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Three from Five for the Drop

As has been the case in recent seasons, the battle for survival in the EPL is set to be a whole lot more exciting than the one to win it. For a while now four teams have become adrift, with each of them seeming incapable of putting any sort of run together to land the killer blow on the other three. Suddenly though, as we reach the end of January, at least three of them are looking like they may be finally kicking on, while other teams are falling inexorably towards the drop zone.

Those on the Verge

After a dream start to their inaugural EPL season Brentford have found it a struggle of late, though that can partly be put down to a tough set of fixtures. They should have enough points on the board to survive barring an absolute calamitous remainder of the season. Leeds suffered with an horrendous injury list, but look like they may have turned the corner and you feel they have done enough, and have enough about them to secure safety. Likewise Palace, Southampton and Villa.

Burnley

It really does not look good for Burnley. Every season they seem to just find enough to survive but this time it feels different. Lack of goals has been a huge issue and the sale of Chris Wood to Newcastle is certainly not going to help. The other major problem for Burnley is the number of games. They have a paper-thin squad and struggle with the spectre of fixture congestion at the best of times, but they have so many games in hand that they are going to be playing twice a week almost every week which you have to think is going to be a very big ask.

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Norwich

Like Burnley, Norwich looked all but gone, but a win against Everton and suddenly there was belief amongst the fans again. Whether that belief is misplaced we will soon find out. The two problems they have is that their team and squad is too lightweight for the EPL. They don’t have enough big strong athletic players who can take hold of the game by the scruff of the neck. Their other problem is finance. They just don’t have the ability to throw cash at the situation to give them a fighting chance.

Newcastle

Cash is certainly not a problem for Newcastle, though it was thought they may struggle to get the right type of players in to help them in their fight to stay up. Those fears seem to have been partly allayed, and Eddie Howe has done some canny business, none more so than the acquisition of Kieran Trippier, who has swapped a title fight in Spain’s capital for a relegation scrap in the North East of England.

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Watford

The Hornets are another side that are using the January transfer window – notoriously a risky time to conduct your business – to give themselves every possible chance to remain in the world’s favourite league. Their biggest problem has been leaking goals, and that is exactly the area they have addressed. Whether the new defence will be able to get up to speed quickly enough to staunch the flow of goals could well be the key to if they survive or not.

Everton

A couple of seasons ago, Everton were starting to be talked of as a potential top four team. Now they are looking down the barrel of relegation into the Championship. Of the five, they are in the best position, but their recent run of form has been nothing short of dreadful, and if two of the teams below them pick up form, the Toffees are in real trouble. Their position will not help them in their search for a new manager, though I cannot imagine many Everton fans would have been too disappointed when Mourinho ruled himself out.

Read – Seven outrageously good Premier League free-kicks

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