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The Relegation Battle - Who Is Down?!

starchild65 wrote in our relegation/mid table watch forum thread:

I have spent an hour or so looking at all the bottom half clubs' remaining fixtures and based on what the teams have done so far this season I have summarised the chances of all the clubs from 10th to 20th of avoiding the drop.

Swansea - Their quality of football hasn`t reaped the rewards it maybe deserves, but you would think they have enough quality in the side to get the points they need to stay up. The dismissal of Laudrup was in my opinion a knee jerk reaction and the appointment of Gary Monk as interim manager isn`t ideal. Key players now will be the likes of Michu, De Guzman, Bony. If they can get Michu back playing they can win enough games against the teams around them to be safe. Relegated? - No.

West Ham - They are on a roll right now and with the return of Andy Carroll to spearhead their attack, they have the firepower to maintain their Premiership status. Off field Big Sam has been given the vote of confidence from the board, confidence and morale is good in their camp right now and that can often be enough to win the important matches. They do have some tough games against title contending and European qualification chasing clubs coming up but there are also enough games against clubs in and around them for them to pick up the points they need to avoid getting dragged into a bottom 3 placing. - Relegated? - No.

Villa - Home form is shocking and this alone is what is keeping Villa in and around the bottom end of the table yet again. If Villa`s away form deserts them they are in big trouble. Looking at the remaining fixtures there are 3 away games Villa are unlikely to get points from and of their remaining 6 home games, 4 of them are against teams in the bottom half of the table. I feel they have to win at least 3 of these home games as well as maintain their decent away form to keep them above the trap door, draws may not be enough if other results elsewhere go against them. Much has been made of the inexperienced and young squad and when the opportunity to strengthen with quality came around in the January transfer window, Villa were found wanting and only managed to bring in 2 players on loan deals, only 1 of whom is likely to aid the clubs fight to avoid the drop. Defensively Villa rely heavily on Captain Ron Vlaar and their midfield is often out played. Talisman striker Benteke hasn`t reached the heights of last season and the goals are not flowing. Worrying times ahead for the club who could be potential fall guys. Relegated? - Maybe

Hull - Of the promoted teams from the Championship, Hull have looked the most likely to stay up. This is mainly down to their home form with some good wins such as the thrashing they gave Liverpool. But on their travels, Hull have found it much harder to pick up the points, and thus, they find themselves embroiled in the scramble to stay up. They still have tough home games to come against the likes of Man City, Arsenal and Everton and this could determine their fate. But there are enough games against teams in and around them for them to get the points they need. Players like Huddlestone and the new strikers Long and Jelavic will need to have an impact in the games to come if Hull are to stay up. Off field the argument rages on over owner Assem Allam`s desire to change the club name. And his threat to pull the plug if he doesn`t get his way, when the FA meet to decide on his proposed name change in April, could undo all the good work on the field. If Allem carries out his threat it could plunge City into administration and a potential 10 points deduction under FA rules may be implemented with immediate effect. Relegated? - Maybe

Stoke - The Britannia Stadium is a fortress. Even the big boys can`t get a win there. This alone should be worth enough points to steer Stoke well away from relegation. Away from home Stoke suffer with chronic travel sickness and that is what has hampered them again this season. They have enough decent players to keep them up barring a total collapse of epic proportions with home form. Life after Pulis hasn`t been the disaster many Potters fans had first feared. Whilst they won`t be challenging for Europe any day soon, if they maintain their home form they will always be comfortably mid table by the end of the campaign. Relegated? - No

Palace - Had Ian Holloway stayed in charge then you would have feared the worst for Palace, but the board acted swiftly and snapped up Tony Pulis and he has changed their fortunes dramatically. Holloway spent a lot of money on mediocrity and it showed on the field. Pulis knew what needed to be done, and backed by the board has done some decent wheeler dealing in the January transfer window to keep them on track for survival. Pulis has never been relegated as a manager and that record might yet be intact come May. They have some tough games coming up against teams in and around them and the question is whether Pulis can keep them going long enough to get the points to survive. Relegated? - Maybe

