As the Premier League fast approaches the halfway stage of the season, ambitions will soon be fine-tuned and attentions turned towards getting the results needed to achieve specific goals. For the likes of Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool, focus will be on winning as much as possible to try and mount a serious title challenge.
For other clubs – Hull, Sunderland, Swansea, Middlesbrough and so on, the focus will quickly change to specifically trying to garner as many points as they can to try and lift themselves away from the dreaded annual tradition of Premier League relegation.
It has to be said, it’s a great time of year for neutrals and bookmakers alike. Odds are rolling in on sites like bet uk which side will become champions and which will be battling in the Championship next season, it’s a real merry-go-round which takes place every year and usually produces some of the best football we will see all year.
Betting sites such as bet-uk.com/online-bookmakers offer odds rather than saying “yes, we think they will go down” or “no, they will survive”, punters can make some serious cash by taking good odds at the right time. For example, odds on the relegation candidates will shorten dramatically as the season progresses and sides move away from the battle or, almost inevitably, are dragged into the fray.
For the last several years, Sunderland have been in a relegation battle. They often survive with a game or two left at the most, and have been known to dabble in keeping their supporters on the edge of their seats until about 10 minutes before the season closes. They have looked great at times this season, but seem to collapse and sink back to the bottom quickly.
Conversely, for the likes of Swansea, a real battle at the bottom isn’t something the club have been all that used to. Of course, they may have flirted with the notion over the last season or two, but at times they have looked in real trouble this season. Changing managers during the season has worked before, but it also has history of being a bad move. They have shown themselves more than capable of turning it on when it matters, and so as the season moves forward they could find performances improving. Bob Bradley could well be the man to steady that ship and keep them afloat.
Hull also look to be in trouble, and they have a massive festive period of fixtures as well. They meet Swansea next month in a real relegation “six-pointer”, but before that they have to contend with the likes of Man City, Man United, Everton and West Brom. All of those teams harbour European aspirations at the very least, so Hull may have to hope for a late surge unless they can truly impress in the Christmas fixtures.
The same can be said of their fellow Premier League new boys Middlesbrough. The Teessiders returned to the top flight this season after a seven year absence, and despite starting strongly and putting in some good performances against the likes of Chelsea and Man City, results haven’t always gone their way. At times its been down to poor performance, and at others its been down to bad luck. That isn’t a great sign, because there are no guarantees that luck will change by the end of the season.
Then again, champions Leicester are struggling as well. It took Claudio Ranieri until almost the end of the season before admitting they were title contenders last year, but it has only taken until Christmas to admit this year will be a relegation battle. If the Foxes were to go down, they would be the first side in Premier League history to be relegated as reigning champions, and the first side in the English top flight since Man City in 1938 to get that distinction.
All that said, there could of course be presently unconsidered candidates who fall into the battle. West Ham have improved but their early season performances could prove a worrying case of foreshadowing, though that seems unlikely based on recent form.