Much of the talk this season has centred around a tightly-contested title race, with just eight points currently separating the Premier League’s top eight sides in the most competitive season in recent memory.
However, down at the bottom things are similarly congested and a fascinating fight for survival looks set to take place over the second half of the season, a number of sides desperately scrambling to ensure their top-flight status.
So for those of you who like to follow the odds on the best betting sites in Australia, we’ve decided to look at how the bookmakers view the battle to beat the drop.
Here are the favourites to be relegated from the Premier League this season:
Brighton – 5/1
Brighton were tipped by many in pre-season to build on an encouraging maiden campaign under the management of Graham Potter, but the Seagulls progress has been limited with a concerning run of form over the festive period dragging them into contention.
Nine games without a win between late November and January have seen Brighton struggle to escape from the bottom three, though victory over Leeds last time out means they have a five-point advantage over 18th-placed Fulham having played a game extra.
Those who have watched Brighton this season will agree there has been a sense of misfortunes in many of their results, but just three victories all season is hugely concerning and leaves them 17th.
None of those wins have come at the Amex Stadium with the Seagulls having failed to secure three points on home soil since beating Arsenal in June, a run of results that must surely change if Brighton are to edge away from danger.
Burnley – 4/1
After opening the season with five defeats and no wins from their opening seven fixtures there were many fearing the worst for Burnley, the lack of investment in the side beginning to catch up amongst the Premier League’s big spending owners.
Sean Dyche – as he so often has in previous seasons – has since regrouped his players to climb out of the Premier League’s bottom three, a four-game unbeaten run in December helping the Clarets move out of the relegation places.
Burnley have tightened up their defence and have failed to concede more than once in any of their past nine games, their increasingly resilient rearguard and axis of Nick Pope, James Tarkowski and Ben Mee the key to securing their top-flight safety.
Dyche’s side secured a shock 1-0 win at Liverpool last week to end the champion’s 68-game unbeaten home league run, a result that moved the Clarets seven points clear of the bottom three and their experience at this level should be enough – even if this is a squad that remains crying out for additions.
Newcastle – 2/1
Amongst the most concerned fanbases in the Premier League at present will be those of Newcastle, having seen their side free-fall towards the relegation places following a woeful run of form.
Newcastle are without a win in their past 11 fixtures in all competitions, Steve Bruce’s side playing some truly uninspiring football and lacking the quality to put together a consistent run of results.
Callum Wilson has been the Magpies’ source of hope with eight league goals for the campaign but the summer signing is in desperate need of help, Jeff Hendrick their next leading scorer on just two with no other player managing more than one Premier League goal.
Wilson is now five without a finding the net and unless Steve Bruce can find a solution his side are in real danger, the criticism of the manager and his underwhelming and unambitious side beginning to get increasingly louder.
Much may depend on the returns of Ryan Fraser and Allan Saint-Maximin with both players being introduced in the second half of the defeat to Aston Villa last week, the wingers two players who can provide the quality and creativity to revive Newcastle’s faltering fortunes.
Fulham – 10/11
The opening fixtures of the season saw Fulham’s season destined to end with one outcome, an instant return to the second tier following a series of sub-standard showings.
Scott Parker acted swiftly to strengthen his options and the changes have made the west Londoners a much more competitive outfit, though there is plenty of work left to do if Fulham are to escape the drop zone.
Parker’s side are currently 18th and five points from safety, though have a game in hand on the two sides directly above them ahead of what shapes as a crucial run of fixtures, facing fellow relegation candidates Brighton, West Brom and Sheffield United in their next six.
Fulham have just two wins for the season so far and followed a run of five consecutive draws with narrow defeats to Chelsea and Manchester United, the Cottagers needing to edge the close contests if they are to get the required points on the board.
The lack of a reliable forward has hindered their hopes with Aleksandr Mitrovic out of favour and Ivan Cavaleiro a winger by trade, though there appears to be no new signings on the horizon ahead of the transfer window’s closure next week.
West Brom – 1/5
West Brom’s appointment of Sam Allardyce is yet to have had the desire effect with the Baggies still mired in the bottom three, six points from safety and with just one win from the new manager’s seven games in charge.
Allardyce’s appointment was designed to tighten up a leaky rearguard and grind out the results required to survive, though West Brom have conceded 2+ goals in six of Big Sam’s seven games in charge – including a 5-0 thrashing by Man City last night.
No side have conceded more goals with West Brom having shipped a mammoth 48 this season, a statistic which makes for grim reading and must change if they are to have any chance of avoiding an instant return to the Championship.
Their fortunes further forward are not much greater, however, with only Sheffield United having scored less goals – their odds of 1/5 to be relegated a fair price given their struggles so far this season.
Sheffield United – 1/25
Strange things often happen in football, but it would take a mad man to bet on Sheffield United’s survival this season given their atrocious performances over the first half of the season.
Chris Wilder’s side are a staggering 1/25 on to be relegated from the Premier League this season, having endured the worst ever start to a top-flight season after picking up just five points from their opening 19 fixtures.
Few would have anticipated the fall from grace Sheffield United have suffered this season after finishing in the dizzying heights of ninth last season, their struggles arguably the biggest case of ‘second season syndrome’ the Premier League has seen.
There season could yet end with a record-low points total unless results improve and quickly, the one-win Blades currently 15 points adrift and needing a footballing miracle to survive at this stage.