Norwich - It doesn`t help matters when one of the board openly suggests that if they need to they will replace the manager. At this stage of the season, would this be a gamble that may not pay off? How will the players feel if they suddenly find the gaffer they respect has been removed and some new guy with new ideas comes along? Sometimes a new man coming in acts as a tonic and lifts the club but it can also work the other way too. Norwich have been inconsistent all season and they need to put points on the board quickly against the teams in and around them before they get to the last 4 games of the season. It`s hard to imagine a tougher finale than what faces the Canaries and this could prove to be the killer punches - 4 games starting with Liverpool at home, followed by 2 difficult trips to Man Utd and Chelsea before ending the season at home to Arsenal - that could ultimately send them spiralling down to the Championship. Relegated? - Maybe

Albion - Last season they had the likes of Lukaku and Long banging in the goals for fun and they rode out a disappointing end to the campaign but still finished in a very respectable mid table well away from the relegation dog fight. They were never going to be struggling to beat the drop. Fast forward to now and it`s a very different scenario. Striker Long was sold to Hull in January much to the dismay of the Baggies faithful and Lukaku is now plying his trade on loan at Everton. Steve Clark had done well as head coach but his sacking was a surprise to many and it took quite a while for Albion to find his replacement. New man Pepe Mel has yet to record a win and the longer this goes on as he tries to implement his ideas on the team the more perilous a position the Baggies could find themselves in. There are enough games left for them turn things around and their overall approach play is decent but they lack the knock out blow that turns 1pt into 3pts. They look wobbly at the back and unless their forwards can start finding the net on a regular basis they are going to be vulnerable. Relegated? - Maybe

Sunderland - Gus Poyet took over from madman Di Canio and transformed the team from a joke outfit destined to implode in dramatic fashion. The players felt they had no option but to demand their manager`s removal, I don`t think that has ever happened before. The Black Cats couldn`t even buy a win under the controversial Di Canio. Enter then the enigmatic Uruguayan Gus Poyet, who himself was the subject of allegations from his former employers Brighton. Despite some bad results, Gus has slowly got Sunderland playing some decent stuff and their cup exploits are testimony to just how far they have come over the course of the season. But it is their cup runs that could ultimately be their undoing as the backlog of fixtures pile up. A few season`s ago, Birmingham won the League Cup but ended up going down on the last day of the season when beaten by a late goal at Spurs. Last season Wigan`s epic FA Cup triumph over the mega millionaires of Man City was at the expense of their Premier league status just 3 days later when they were beaten by Arsenal. They have some tough fixtures coming up against title chasers and clubs with ambitions of Europe including back to back contest with both Manchester clubs in the last 3 games of the season - and coupled with their backlog of fixtures as they pursue domestic cup glory, it could all unravel if they aren`t strong enough to deal the pressure. Relegated? - Maybe

Cardiff - If Allem is a bit of a manic owner at Hull, then Vincent Tan, the Cardiff owner is positively barking mad. He has alienated himself against the fans by changing the clubs colours from blue to red, engaged in a war of words against the manager who took them to the Premiership, ultimately sacking him when he refused to resign. On the field, Cardiff have struggled to cope with the rigours of top flight football. They lack the killer instinct in front of goal and all too often they tend to run out of steam the longer the game goes on. They do have some talented players like Noone, Campbell and Caulker and the acquisition of Jones from Stoke and loan signing of Saha from Man Utd has bolstered their squad. But it is difficult to see them putting enough points on the board to get out of trouble even against teams in the lower half of the table. Even the appointment of Ole Gunner Solksjaer has failed to improve their form and I wouldn`t be at all surprised if OGS parts company with Cardiff in May unless Tan decides to wield the axe again. Relegated? - Yes

Fulham - The revolving doors at Craven Cottage whirled in to action yet again when Muellensteen was axed by the owner who has now appointed a 3rd manager this season, Felix Magath, in a desperate bid to get Fulham off the foot of the table. In addition to the manager walking, coaches Curbishley and Wilkins, who only joined the club in December, have also found themselves surplus to requirements. The club made the surprising decision to sell talisman Berbatov to Monaco in January. Much has been said about the athleticism of the Bulgarian, but he is still capable of turning a game in your favour with a sublime piece of skill, or goal out of nothing, or a slick incisive pass for a team mate etc. Like Cardiff, it is difficult to see where Fulham will pick up the points to survive and if the team has no depth of quality or consistency, even someone like Mourinho would struggle to get them out of trouble. I guess the next 4 or 5 games will tell us if new manager Magath and the Fulham players have what it takes to drag themselves out of the relegation places. As things stand and based on their season exploits so far, I don`t think they can. Relegation? - Yes

