Let’s take a look at the bottom six teams in the Premier League and assess their chances of survival heading into February.
15th – Brighton and Hove Albion
Their third season in the Premier League and their first under Graham Potter, their two main acquisitions of Neal Maupay and Leandro Trossard look to have been good ones going forward. Despite having fewer points than they did under Chris Hughton, they sit in a much more comfortable position than they did last season, With their back three of Dunk, Webster and Ryan, they should be able to hold out for a few draws against teams ranked above them, out of their last 13 games they only have 4 where the opposition is clearly better than them. I believe they’re more than capable of accumulating enough points in the back end of this season to secure survival.
Chances of survival – 80%
16th – AFC Bournemouth
Why, why, why? Every time I look at Bournemouth’s squad, they look a team more than capable of finishing around 10th. But somehow, the man-child that is Eddie Howe has got them stuck in another relegation dogfight. The addition of Dom Solanke makes less sense every week as, 21 games in, he still hasn’t scored a league goal. Add to the fact they have a stadium that would be considered small at League One level. It still amazes me that Callum Wilson hasn’t moved out yet. With all that said, it just doesn’t seem possible that this team will suffer a drop. With a Championship loan spell in store for Solanke, better times are ahead for Bournemouth.
Chances of survival – 70%.
17th – Aston Villa
2 points away from second last and equal first for goals conceded, it’s been a sorrowful season for Villa. Losing John McGinn in December and Wesley just 11 days later at the turn of the year and now without Tom Heaton for the rest of the season, it’s been an unlucky season for Villa. Their run home is anything but pretty. It appears Villa will be forced back into the second tier and will have to sell half their squad. Add to that Jack Grealish will more than likely depart in the summer, and it’s probably worth it to just cancel your season ticket for a year.
Chances of survival – 20%
18th – West Ham United
Only a point behind Villa, West Ham have been a top tier club since 2012. Now supported by a winger who isn’t injured every two weeks (Bowen), and a new coach, West Ham are in a similar boat to Bournemouth. Despite the fact that their defence seems to have hit an all-time low, they’re still buoyed by a midfield consisting of Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek and Pablo Fornals. Whilst it’s look grim for the vast majority of this season, I can’t help but think good times are ahead this season for David Moyes. Their next 7 are a bit sour, but beyond that, the fixtures look very winnable. The Hammers will stay up, I think.
Chances of survival – 65%
19th – Watford
The addition of Joao Pedro in January was albeit interesting, but it doesn’t seem enough to revive the inconsistency that plagues Watford. The attack has a lot of talent, although if they do drop this season, it will probably mark the end of Ismalia Sarr and Gerard Deulofeu’s careers at Watford. The problem here is, ultimately, the defence. Conceding 40 goals to date and not showing any signs of that number slowing, it appears this is the season Watford will drop. That said, if they can hold onto Sarr and Deulofeu, they’ll be very difficult to get through in the forthcoming Championship season. That said, they sit 3 points behind Brighton, so you can’t write them off immediately. Hopefully, Joao Pedro can add some firepower, but I just don’t see it.
Chances of Survival – 40%
20th – Norwich
They say miracles do happen, and it appears Norwich are in desperate need for one. Averaging less than a goal per game this season, a ratio worse than some individual players. 47 goals conceded and only one January arrival. Daniel Farke’s inaugural season in the Premier League quickly turned into a nightmare when Norwich seemingly stopped scoring. Teemu Pukki started the campaign like a house on fire, but it soon went very quiet. It’s not like they’re not creating chances, as they average just a tick over 50% possession per game and average 12 shots per game. They sit 7 points behind safety, and by any stretch of the imagination, they’re down and out. Whilst it is grim, they are, as mentioned, creating chances. If they can mend the breaks and if Teemu can return to his former firm, they still possess a chance of survival. With one of the more comfortable draws we’ve looked at, the only real worry they have an away fixture against City on the final day of the season. The job starts now for Norwich.
Chances of survival – 20%
Next up – a look at the contenders for promotion and how I think they’ll go in the remainder of this season.