Squeaky-Bum Time: Who will lose out in the Premier League relegation battle?
Yes, we know that it’s mid-February and there’s a lot of football still to be played this term. And yet, a quick glance at the Premier League table and you can see a pretty obvious gaggle of clubs who will spend the next three months fighting for survival. No doubt, like every other season, a rank outsider (in both senses of the word) might look to gatecrash the anti-party. Squeaky-bum time is on the horizon – so who will lose out in the Premier League relegation battle?
Here at BoroGuide HQ, we used to indulge in a wager with a Sunderland fan each season. We’d bet the Black Cats would survive. The Sunderland fan took the opposite view. And our optimism on their behalf meant a few slap-up meals at the loser’s expense. This time round, however, we declined the bet. Sunderland, you see, had a knack of finding three teams worse than them and we didn’t think it’d continue. It seems we might be proven both right and smug come May.
Sunderland, of course, are setting the pace as far as the race to the Championship is concerned. Hull City and Crystal Palace are not trailing far behind them. Meanwhile, just one rubbish set of results may put Middlesbrough, Leicester or Swansea on an all-expenses paid trip to the danger zone. Our old sparring pals Bournemouth aren’t quite safe either, which leaves us with a not-so-magnificent seven facing a nervous run-in to the end of the 2016-7 Premier League campaign.
Bournemouth and Crystal Palace, of course, share a common bond. Both sides are sponsored by Mansion, the online casino company where you can play for free or play for real money. No slap-up meals, just good ol’cash – something we ought to have asked for from our Sunderland wager. Anyway, let’s move on. That single bond aside, the Cherries and the Eagles are set to experience contrasting fortunes come the end of the season. And it’s not good news for the London club.
So, the Premier League relegation battle
Sky Sports has included Bournemouth in a mini-league of the bottom seven, but it’s tough to see them failing in their bid to keep their great Premier League adventure going. Eddie Howe has the lads and the know-how to keep them clear. So, what about Swansea? The Welsh side – we think – will be alright. Home games for them against Middlesbrough and Leicester has the potential to do some real damage to their hopes, while furthering their own.
Hull, meanwhile, have the best spread of home fixtures on the horizon: Swansea, Middlesbrough and Sunderland. Leicester, admittedly, continue to troll everyone. The reigning champions, for all their talent, still find new ways to lose to whichever set of plant pots they are put up against. The power of momentum could be key in this battle and the Foxes probably should try and stop that rot fairly soon. And maybe not worry about Champions League commitments at the same time?
If Sunderland hang on in there, an intriguing triple-header in the last knockings of the run-in will decide their fate: Bournemouth, Hull and Swansea. But, we simply don’t reckon they will hang in there. So, there’s one. Next, it’s Middlesbrough. We don’t see ‘em getting enough points to stay afloat. And third, for us, is Crystal Palace – ending Big Sam’s record of never being relegated. We wanted to say Leicester, to be fair, but surely they couldn’t. As funny as it’d undoubtedly be…