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How the Premier League relegation battle is shaping up

The Premier League season is back in full swing after the international break and games will be coming thick and fast right up until the World Cup. It’s been interesting to see how sides at both ends of the table have coped with the intensity of this season, which certainly has felt unique given the circumstances. While Manchester City and Arsenal have stamped their authority on the title race, the fight to avoid relegation is proving to be a rather interesting prospect.

With teams spending big over the summer to assemble their sides, the newly promoted clubs have enjoyed indifferent campaigns so far. Many believed Fulham would suffer their usual slow return to the top flight when in fact the Cottagers have hit the ground running after winning the Championship, and look well on course to finally avoid being a yo-yo club under Marco Silva. Elsewhere, Brentford have avoided the dreaded case of second season syndrome, flying in the dizzying heights of ninth at the time of writing to the surprise of Premier League betting odds.

The results have meant some stalwarts of the league have been cast in the uncertainty of a relegation dogfight, but who has the best chance of survival? Read on, as we look at the sides flirting with the drop in this season’s Premier League.

Leicester City

It seems more and more of an inevitability that Brendan Rodgers will be relieved of his duties as Leicester manager, it’s just a case of time now. The Northern Irishman, who was on the verge of Champions League football in consecutive seasons when he first joined the Foxes, looks to have taken them as far as they can go, and with a real lack of investment in the squad, they look low on depth and out of ideas, heading for a sinking ship.

Captain Kasper Schmeichel left alongside Wesley Fofana, and Jamie Vardy has been leading the line by himself for half a decade now. At 36, there was only so long they could rely on his goals and with Youri Tielemans looking a shell of his former self in midfield, Leicester have looked hopeless this season and find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table. Their one salvation is the January transfer window, as new faces will have to be the order of the day at the King Power to avoid an embarrassing relegation for the 2016 league champions.

Nottingham Forest

From one end of the spending spectrum to the other, Nottingham Forest were extremely busy over the summer, with Steve Cooper bringing in 22 new players in a bid to beat the drop after winning last season’s play-off final. The Welshman received huge financial backing from the board, but at times it looks as if they signed players based on reputation as opposed to how they would fit in the team or what experience they have, leading to a continental dressing room lacking cohesion and identity.

Time is on the side of the fellow East Midlanders, who will want to get one over Leicester by surviving at their rivals’ expense, but to do so they’ll need to click soon, as well as get the best out of Brennan Johnson, who has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water. There would be no shame in Forest heading down but they’d want to go with a fighting chance given the money they spent in their first campaign back in the top flight.

West Ham United

Not many would have predicted after the first international break that West Ham United would be in the position they are now. Semi-finalists in last season’s Europa League, the Irons were a forced to be reckoned with domestically and abroad, but look a pale imitation of that side under David Moyes this season. A difficult opening day defeat to Manchester City was understandable, but their form since has been horrendous and despite bringing in the exciting Lucas Paquetá from Ligue 1 outfit Lyon, West Ham need to start turning good performances into results quickly or run the risk of being dragged into a relegation scrap for the long haul. Currently 18th in the table, their next few fixtures will go a long way to determining their fate.

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