16 matches into the Premier League season and the table is starting to take shape. Yes, there are a few anomalies here and there, but the general outline of the division is in place.
Arsenal, Manchester City, Leicester City and Manchester United are fighting at the top of the league, while Sunderland, Norwich and Aston Villa are among the favourites scrapping for survival at the bottom. We take a look at those teams in danger of relegation this season and give our thoughts on whether they can stay up or if they’re destined for the drop.
Villa are in serious trouble. They are languishing at the bottom of the table and it’s difficult to see where their next victory is coming from. Remi Garde was brought in to replace Tim Sherwood, however that decision has failed and Villa now sit eight points from safety.
Villa Park has been incredibly hostile throughout the early part of the season and their key personalities simply aren’t performing. There are plenty of issues at the club right now and unless there is a major upheaval at the club, Villa WILL be playing in the Championship next season.
Eddie Howe’s side have shown enough quality in their last two matches to suggest that they will be fine but Bournemouth must improve their consistency if they are to be certain of maintaining their place in the top flight.
Two victories over Chelsea and Manchester United have improved the mood at Dean Court but there is still plenty of work to be done. Bournemouth’s fate will be determined by their results against the likes of Sunderland and Norwich. As the old adage goes, you MUST beat those teams around you in the table.
West Bromwich Albion
West Brom have had some great results this season but have struggled against the Premier League’s “lesser” sides. Tony Pulis’ men may not finish in the top half of the table but will believe they have enough individual quality to guarantee their top flight status.
The likes of Saido Berahino, James McClean and Salomon Rondon are all game changers and could provide the spark to win matches for Albion throughout the remainder of the campaign. Their relatively straightforward run-in might be the difference if they are still in the relegation battle at the end of March.
Once again, the Black Cats must be regarded as one of the favourites to go down. Sam Allardyce’s men have won just three of their last ten Premier League fixtures and are struggling to inspire confidence this season.
It could be argued that Sunderland’s squad is the weakest in the top flight and Allardyce will have his work cut out to keep the Black Cats out of trouble. If they invest heavily in January, Sunderland will stand a great chance of avoiding relegation. Anything else and they may be doomed to the drop.
After a decent start to the season, Norwich have slipped down the division and are fighting for their lives. Alex Neil’s men have won just one of their last ten Premier League matches and are really struggling for goals in recent weeks.
Having said that, the Canaries are capable of turning their form around. Saturday’s fixture with Manchester United at Old Trafford probably won’t tell us much about Norwich’s chances. However, a victory ahead of a difficult festive period will be useful and could help to boost the confidence heading into the second half of the campaign.