Premier League relegation battle: Who will go down?

Are we heading towards the tightest relegation battle ever?

As the Premier League season approaches the run-in the battle for survival is heating up. Just four points currently separate the bottom NINE sides in the top-flight table, with relegation six-pointers set to be commonplace in the coming weeks.

We look at teams battling to beat the drop.

12. Crystal Palace – 27 points

Last six games: DDLLLL

Remaining fixtures: Leicester (H), Leeds (A), Southampton (A), Everton (H), Wolves (A), West Ham (H), Tottenham (A), Bournemouth (H), Fulham (A), Nottingham Forest (H).

Odds to be relegated: 5/1

Crystal Palace remain at the top of the nine-team mini-table battling against relegation, but a torrid run of form has dragged the Eagles into the dogfight and led to change at Selhurst Park.

Patrick Vieira was sacked before the international break after a fourth consecutive league loss, one which extended Palace’s winless run to 12 games. Palace have not won in 2023 to date, with goals a major problem. The Eagles are the joint-lowest goalscorers in the Premier League this season and have recorded an xG figure of just 9.54 – scoring only five goals – since the turn of the new year.

Roy Hodgson has been brought back to the club as manager to provide experience, while Palace face a favourable – if high-pressure – fixture list across the run-in. Nine of the club’s remaining ten games are against teams below them in table.

Palace will take encouragement from their record against the Premier League’s relegation candidates this season, having taken 16 points from eight games against the teams below them so far this season. First up is 17th-placed Leicester, who are unbeaten in the last seven Premier League meetings between the teams.

13. Wolves – 27 points

Last six games: LDLWLL

Remaining fixtures: Nottingham Forest (A), Chelsea (H), Brentford (H), Leicester (A), Crystal Palace (H), Brighton (A), Aston Villa (H), Manchester United (A), Everton (H), Arsenal (A).

Odds to be relegated: 3/1

Julen Lopetugi’s arrival as manager has not quite pulled Wolves clear of danger as hoped and defeat to Leeds before the international break ensured the club remain mired in trouble. It’s just one win in six for Wolves, who continue to struggle for goals.

January recruit Matheus Cunha has scored just once in nine Premier League appearances, with Ruben Neves and Daniel Podence the club’s joint-leading scorers on just five each. Adama Traore (2) is the only other player in the squad to have scored more than one league goal this season.

A poor shot conversion has been behind Wolves’ struggles, averaging 15 shots per goal in the Premier League this season – the worst record in the division. Wolves – who have played a game more than all but Southampton below – have a tricky end to the season, with six of their remaining ten games against teams in the top half.

14. Leeds – 26 points

Last six games: LLWLDW

Remaining fixtures: Arsenal (A), Nottingham Forest (H), Crystal Palace (H), Liverpool (H), Fulham (A), Leicester (H), Bournemouth (A), Manchester City (A), Newcastle (H), West Ham (A), Tottenham (H).

Odds to be relegated: 3/1

Four points from two games before the international break has lifted Leeds, with an impressive 4-2 win at Wolves moving Javi Gracia’s team up to 14th. It’s now seven points from four games since the Spaniard replaced Jesse Marsch and the ex-Watford boss appears to have steadied the ship even if there remains much work to do.

This weekend’s trip to face leaders Arsenal represents a free-hit for Leeds, but is followed with back-to-back home games against teams directly around them in the table and Elland Road will be expectant.

Leeds left it until the final weekend to survive last season and the club’s fans will not want a repeat, given Leeds face top four contenders Manchester City, Newcastle and Spurs in their final four games.

15. Everton – 26 points

Last six games: WLLDWD

Remaining fixtures: Tottenham (H), Manchester United (A), Fulham (H), Crystal Palace (A), Newcastle (H), Leicester (A), Brighton (A), Manchester City (H), Wolves (A), Bournemouth (H).

Odds to be relegated: 13/8

Sean Dyche has brought some determination to Everton since his arrival as manager in February, with three wins from four home games having kept the Toffees above the drop zone.

On the surface level it appears Dyche has tightened up the Blues at the back, though the underlying numbers place Everton 17th for xGA – a measurement used to calculate the number of ‘good quality’ chances conceded – since Dyche’s arrival as manager.

Interestingly however, Everton’s improved chance creation means the Toffees are fifth in the Premier League for expected goals scored under Dyche, having ranked 17th under Frank Lampard. While conversion statistics need to be improved with just seven goals from seven games, those numbers should offer encouragement to Everton, who have struggled for a reliable source of goals in Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s absence.

Everton take on managerless Spurs on Monday night, looking to improve a wretched recent record against the north Londoners. The Toffees have won just one of their last 20 league fixtures against Tottenham.

16. Nottingham Forest – 26 points

Last six games: LDLDLL

Remaining fixtures: Wolves (H), Leeds (A), Aston Villa (A), Manchester United (H), Liverpool (A), Brighton (H), Brentford (A), Southampton (H), Chelsea (A), Arsenal (H), Crystal Palace (A).

