Premier League Survival Battle Rages As Season Nears Climax

  With twelve games to go in our maiden Premier League season, Stoke City sit seventeenth in the table on 25 points, two points clear of the relegation zone. While I, and any Stoke fan, would be delighted to see us finish in this position come May, we are undeniably in a relegation scrap. In the past, as a rule, 40 points has been the benchmark for Premier League survival. This season is the tightest ever at the bottom though, and with no club cut off from the rest, the points are being spread around more evenly, meaning fewer should be necessary for survival. Personally, I’d be survived if anyone is relegated with more than 36 or 37 points.

  There are, as I see it, four clubs in real danger of going down, the current bottom four of West Brom, Middlesbrough, Blackburn and Stoke. There are also three or four other teams who are far from safe, and could still get sucked into the mix with a bad run of late season form.

  I’ll look at the clubs who I see as the candidates for relegation, and the reasons for which I think they could go down, or beat the drop below.

West Bromwich Albion

West Bromwich Albion crest
Position: 20th, 22 points

Remaining Fixtures: (home in caps)
Everton
ARSENAL
West Ham
BOLTON
STOKE
Portsmouth
Manchester City
SUNDERLAND
Tottenham
WIGAN
LIVERPOOL
Blackburn

Why they could go down: They’re currently rock bottom, as they have been most of the season and on a poor run of form. They lack firepower and have a very leaky defence and struggle badly on the road.

Why they could stay up: Their home form has been half decent recently, with wins over Manchester City, Middlesbrough and Tottenham. They have experience of pulling off ”The Great Escape” so could do it again.

Likelihood of survival: As likely as a one-legged man winning Olympic tae-kwon-do gold.

Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough Football Club Crest

Position: 19th, 23 points

Remaining Fixtures:
LIVERPOOL
Tottenham
PORTSMOUTH
Stoke
Bolton
HULL
FULHAM
Arsenal
MANCHESTER UNITED
Newcastle
ASTON VILLA
West Ham

Why they could go down: Confidence at the club is very low, with no league wins since early November. Goalscoring has become a problem, with blanks drawn in their last five league games.

Why they could stay up: They have undoubted quality in the squad in the likes of Stewart Downing and Afonso Alves. If these players, and the team as a whole could play to their potential, they could ease away from trouble.

Likelihood of survival: As likely as Arsene Wenger seeing a bad tackle by one of his players

Blackburn Rovers

Badge of Blackburn Rovers FC

Position: 18th, 23 points

Remaining Fixtures:
Hull
EVERTON
Fulham
Arsenal
WEST HAM
TOTTENHAM
Liverpool
Stoke
WIGAN
Manchester City
PORTSMOUTH
Chelsea
WEST BROM

Why they could go down: A dreadful start to the season under the management of Paul Ince has left them with a mountain to climb. They also have tricky fixtures against ”Big Four” clubs in the run-in.

Why they could stay up: Their form has improved under Sam Allardyce, and star player Roque Santa Cruz has rediscovered his scoring touch after his move to Manchester City broke down. They also have a game in hand (Fulham away) on all the other relegation threatened teams.

Likelihood of survival: As likely as Stoke winning away this season

Stoke City

Position: 17th, 25 points

Remaining Fixtures:
Aston Villa
BOLTON
Everton
MIDDLESBROUGH
West Brom
NEWCASTLE
BLACKBURN
Fulham
WEST HAM
Hull
WIGAN
Arsenal

Why they could go down: Away form has been dire, with just three draws and no wins on the road all season. A tendency to concede late goals has been costing vital points.

Why they could stay up: Home form has been excellent, and with six winnable home fixtures left, there’s a good chance enough points can be mustered from these games. New signing James Beattie has also been on fantastic form, scoring four goals in his first five Stoke games.

Likelihood of survival: As likely as an away side getting a penalty at Old Trafford in any given season.

