The Premier League is already a third of the way through the season. The table is beginning to take shape and gaps are starting to form. In short, the template for the rest of the season has been laid down. The table as it stands is highly compressed and is likely to stay that way. The points total of all the teams outside of the top six means that many teams cannot afford to take their foot off the gas.
More managers will depart before the end of the season as owners and chairmen pull the trigger in fear of missing out on the “pot of gold”. So which teams can we really expect to be fighting a relegation battle come the end of the season?
Not Much to Choose
There is little to choose between all of the clubs outside of the top six. It is unthinkable for any of Man City, United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham or Arsenal to be relegated. So the three relegated teams will always come from the other fourteen clubs.
Everton have been a long standing presence in the top division but their current position is precarious. It seems unthinkable that they should go down but is it any less likely than Leicester winning the league in 2016? Clearly at this stage, Crystal Palace have huge problems. With only 5pts on the board from their opening 12 matches, they are going to struggle to accumulate the necessary points to survive. Roy Hodgson seems to have improved them but they have only taken 5pts from their 8 league games under him so far.
Sometimes for reasons unknown to outsiders, things just go stale within football clubs. This could be what is happening at Swansea City with Paul Clement. Here is a manager who is clearly under pressure and is short odds to get sacked and the latest betting news confirms that.
Go with the “Question Mark” Teams
For a team to be relegated or expected to continue to struggle then there have to be question marks against them. David Moyes clearly has a big job on his hands at West Ham. Their 2-0 loss at Watford in his first game in charge proves this. West Ham are clearly taking a gamble in bringing Moyes in but there is a problem that hasn’t been discussed in the media as to why Moyes could fail.
Many managers only survive in the top flight for a while. Their inability to be able to adapt to changing conditions is what creates their demise. In short, other managers basically figure out their style and combat that. If Moyes falls into that category then there is every chance that he will never reach the highs that he attained at Everton ever again.
Speaking of Everton, the Premier League is no place for managers learning their trade. David Unsworth was a solid player but Everton need results and they need them quickly. Over the years there have been many cases of promoted teams doing well initially and then struggling.
Nowhere near Safe
Both Huddersfield and Brighton are currently (as we speak) on 15pts and are 6pts clear of the drop. Both teams have small squads and inexperienced managers in the top flight although to be fair, Chris Hughton at Brighton has more experience than David Wagner.
So it is more than conceivable given the compressed nature of the league that these teams could drop like a stone after Christmas. Huddersfield were thrashed 4-0 at Bournemouth recently and their good start seems to be stalling somewhat. West Brom are a curious team at the moment. They are going through a shocking run that stretches back into last season. They have dislodged Pulis as manager and look like their troubles may continue.
Carl Sampson is a full time poker player and coach. He is an avid football nut who follows all things football and is also a long suffering Sheffield United and England supporter.