With all the usual hype around the big teams dropping points at the top of the Premier League, many might have missed the battle at the bottom of the table. And albeit not as star-studded and media covered, it looks no less dramatic.
The title is to be decided between 6 teams say pundits experts and ex players. The fight for survival might drag into it as many as 9.
No one feels safe from Bournemouth to Sunderland and we are not talking geography here, even though a sentence containing those two means practically everyone from south to north across the country.
Bournemouth sit in 12th position on 26 points and Sunderland are bottom with 15.
Between then there is the space in the colors of Burnley (26), Watford (24), Leicester City (21), Middlesborough (20), Swansea (18), Crystal Palace (16) and Hull on 16.
Bournemouth and Burnley might laugh at that statement as they have a 10 point lead at the teams in relegation 3. But with 16 games to play, they are not safe yet.
The key weapons in the survival battle are no secret. Those are:
- Put a run of wins together – and at the bottom 2 or 3 is a run, no draws but wins – they make the difference
- Beat your direct rivals, these are six-pointers
- Make you home ground a fortress
- Improve the squad when possible (in January) and bring key players who will be an impulse to the team
At this moment Burnley has the best home record of those 9 teams winning 25 points at “Turf Moor” – out of 26 in total. If they keep this rate, no doubt they will be fine at the end of the season.
Palace looks to be in deep trouble with the worst current run in the Premier League – 12 lost, 2 drawn and 1 won in the last 15 after a pretty decent start to the season. They will go down for sure if they don’t stop this free fall as quickly as possible.
Hull and Sunderland have looked doomed for months but even at their terrible form, if they can win 2 – 3 games in a row, they will climb out of the bottom 3.
It is that tense down there.
And yes, Leicester are in the battle although they refuse to admit it. The Champions of England have found themselves in trouble and the worst part is yet to come. Champions League knock out stages are coming and Claudio Ranieri’s men will give it a shot against high flying Sevilla.
It might be just the two games but the focus on the Premiership will be challenged without doubt. And that might mean few more points dropped and safety threatened.
Champions of England have been relegated before – Manchester City went down 79 years ago straight after winning the First Division. Yes, we know that was long time ago and things are completely different nowadays but…
At the end of the day – there are many examples of teams that thought they were too good to go down to.. actually go down.