Portsmouth

Portsmouth Football Club Crest

Position: 16th, 28 points

Remaining Fixtures:
CHELSEA
Middlesbrough
EVERTON
Hull
WEST BROM
BOLTON
Manchester United
Newcastle
ARSENAL
Blackburn
SUNDERLAND
Wigan

Why they could go down: They are in a bad position following Tony Adam’s reign as manager and lost key players Lassana Diarra and Jermain Defoe in the transfer window.

Why they could stay up: They seemed to have turned the corner under Paul Hart and are pulling away from the relegation zone.

Likelihood of survival: As likely as Rafael Benitez using the phrase ”it’s good for us” in any interview.

Newcastle United

Position: 15th, 28 points

Remaining fixtures:
Bolton
MANCHESTER UNITED
Hull
ARSENAL
CHELSEA
Stoke
Tottenham
PORTSMOUTH
Liverpool
MIDDLESBROUGH
FULHAM
Aston Villa

Why they could go down: They have the toughest run-in of all the struggling sides, with games against all of the current top five still to be played.

Why they could stay up: They are five points clear of the drop zone and this cushion should prove sufficient.

Likelihood of survival: As likely as Rob Styles making a controversial decision in a match he referees.

Tottenham Hotspur

Position:  14th, 28 points

Remaining Fixtures:
Manchester United
MIDDLESBROUGH
Sunderland
Aston Villa
CHELSEA
Blackburn
WEST HAM
NEWCASTLE
Manchester United
WEST BROM
Everton
MANCHESTER CITY
Liverpool

Why they could go down: They’ve had a very poor season and are in the relegation mix for a reason. Anything’s possible.

Why they could stay up: They have on paper one of the best squads in the league and a good manager in Harry Redknapp. With a five point cushion, they should avoid the drop comfortably.

Likelihood of survival: As likely as David Pleat mispronouncing a player’s name in any commentary.

Hull City

Hull City badge

Position: 13th, 29 points

Remaining Fixtures:
BLACKBURN
Fulham
NEWCASTLE
Wigan
PORTSMOUTH
Middlesbrough
Sunderland
LIVERPOOL
Aston Villa
STOKE
Bolton
MANCHESTER UNITED

Why they could go down: They are on absolutely dreadful form, without a league win in nearly three months. They are leaking goals and have a tough run in, with fixtures against Liverpool, Aston Villa and Manchester United coming up.

Why they could stay up: They have a good cushion over the drop zone and have at least gained a few draws in recent weeks. The points they amassed while playing well may just be enough.

Likelihood of survival: As likely as someone not getting Tom ‘Arto’ Soares’s nickname.

 
  With three months of the season left, it would be a brave man to predict the three clubs who will be relegated come May. While I am all but certain that they will come from the teams above, and I hope that Stoke are not one of them, I am by no means sure of who the final three will be. What I am sure of though, is that in a season where Manchester United are boringly running away with the title race, the enthralling relegation scrap has added a lot to the entertainment value of the Premier League, and whoever does go down will not be disgraced in doing so.

4 Responses to “Premier League Survival Battle Rages As Season Nears Climax”

  1. Nifty Nige Says:

    Good stuff again VJ.

    Loving all the likelihood of survival summaries, especially the Benitez, Styles and Soares ones!!!!

    For what it’s worth, I’ll give you my views. I think WBA, ‘Boro and Stoke will go down with Pompey in 17th

  2. Mr Mike Clarke Says:

    Amusing comments on survival summaries.
    Love the jibes about Manchester United.
    My relegation choices go to WBA, Middlesbro & Blackburn (for what its worth)
    Hope Hull get another season, they deserve it after such a dream start!!!
    Mike

  3. I*T*P*L Says:

    Thanks for the comment. I belive any of six or seven sides could still very likely go down. My three would have been West Brom, Hull and Newcastle before Wednesday’s games, but I’m not so sure about Hull after that win, which has helped them greatly.

  4. The bear Says:

    Im going for wba boro newcastle .the shearer stunt could backfire big time ,this will fire teams up even more for them matches ,the pressure is on them more than any of the others they have too high expectations ,best fans in the country very debatable they boo their own players And check the stats villa are a far bigger club with more consistent attendances over the decades.

Leave a Reply

*
To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture.