Five Premier League teams heading for relegation dogfight next season
Southampton could be heading for the drop after losing Lallana, Lambert and Lovren
July 21st, 2014
It’s the battle no team wants to be in; however, often enough the Premier League relegation battle provides some of the season’s greatest games. Each year three teams are sent into the Championship – but who will it be this year?
We all see the tears of football fans broadcast on television as their team is sent crashing out of the Premier League and into the Championship. Players leave, money is lost and for many the romance of football suffers greatly. The Premier League is a cruel mistress, and three teams will be going down come next summer. Here are our favourites for the chop.
Traditionally, one team out of the three who are promoted to the Premier League cannot adjust to life in the top flight. This year I believe both Leicester and QPR are financially stronger with all-round better players at their disposal; therefore, by method of elimination and based purely on what usually happens, I think Burnley is a candidate for the drop.
Sunderland have been dancing with the relegation devil in recent years, and they were almost guaranteed to go down last year until a miraculous string of results against big teams lifted them out of the drop zone. Gus Poyet was their messiah and Sunderland fans enjoyed two great cup runs in 2013/2014, but since then they have lost key players – with Phil Bardsley going to Hull and midfielder Jack Colback across to bitter rivals Newcastle. If they don’t strengthen their squad they could struggle again this season, although Poyet seems to be turning into a fantastic manager.
Much like their close rivals, Newcastle struggled last season. If it weren’t for a brilliant start to the year they would have been fighting for their lives alongside Sunderland. Their squad is not a bad one; is the real worry is behind the scenes. The club have fantastically loyal fans who hate the owner – and more recently the manager. Arguably their most gifted player, Hatem Ben Arfa, appears to have a turbulent relationship with Alan Pardew, and catastrophic defeats to Sunderland last year only angered fans more. An unsettled dressing room next season could see the Geordies relegated.
West Bromwich Albion
West Bromwich Albion had managed to be a mid-table side for a few seasons until the last one. In the 2013/2014 season they finished 17th, narrowly avoiding the drop. They were thoroughly holding onto the ropes at times last year, and they may not have the cash they need to stay in the top flight. They will need to overachieve this year to get back to mid-table.
Southampton had a brilliant season last year, playing some of the best football in the entire league. Since the last day of last season though they have lost arguably their three best players: Luke Shaw has left for Manchester United, and Adam Lallana and Ricky Lambert have made their way to Liverpool. Along with these transfers came the move of manager Mauricio Pochettino to Spurs.
When a team loses its three top stars and its manager in a matter of weeks, it can never be good for morale. New manager Ronald Koeman is well–respected, however it will be interesting over the coming season to see how much the team relied on their best players in the last one.