There is a phrase that says it is tough at the top, but when it comes to football it can be even tougher at the bottom.
While fans of high-flying Premier League teams such as Manchester City, Arsenal, and Chelsea are looking forward to watching their team challenge for the title, several sides will languish towards the bottom of the league table for the majority of the season, fighting against the dreaded “drop.”
Three teams will see their Premier League status stripped from them by the time the 2016-17 campaign grinds to a halt. These three teams, and three teams we believe will struggle, are highlighted below, along with their current relegation betting odds.
Burnley: -130 (1.75) to be relegated
Burnley are one of the three newly promoted teams in this season’s Premier League and are now many online bookmakers’ odds-on favourites to return to The Championship.
The Lancashire outfit should be commended for not going out and breaking the bank in an attempt to stay in the top flight, but by not doing so they have all but resigned themselves to relegation.
Sean Dyche has moulded a team that is difficult to beat which should stand them in good stead. However, his squad lacks true star quality and goals are going to prove hard to come by. When Burnley was relegated from the Premier League in 2014-15, they only scored 28 goals in 38 games. We envisage a similar fate for Burnley this campaign.
Hull City +100 (2.0) to be relegated
Hull City were our pre-season favourites to finish bottom of the Premier League due to Steve Bruce leaving his post as manager, the crazy, unending ownership saga and the fact Hull had half-a-dozen first team regulars in the treatment room.
Caretaker manager Mike Phelan has worked wonders and guided Hull to two wins, a draw, and two defeats from the opening four games.
This is European qualification form, yet Hull will still go down. Again, their squad is too thin on the ground when it comes to players who can do that something special; team spirit only gets you so far.
We expect the wheels to come off around Christmas time if not before, resulting in Hull plummeting down the standings.
Sunderland: +137 (2.37) to be relegated
Sunderland have got off to a horrendous start this season, drawing one game and losing three. This places them second-bottom of the table, with only Stoke City, thanks to a worse goal difference, below them.
David Moyes has a monumental task on his hands to keep Sunderland in the division. Like Burnley, Sunderland’s squad is bare when it comes to legitimate stars, although the aging Jermaine Defoe is a true talent. He alone cannot be expected to keep Sunderland up.
Sunderland need to invest in new personnel during the January transfer window, but might have difficulty enticing good players to a potentially doomed club.
Swansea City: +280 (3.8) to be relegated
Despite coming from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Chelsea recently, we think Swansea are going to struggle this season.
Allowing club captain Ashley Williams to move to Everton will damage the team immeasurably and not really replacing outgoing strikers Eder and Andre Ayew could also come back to haunt them.
Midfielder Leroy Fer has made a great start to life in the Premier League, but the Swans need £15.3 million Spaniard Borja Baston to do the same if they are to claw their way from the bottom three Premier League places.
Prediction: Safe, but it could be a long season.
West Bromwich Albion: +275 (3.75) to be relegated
Had it not been for Sunderland’s horrific start to the current campaign, we would have tipped West Bromwich Albion to drop to The Championship this season.
Something seems terribly wrong at The Hawthornes. Manager Tony Pullis is unhappy with the lack of investment in players and former England manager Roy Hodgson is apparently waiting in the wings. The Baggies also let Stephane Sessegnon, Ricky Lambert and Victor Anichebe leave the club despite the team only scoring 34 goals last term, second least in the league.
West Brom should be difficult to beat as Pullis’ teams are invariably tough to break down, but they do not have any sort of attacking threat to speak of. Baggies fans will be hoping to bag enough draws and sneak enough wins against the new boys and lower ranked teams to stay afloat.
Prediction: Safe, but would not be surprised to see them go down
Stoke City: +350 (4.5) to be relegated
What on Earth has happened to Mark Hughes’ Stoke City? After finishing ninth last season they find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table after four games having conceded 10 goals and only scoring twice on two set plays — a penalty and a free kick.
Stoke have lost their games this season to teams occupying first, third, and fifth-place in the league but they need to get back to winning ways sooner rather than later. Stoke has the talent amongst its ranks to cause teams some serious trouble, even if a couple are out injured at the moment, so we expect Hughes to turn around Stoke’s fortunes and guide them back up the Premier League table.
Prediction: Safe, possible top half of the table again
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