The Premier League Relegation Battle: Are we Due Another Great Escape?

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Who is going down?

A few weeks ago, the Premier League relegation battle looked to be done and dusted, with Sheffield United, West Brom and Fulham all seeming destined for a return to the Championship.

However, Scott Parker has turned his sides form around in 2021 and blown the race for safety wide open, with a number of clubs now beginning to look over their shoulders. We take a look at who is going to go down and the Premier League relegation odds with just 10 games remaining.

Can Fulham close in on Newcastle?

Despite their recent form, Fulham remain three points from safety, with Newcastle United sitting in 17th with 26 points. Since signing centre half duo Tosin Adarabioyo and Joachim Andersen on deadline day back in October, only Manchester City (10) and Chelsea (19) have conceded less goals than Fulham (23), which makes for great reading.

With this partnership at the back, Fulham have conceded just 18 goals in 20 games and this has resulted in a run of form which has seen the Cottagers lose just once in their last eight games.

If this vein of form and defensive solidarity continues in west London, then they will likely escape the drop and deservedly so, although this could be decided on the last day of the season, when they face fellow relegation contenders Newcastle at Craven Cottage.

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Can Newcastle keep the distance?

After going winless for nine games including five consecutive losses, many Newcastle fans were calling for Steve Bruce’s head, especially as fan favourite and former boss Rafa Benitez became available. But a couple of wins against Everton and Southampton appear to have kept Bruce at St James' Park, however, now, injuries to key men players, Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron, could hurt them in upcoming key fixtures this month against West Brom, Aston Villa and Brighton.

This month could be very telling for Newcastle and maybe a potential new manager bounce could be the answer for them to stay in the Premier League. For now, though, the Toon Army are right to be worried about a return to the Championship and we fear it could all be decided at Fulham on the final day of the season.

Brighton are flirting with relegation

Brighton & Hove Albion are one of the unluckiest team in the Premier League this season, with expected points (based off xG and xGA) suggesting they should currently be fourth in the table. However, the reality is that a lack of efficiency in front of goal means Graham Potter’s side are well and truly involved in this year’s relegation battle, and this keep-ball style of play the Englishman has implemented doesn't quite work for a team of their stature on this platform.

The Seagulls fans will be worried after two concerning defeats, first to injury-rideen rivals Crystal Palace and then to 19th West Brom a few days later. However, Brighton’s dominance in these games proves they deserve to be in the top flight next season, and we believe their luck will turn soon and that they should have enough to avoid relegation with quality players such as Yves Bissouma, Tariq Lamptey and Lewis Dunk steering them to safety well before the end of the campaign.

The south coast side simply just have ton convert.

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Burnley looking ok once again

Since promotion in 2016, Sean Dyche has evolved Burnley into a team that are now expected to be in the Premier League. As ever, they have remained solid at the back with a partnership of James Tarkowksi and Ben Mee playing in front of England goalkeeper Nick Pope however they have struggled at the other end of the pitch and have scored just 19 goals this season, with bottom of the table Sheffield United being the only team to have scored fewer.

Injuries to strikers Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood have meant Matej Vydra has been relied upon, but the Czech forward has only managed one goal in his 17 games this season. The much-needed return of Chris Wood could provide enough firepower to trouble defences in upcoming games, but Burnley definitely shouldn’t be taking their place in the Premier League for granted this season and will likely need results against fellow strugglers Newcastle, Fulham and Sheffield United if they are to achieve safety.

A Great Espcae in order?

It would be unfair to completely write off West Brom and Sheffield United from staying in the Premier League, however, it is fair to say that either team surviving would be considered one of the greatest escapes in recent history, particularly the latter.

The appointment of Sam Allardyce back in December hasn’t been as successful as the Baggies would have hoped and the ex-England manager is now on the verge of the first relegation in his managerial career. West Brom’s defence has been woeful and have conceded 11 goals more than any other team in the division, this certainly needs addressing instantly for them to have any hopes of staying in the division.

Sheffield United can be proud that they are not already relegated at this point of the season following a torrid start, where they looked on track to beat Derby County’s record of lowest points total in a Premier League season (11). It took until January for the Blades to get their first win of the season, but now they have won four of their last 10, which at least gives them some confidence if they do get relegated. But 12 points adrift from Newcastle means it looks like too little too late for Chris Wilder’s side and we feel they would need at least seven or eight wins from their last 11 games if they are to achieve the impossible.

By Tom Eaton

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