughout the season. However, there is a great deal of quality in the Bournemouth squad and they have the ability to string together a strong run of results and climb the table.
Chris Hughton’s men have enjoyed a strong start to the campaign and find themselves up to the heights of 8th in the table They are solid, well-organised and difficult to break down, but a lack of pace and spark up front could cause them problems as the season wears on. Their home form is strong though and if they sign a quick and dynamic striker in January they could well extend their stay in the top flight.
The Hammers under-performed throughout 2016/17 and only just about staved off relegation, and they have been equally poor this season. A 4-1 home defeat to Liverpool ended Bilic’s tenure as manager.
West Ham are dreadful at the back, lack bite in midfield and are over-reliant on the often-injured Andy Carroll, and they look excellent value to go down.
You can still get 8/1 on Everton to be relegated and that looks interesting as they have been awful for large parts of this season.
Everton shelled out £30 million on Jordan Pickford and he is busier now than he was at Sunderland last season when the Black Cats finished bottom of the table. Despite also breaking the bank to sign Michael Keane, Everton have been terrible at the back and have conceded 22 goals so far this season.
Only Crystal Palace have a worse defensive record, and there is a real lack of discipline and organisation among this Everton side. They are currently without a manager after Ronald Koeman was sacked, and they were totally outclassed by Leicester but did manage to come from behind to beat Watford 3-2.
After their summer spending they were tipped to challenge the top six, but instead, they are flirting with relegation and need to seriously improve if they are to move up the table.
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Martin Green is an experienced sports writer and has been covering the Premiership for many years.