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Ranking the five favourites to be relegated from the Premier League in 20/21

The fight for survival is amongst the most intriguing sub-plots of any Premier League season with sides desperate to retain their top flight status, a host of clubs scrambling for results as they bid to beat the dreaded drop.

This season looks set to be amongst the most fascinating yet with a number of sides expected to be in the relegation mix, each hoping to avoid following last season’s bottom three of Norwich, Bournemouth and Watford in heading towards the Championship.

Newcastle – 5/2

Newcastle find themselves as the fifth favourites to drop into the Championship following an inconsistent start to the new campaign, Steve Bruce’s side having amassed four points from their first three fixtures.

An impressive opening day win at West Ham was followed by a home humbling against Brighton, before snatching the unlikeliest of points from a trip to Tottenham following some late, late penalty controversy.

Newcastle have often been dogged defensively in recent seasons without offering much in an attacking sense, though the club have looked to increase their firepower this summer with the eye-catching arrivals of Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson from Bournemouth.

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The signing of Jamal Lewis is another positive move for the Magpies who will be hoping Wilson can hit the ground running at St James’ Park, the England international having already found the net twice and tasked with scoring the goals to keep Newcastle in the division this season.

Finding the balance between attacking impetus and their previous pragmatic approach will be crucial to Newcastle’s hopes of survival, though they will hope to have enough to keep themselves clear of trouble this season.

Burnley – 2/1

Sean Dyche has worked wonders on a shoe-string budget at Burnley in recent years but perhaps now faces his greatest task in maintaining the club’s top flight status, his squad perilously thin following some notable departures and a lack of transfer activity.

Dale Stephens’ arrival from Brighton is the only major addition to the Clarets’ squad to date, though Burnley remain keen to add some much needed recruits before the transfer deadline of October 5.

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Dyche has often sought British in his buys and it looks a policy he’s unlikely to deviate from in the coming days if additions are to arrive, though it may prove too little too late for a side who have punched above their weight in recent seasons.

Burnley finished tenth last season and equalled their club-record for points in a Premier League season but have begun the campaign with back-to-back losses, their significant lack of depth a huge concern should injuries strike at Turf Moor this season.

Sheffield United – 7/4

Sheffield United were the surprise package of last season after making a hugely impressive return to the Premier League, the newly-promoted side competing for a place in Europe for much of the season before a late season dip in form.

Chris Wilder has built a cohesive side with an innovative system at Bramall Lane but the surprise factor possessed by the Blades is no more, whilst their lack of a recognised goalscorer is a concern despite their defensive strength last season.

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After bloodying the noses of heavyweights such as Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham last season it seems odd that Sheffield United are amongst the three favourites for the drop, stranger still given their solid – if unspectacular – recruitment during the summer transfer window.

Their form post-restart, picking up just ten points from nine games to see their European ambitions crumble, is a factor, as is three consecutive defeats to start the new season.

It remains to be seen whether the collective unit that defied the odds last season can continue to upset the status quo.

West Bromwich Albion – 4/6

Newly-promoted sides are often amongst the favourites for the drop given the gulf in quality between the Premier League and second-tier, West Bromwich Albion the second favourites for an instant return to the Championship.

Slaven Bilic has failed to significantly strengthen last season’s side despite securing the permanent arrivals of several loanees, and much will be expected of Mattheus Pereira and Grady Diagnana as the Baggies bid to beat the drop.

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West Brom are another side who lack a proven centre-forward with neither Hal Robson-Kanu or Callum Robinson having convinced at Premier League level, their lack of goals and prolificacy in giving away opportunities a dangerous cocktail in England’s top tier.

Seasoned Premier League players in Jake Livermore and Kieran Gibbs will be crucial to leading the fight for survival, but there are few who anticipate anything other than a season spent scrapping for points.

Fulham – 1/3

Three games, three defeats and ten goals conceded, Fulham’s return to the Premier League has been a nightmare experience in its opening weeks.

Scott Parker deserves credit for regrouping his players and earning an instant return to the top flight last season, bouncing back from relegation during his first full season as a manager at Craven Cottage.

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The west London side, however, are short of quality in several positions with their defence littered with players some way below the standard required, their decision to stick with many of the players relegated two seasons ago looking naive at best.

An over-reliance on Aleksandr Mitrovic and a defence that has been carved open already by the likes of Arsenal, Leeds and Aston Villa makes Fulham the favourites for the drop, the next few days shaping as crucial to Parker as the club desperately scramble for major additions before the transfer deadline.

Read – Six Premier League players who could still move before the transfer deadline

Read Also – Star Turns: Six Premier League players who shone bright in gameweek 3

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