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The Journalist

Writer: starchild65 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday February 24 2014

Time: 9:04AM

Your Comments

March is now crucial for us, I do fear where we are heading.
The Fear
I agree that Fulham and Cardiff are goners. Norwich after that for me, despite yesterdays win at home against Spurs. Their last four look like sinkers.
Until we get anew manager ,we are heading for relegation Where is the chairman, whats this plan , two years of garbage To all supporters ,protest and boycott we need change now Lambert must be sacked now
Flo Moses
I don't see how you can rule out Stoke. They still play awful football and are by no means safe. In my opinion, we should be alright purely because there are teams that are worse than us. It's as simple as that as I see it.
Flo 2 years of garbage ? Make it 4 or 5 years of garbage . I think it will be 3 out of 4 , us ,Albion ,Fulhum & Cardiff
I agree with Grizzly re Cardiff. My problem is not that there are others teams worse than us just that I cant see us beating anybody.As for the assesment I would forget about Hull,Swansea and West Ham. Pulis is a clever old sod and will probably keep Palace up. But as I said we look like we are made of glass two serious injuries away from being relegation favorites.
This will be our fourth successive season of being in the relegation dogfight. Two very poor managerial appointments have not helped (Houllier and Voldemort). Last season we had 24 points after 2 games but then won five of the last 11 matches to finish with 41 points. This season we MUST win four more games - Norwich, Stoke, Fulham and Hull. That will give us 40 points and probable safety. If we can't manage that then we deserve to be relegated. Time for the players to man up and do what needs to be done.
chocolate teapot
At least on the bright side we dont still have MON in charge for march.
far too close to call, anyone from 10th to 20th. exciting stuff. lerner out
Ali Arab
In MON's last season in charge we had 46 points from 27 games. We then won six of the final 11 games, only losing twice. That sort of a finish would do me nicely.
chocolate teapot
chocolate teapot - 24 points after 2 games was it 12 points for a win ;-)...We will stay up again by the skin of our teeth but lets face facts we have stolen 12 points at least from games we were out classed in this season....Very lucky that's what we are.
We've diced with relagation to many times now, we just don't have the fight!
Stop whinging10
I agree with teapot We have neither the players or fight to avoid the drop. Perhaps when we get the Derbys against Wolves and Blues Lerner will start to show a bit of interest. Biggest bit of Lamberks bull was that he has been at the home games incognito. Take it from me if we've got the King or our P.M at the game you would know if He was there.
can't see where the next win will come from. canaries now got some belief, we've got zero. this is a horrible season.
This team would struggle in the Championship, or should I qualify that statement by saying, under current manager they would struggle to survive in the Championship cut and thrust.
Anyone who saw the Shef U game will know we'd also struggle in Lg1. Lamberk out!!
I've seen some people saying relegation would be good for us. Would it really? Losing all that TV money, having to sell Benteke, Vlaar, Guzan, Delph, and probably any half decent player we have, then buying even worse dross, Villa Park half empty for every home game, we'd more than likely struggle in the Championship, or even worse get relegated again. We can't even beat League 1 or 2 teams as a Premier League club! If we go down, we won't be back for a long time, not under Lerner.
Stephen Jay Hawkings
I agree with Tekkers re our hopes of staying in the Prem relies on the poor quality of the teams below us, which is a great shame considering the history of the club. I think Cardiff, Sunderland and Fulham have consistently shown relegation-standard football all season, but March/April will be pivotal.
Going down is NEVER going to be good for us, crazy talk that! Something has to change though otherwise we will have no say in the matter. Agree with post re Cardiff and Fulham plus any of those up to about 11th as its so tight this year.
holte ender 1969
I honestly think we will go down this year, we have had successive relegation battles over the past 4 seasons and eventually time runs out.... I believe it is

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