Who will go down? This is a question being asked by many as the Premier League season fast approaches it’s conclusion, with the relegation candidates fighting for survival.
Which relegation candidates will survive and who will go down in the hunt to remain in the Premier League?
RELEGATION CANDIDATES 1&2: SHEFFIELD UNITED AND WEST BROM
Let’s start with the easy one. Sheffield United are as good as relegated and West Brom are almost in the same situation. Sheffield were last season’s surprise team but they have failed to live up to those heights this season. Both these teams are more than likely to be the ones who will go down.
Their problems were apparent after the restart as they melted away from European contention. Whether it’s teams finding them out or the lack of the Bramall Lane crowd playing the role of the 12th man, something has been missing.
Scoring goals has been the biggest problem for Sheffield United. David McGoldrick has managed seven goals. Fellow strikers Billy Sharp, Oli McBurnie and Rhian Brewster have just six league goals between them, with the latter failing to find the net since his £24 million move from champions Liverpool during the summer.
Sheffield currently sit bottom on 14 points, fourteen points from safety with just ten games left and one game played more than 17th place Newcastle.
Meanwhile West Brom have the safe hands of Sam Allardyce but it appears that not even the survival expert can keep the Baggies up. They are ten points from safety but also have played a game more than Newcastle.
There is always that feeling that Big Sam can do it by virtue of his reputation and having never experienced relegation as a manager. However, even this feels too large a gap for West Brom to make up.
RELEGATION CANDIDATE 3: FULHAM
Fulham seemed destined for the drop after a poor start to the season but manager Scott Parker has managed to turn their fortunes around. The West London side are playing attractive football and getting results. This has resulted in many neutrals wanting the team to stay up.
Is this enough to keep Fulham up? Ademola Lookman has been excellent in recent weeks and looks to be the focal point of this current Fulham attack along with January signing Josh Maja. Summer signing Joachim Andersen has been an excellent addition to a Fulham defense that has improved throughout the season, keeping five clean sheets in their last eight games.
Fulham currently sit in 18th place and just two points behind Newcastle albeit having played a game more. They are arguably in the best form out of all these candidates and with momentum a key factor in survival battles, this could really work in Fulham’s favour if they are to avoid being one of the teams who will go down.
RELEGATION CANDIDATE 4: NEWCASTLE UNITED
Newcastle drew 1-1 on Friday night to Aston Villa, with captain Jamaal Lascelles getting a last minute equaliser. There is pressure on manager Steve Bruce, who appears to be on borrowed time.
They are missing their three most important players through injury in Callum Wilson, Miguel Almirón and Allan Saint-Maximin but should have all three back at the start of April.
It has been a hard watch for Newcastle fans this season but having these three back in the starting eleven should be enough to keep Newcastle up.
RELEGATION CANDIDATE 5: BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION
In similar fashion to Fulham, Brighton also attempt to play attractive football. However, unlike Fulham, Brighton have struggled to get the results of late.
Neal Maupay is the club’s top goalscorer in the Premier League this season with 7 goals but has not scored since January 16th against Leeds United.
There is a lack of goals throughout the team, with a similarly worrying struggle for goals that we have seen with Sheffield this season. Brighton’s next highest goalscorer is Lewis Dunk who has four goals.
The Seagulls did get a crucial win on the weekend, getting a 2-1 win over Southampton. This is a result that puts them three points clear of safety with a game in hand.
Brighton are playing the right way but unfortunately this is not essentially the key to survival. A worrying game for the Seagulls was the 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace on February 22nd. Graham Potter’s men had 75% possession and 25 shots compared to Palace’s 3.
5 of Brighton’s 25 shots were on target whereas Palace scored with their only two shots on target and Brighton had 13 corners compared with Palace’s 0. Brighton truly dominated this game but yet went away empty handed.
It is these type of results that can haunt teams and are ones that often play a part in teams going down . It is simple. If you can’t score, you will struggle. Brighton could be in real trouble.
SO, WHO WILL GO DOWN?
In conclusion, Sheffield and West Brom are already as good as relegated. The third team to join them will be Brighton. Despite the injuries to key players in Newcastle, they will find just about enough to get over the line. This is especially the case when those three individuals come back.
Brighton still have to play Manchester United, Everton, Chelsea, West Ham and Manchester City, which presents little chance of points.
They have lost games despite dominating them and have arguably the worst goals issue amongst these teams mentioned.