The Premier League, which is arguably the biggest sporting competition on the planet, is shaping up rather nicely. Cristiano Ronaldo’s Manchester United have returned to its usual form with some lacklustre displays and a questionable manager, Manchester City are starting to find the rhythm most sides simply can’t cope with, and newly-promoted teams like Brentford are impressing on a weekly basis. It’s the sides down at the bottom of the division that we’re focussing on here, though.
Of course, the vast majority of the must-see action takes place near the top end of the league, with the aforementioned Manchester United hogging many headlines alongside fierce rivals Manchester City and Liverpool. Liverpool are on somewhat of a resurgence also, as Jurgen Klopp’s side aim to mount more of a title challenge this campaign. The top sides generally hog the back pages, fuel the debates on Twitter, and are at the forefront of fans’ minds when they’re betting online, be it for the eventual winner, where the likes of Chelsea are priced at 57/20 (888 Sport) and Liverpool at 53/20, or for Champions League qualification, where sides like Arsenal are priced at 19/4. The Premier League’s relegation candidates require some attention, too, particularly with so much at stake for the sides battling it out down at the bottom of the division. Below is a look at their respective chances.
Daniel Farke’s side have it all to do. Early signs suggest they’re destined for the drop, with limited quality and a thin squad that appears to be far from up to the challenge it faces. The Canaries are a side that struggles to maintain its top-flight status every time its achieved and this season appears to be no different.
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Steve Bruce has gone, and Saudi-based investment is on the way for Newcastle United, but for now, the side needs to focus on staying in the division. Keep Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin fit, and they stand a good chance, although the pressure is certainly on.
Has Sean Dyche’s usually efficient and well organised Burnley finally run out of steam? Many fans and experts alike are tipping the Clarets for the drop, although they’re a team who – going on recent history – deliver when most needed. This season, though, with an incredibly strong all-around league, Burnley could be one of the surprise casualties.
(Image via https://twitter.com/thesackrace)
The dreaded second-season syndrome could be in motion as Marcelo Bielsa’s attractive Leeds United side appear to be waning. Patrick Bamford has been a big miss for a team that wowed Premier League fans with a number of attacking displays last campaign, but there are other issues. Leeds are leaking goals and not scoring as many, which is never a good combination.
Newly-promoted Watford are expected to have a battle on their hands this campaign, especially if the early season form is anything to go by. A recent 5-2 win away at Everton was hugely impressive, but Claudio Ranieri’s Hornets are still expected to be fighting it out with the rest of the pack down at the bottom of the table come the end of the season. Watford will certainly need all of Italian’s experience this campaign.
After losing goal machine Danny Ings to Aston Villa and defensive mainstay Jannik Vestergaard to Leicester, Southampton are a side many expect to be struggling down at the lower end of the division most of the season. A few impressive wins have already been registered by the Saints, but a gruelling campaign lies ahead. Do Ralph Hasenhüttl’s possess enough quality to survive the drop? That remains to be seen.