- Tactical Analysis
- Scout Reports
- Talent Radar
- The Series
Chelsea appear to be heading towards a fifth Premier League title, as they have a substantial advantage over Tottenham. However, the real action in the Premier League seems to be happening at the other end of the table, as denoted by the large number of Premier League odds relegation 2017.
Premier League clubs will be receiving a minimum of £100 million, thus making it one of the most lucrative leagues in the world. It is a place where even mediocrity is rewarded, as the likes of Sunderland and Middlesbrough would be making this sum of money for providing little entertainment in exchange. In comparison, the Championship feels a significant step down. For example, Aston Villa have been playing in the second division only this season and they are set to receive just £40 million TV money.
The TV money is only a fraction of the cost. One also has to factor the club’s drop in value, which often runs into several hundred millions. Sunderland owner Ellis Short may have valued the club at £240 million back in November, but he can realistically expect to receive less than half of this figure if Sunderland are in the drop zone.
Hence, the cost of relegation from the Premier League is truly high, and this drives the race to avoid the drop. But what teams are set to face the drop this season?
Sunderland’s troubles began when David Moyes was announced as the manager. While the Scot remains a good manager, his stock is at its lowest point after failed spells at Manchester United and Real Sociedad.
It is even surprising that Sunderland are in the Premier League right now. The club has had to pull off some great escapes over the years, but they may have used up all their lives. One of the biggest advantages is that the club still have five games against teams in the bottom half of the table. They conclude the campaign with games against Arsenal and Chelsea. Realistically, live sports betting odds will look at games against Middlesbrough, Hull City, and Swansea City as being winnable, but just one of those matches is at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland’s away form is nothing short of being branded as terrible with the team managing just seven points on the road this season. At home, they might seem to have a greater chance of taking more points, although Sunderland do possess the worst home record in the division with 13 points.
With the club having failed to score even a single goal in the last seven games, the odds are completely stacked against Sunderland continuing their stay in the Premier League.
Middlesbrough were always going to be favourites for relegation after having just come back from an extended stay in the Championship. Aitor Karanka may no longer be in the dugout, but the club’s primary problems continue unabated. Scoring goals has been the biggest problem for the club, and they are the lowest scorers in the Premier League with just 22 goals in the 31 games. Even Sunderland, who have not scored in the last seven games, have been able to score more goals (24) than Middlesbrough.
Fans will be disappointed at the club deciding to sack Aitor Karanka so late in the season. Interim coach Steve Agnew has little help in order to revive the campaign. Middlesbrough also have one of the toughest run of games, as the team are up against Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, and Liverpool in the remainder of the campaign. This alone makes the task of avoiding relegation daunting indeed. The club has failed to score in six out of the last eight league matches. The smallest hope is provided by games against Bournemouth, Sunderland, and Southampton – the latter two being at the Riverside Stadium. The club needs two wins just to reach Hull City’s tally, and it looks highly unlikely from a team that has managed just four wins this season.
Any team that goes through three different managers in the space of the season is bound to struggle in a number of facets. Even though Swansea went through a period of excellent form immediately after the arrival of Paul Clement, confidence has been eroded by a run of four defeats in the last five league matches. The 2-1 loss against Hull City appears to have completely worked against the team. Momentum is a key factor in the success of any relegation fight, and Swansea simply do not have this magic element at the moment.
The club certainly have winnable games against the likes of Watford and Sunderland on the road, while games against Stoke City and West Brom are candidates for three points with regard to the home games. The presence of Gylfi Sigurdsson does provide hope. If the club can get the former Tottenham attacking midfielder back on form, he may very well be able to get Swansea out of the drop zone – just two points behind Hull City – almost single-handedly.
Is the manager to blame for each of the teams mentioned above? Are there reasons to be hopeful? Are there reasons to be worried? Sunderland is more skeletal than skinny. Their past few seasons have been about stunning spring-time escapes. A newly attack-minded Middlesbrough has improved significantly since the interim manager Agnew replaced Karanka. They still have a game in hand on Swansea and Hull.
Further on, Swansea still have winnable games, including home fixtures against West Brom and Stoke, as well as a trip to Sunderland on their penultimate weekend. The conclusion is simple: we still need more time to see who will leave Premier League this year.