So this year, with the title race being practically done and dusted, there are only two ‘battles’ to keep up with; the race for the top 4, and the race to stay in the premier league, and seeing as I’ve already written a post on the race for Europe, and with Middlesborough and Swansea playing out a dull, goalless draw earlier today, I thought “what better time to write a post on the relegation place?”, so here it is.
First, let’s look at the current stats and standings. Right now, the battle to stay in England’s top division is possibly the most open there has been in the last decade, with just 9 points separating Hull, in 18th, and Stoke, in 9th. Sunderland, who sit bottom, have just 20 points from 29 games, winning just 5 games all season, and losing 19. They’ve only scored 24 goals too, and with top goalscorer Jermain Defoe turning 35 in October, they cannot rely on him for much longer to put them into the onion bag. They seem all but gone already. From there, it gets much more open, with Middlesborough placed 19th, with 23 points, 4 behind Hull on 27, but with a game in hand.
Then, just avoiding the bottom 3, comes welsh side, Swansea, who are just a point above Hull, and have lost 18 of their 30 games this season, and from there it’s only 8 points to Stoke, in 9th.
But, on the flip side, in terms of who will be entering the premier league next season, Brighton and Newcastle seem to have the automatic promotion spots secured, and Huddersfield, Reading, Leeds and Fulham will play it out after the end of the main season for the final promotion spot. My money (if I wasn’t under the age restriction on gambling) would be on Leeds. I think that they’ve been quality this year and could certainly cope with the top flight, whereas we’ve seen Huddersfield and Reading both really struggle against top-flight opposition in the cups this season, losing 5-1 to Man city and 4-0 to United respectively.
Defending champions Leicester also showed signs of danger just before sacking Ranieri, but interim manager Craig Shakespeare’s record-breaking run of form seems to have steered them in the right direction. We saw a similar sudden change in form towards this point in Leicester’s season in 2015/16, and they carried through this form to prove everybody wrong and win the league next year. Could they do it again, or is it just a coincidence there’s certainly a feeling of Deja Vu here.
To conclude, The premier league, as always, will look very different next years, with sides like Brighton and possibly Leeds, who haven’t been in for many years, and long standing premier league side Sunderland leaving. But the question is, how will the new sides cope with the big boys?