The Premier League relegation battle. Who’s going down?

03.04.2023 14:17:18 Adam England
Relegation Battle Image
  •  Nine teams are in the Premier League relegation battle, from Crystal Palace in 12th to Southampton in 20th
  •  There are just seven points separating them
  •  Seven of the teams have changed their manager at least once this season, the latest being Leicester City at the weekend

 

The Premier League relegation battle is tighter than usual. Seven points separate Crystal Palace in 12th from Southampton in 20th, as almost half the league are in danger of going down. 

Teams like Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Ham United, and Leicester City, all of whom more used to the top half in recent seasons, have struggled this season. Southampton, Everton, and Leeds United have carried on where they left off last term. Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth were both destined to struggle after promotion from the Championship. 

But, with nine, ten, or eleven games remaining, depending on the club, who’ll be going down?

 

An outside chance

Crystal Palace have probably got just about enough to stay up. The sacking of Patrick Vieira has certainly divided opinion, as has the arrival of Roy Hodgson, in the Palace hotseat once again. But, they have a decent squad, and were able to end a 10-game winless run including three losses on the bounce with a last-minute victory over fellow strugglers Leicester. They have a decent run-in too, and those home games against relegation rivals Everton, West Ham, Bournemouth, and Forest will be crucial. 

One place and two points below them are Wolves. After two seventh-place finishes in the Premier League following promotion from the Championship, Wolves have found the last couple of years somewhat more difficult. After surprisingly letting captain Conor Coady join Everton on loan, and presiding over a dreadful run that left the club in the relegation zone, manager Bruno Lage was relieved of his duties at the start of October. In mid-November, Julen Lopetegui arrived, and things have improved. Like Palace, Wolves should have enough to stay up, and then rebuild in the summer as needed.

One point behind Wolves, but with two games in hand, West Ham remain something of an enigma. One of just two teams in the relegation scrap not to have changed manager at least once this term, they’ve been a real disappointment this season. While there should be three worse teams, that they’ve still got Newcastle United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United to tackle does not bode well for the Hammers. They spent big in the summer, but the likes of Gianluca Scamacca and Lucas Paquetá haven’t kicked on like manager David Moyes would hope. Former captain Mark Noble, who retired at the end of the last season, is undoubtedly a big loss in the dressing room too, the 35-year-old is currently sporting director

 

Above the relegation zone

What can you expect from Forest? For many, they’ve exceeded expectations by sitting pretty in 15th, though they’re still very much part of the relegation scrap. For the first half of the season, they struggled, and there was talk of manager Steve Cooper paying for their poor form with his job, but eventually they were able to string a few decent results together. However, they’ve got some tricky fixtures left, and Cooper is once again under pressure. Southampton at the City Ground in May will be earmarked as a must-win, while the game away at Palace on the final day of the season could be winner-takes-all. Attackers Morgan Gibbs-White and Brennan Johnson and on-loan goalkeeper Keylor Navas will be crucial to their survival hopes. 

On the same number of points are Bournemouth. Like Forest, they were heavily tipped for relegation before the season started, but they’ve not done too badly really. It was no surprise to see Scott Parker lose his job after some disastrous results at the start of the season. That 9-0 loss to Liverpool at Anfield must the nadir of their season, but when Gary O’Neil stepped in results improved for a while with a six-game unbeaten run. Results since have been unremarkable, and it has seen the Cherries slip down the table, but a couple of recent wins, including one over Liverpool, have helped stop the rot. 

Leeds are only out of the relegation zone by virtue of having a slightly better goal difference than Everton, and it’s been another disappointing season for them. Manager Jesse Marsch only lasted until the start of February, while his replacement Javi Gracia hardly inspires great excitement. The likes of Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha have been big losses, and while they’ve not exactly shied away from bringing in new arrivals, it’s not quite been enough. But Willy Gnonto, still just 19, has been a revelation of late, and his arrival from FC Zürich looks to have been a masterstroke. 

 

It’s looking worrying

Everton are something of a mess, to be honest. They have a disjointed squad that is in need of injections of quality everywhere, and a couple of decent results. A home victory against Brentford and a draw away at Chelsea doesn’t change that. Richarlison left in the summer and Anthony Gordon left in January, while arrivals like Dwight McNeil and Neal Maupay, signed for £20m and £15m respectively, haven’t exactly been pulling up trees. Dominic Calvert-Lewin is a quality striker but is seemingly always injured. As well as this, there is simply not enough talent in defence. Sean Dyche is a good manager at this level, and could well keep them up, but at the same time this could be the year that the Toffees melt.  

Manager Brendan Rodgers has just departed Leicester after four years, with very real fears of relegation this term. Ever since their shock 2015-16 Premier League title win, the Foxes have been among the best of the rest, narrowly missing out on Champions League football on the final day of the season for two years running. But, cracks began to show last year, and this season has been nothing but a disappointment. The team is in transition. Long-serving goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel left after over a decade, while Jamie Vardy is 36 now. The form of players like Wilfried Ndidi and Caglar Soyuncu has been questioned, while many new signings have flattered to deceive. Were it not for the form of James Maddison, arguably one of the Premier League’s players of the season let alone one of Leicester’s, they could well be dead and buried already. 

Sitting at the bottom of the Premier League, three points from safety, are Southampton. They’re on their third manager of the season after the departures of Ralph Hassenhüttl and Nathan Jones, and they’ve barely left the relegation zone since December. The Saints have still not replaced Danny Ings up front. Che Adams hasn’t scored more than nine Premier League goals in a season and there’s a lot of inexperience in the squad. If it weren’t for captain James Ward-Prowse, who knows where they’d be?

A lot can change in a few weeks, and you can never write any team off. Just look at some of the miraculous escapes we’ve seen in the past! But it looks worrying for Southampton in particular. Leeds, Everton, and Bournemouth should also be very concerned. Leicester have the quality, but it could depend on their next manager, while it could be a toss-up as to whether Nottingham Forest survive or not. West Ham, Wolves, and Crystal Palace should all just about have enough, but who knows? 

 

 

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