Odds to be relegated: 1/1

Can Steve Cooper stop the slide? Forest are without a win in six and hovering just above the Premier League’s relegation places, ahead of this weekend’s Midlands six-pointer with Wolves.

The City Ground will be crucial to Forest’s hopes of survival, with this weekend’s game and a home clash with Southampton earmarked as must-wins for the Premier League’s worst travellers. Forest have taken just six points on the road so far this season and face a tricky run-in, with five of the current top eight still to face.

Four of their fixtures come against teams embroiled in the Premier League’s relegation battle and Forest will take heart from an encouraging record against the sides around them. No side has taken more points (18) from head-to-head games among the bottom nine so far this season. Forest will also want to improve a goal difference (-27), second only to Bournemouth (-29) as the worst in the division.

17. Leicester – 25 points

Last six games: WLLLLD

Remaining fixtures: Crystal Palace (A), Aston Villa (H), Bournemouth (H), Manchester City (A), Wolves (H), Leeds (A), Everton (H), Fulham (A), Liverpool (H), Newcastle (A), West Ham (H).

Odds to be relegated: 4/1

A draw with Brentford before the break stopped the rot of four consecutive defeats for Leicester, a run of results which has dragged Brendan Rodgers’ side deep into the dogfight.

Just a point above the bottom three, The Foxes last won against Tottenham in mid-February and have scored just three goals in their last six league games. James Maddison – buoyed by a full debut for England during the break – will be central to their hopes of success, but it is at the opposite end where the concerns for Rodgers are.

Leicester have not kept a clean sheet in the Premier League since November 12, a run of 12 consecutive games without a shut-out. Improvements are required at the back for the Foxes, who rank second for counter-attack goals conceded and fourth for set-piece goals conceded this season. Leicester take on Crystal Palace this weekend and will be optimistic of a result, having gone seven unbeaten against the Eagles.

18. West Ham – 24 points

Last six games: DDLWLD

Remaining fixtures: Southampton (H), Newcastle (H), Fulham (A), Arsenal (H), Bournemouth (A), Liverpool (H), Crystal Palace (A), Manchester City (A), Manchester United (H), Brentford (A), Leeds (H), Leicester (A).

Odds to be relegated: 4/1

West Ham’s season has not gone as planned and reports this week suggested the club will part company with David Moyes this summer regardless of whether the club retain their Premier League status.

The Hammers have won just one in their last six and are in the Premier League’s bottom three. Moyes’ side do have at least one game in hand on the sides around them, but a tough run-in will see West Ham face Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle and Liverpool before the end of the season.

West Ham are also the only side in the relegation battle with dual commitments, having progressed with ease to the Europa Conference League quarter-finals. One of the favourites for the competition, it would represent long-awaited silverware and a route back into Europe next season. However, Moyes must ensure continental football does not come alongside the rigours of the Championship.

Too good to go down? West Ham have been here before.

19. Bournemouth – 24 points

Last six games: DWLLWL

Remaining fixtures: Fulham (H), Brighton (H), Leicester (A), Tottenham (A), West Ham (H), Southampton (A), Leeds (H), Chelsea (H), Crystal Palace (A), Manchester United (H), Everton (A).

Odds to be relegated: 8/13

Bournemouth were brought down to Earth with a bump after a 3-0 loss at Aston Villa before the break, with the Cherries unable to build on a shock win over Liverpool.

There are issues at both ends of the pitch for Gary O’Neill’s side, who average the least shots on goal per 90 minutes this season and the most shots against. It is a combination unlikely to lead to survival. Dominic Solanke has failed to step up to the Premier League after two excellent seasons in the second tier, with Philip Billing the club’s leading scorer on just six league goals.

Bournemouth faces six sides around them before the season’s end, but just one of those fixtures comes at the Vitality Stadium. The Cherries have taken just eight points on the road all season, a record which must improve if the club are to avoid an instant return to the Championship.

Defensive issues have plagued Bournemouth all season, with their 17 set-piece goals conceded comfortably the highest in the division.

20. Southampton – 23 points

Last six games: WLWDLD

Remaining fixtures: West Ham (A), Manchester City (H), Crystal Palace (H), Arsenal (A), Bournemouth (H), Newcastle (A), Nottingham Forest (A), Fulham (H), Brighton (A), Liverpool (H).

Odds to be relegated: 4/11

Southampton remain bottom of the Premier League, but Ruben Selles’ appointment has breathed new life into their survival fight after the disastrous tenure of Nathan Jones.

Selles has guided the Saints to five points from their last four games, a run which includes battling draws against Manchester United and Spurs. Southampton rank ninth for xG since Selles’ arrival as manager, having demonstrated more threat in the final third under the new manager.

The Saint have also kept three clean sheets in their last six Premier League games, having recorded just one shut-out in their previous 28 fixtures.

Read – MVPs: Every Premier League club’s key man ahead of the season run-in

Read Also – Chelsea fire sale: Who could leave and where?

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