- English Premier League kicks off on August 9
- Sheffield United favorites for relegation
- Turmoil in Newcastle
With the English Premier League season just one week away, the battle for the title looks like it could well be another two-horse race between Manchester City and Liverpool. The battle for relegation, however, is very different with nearly half the division in the frame.
We’ll take a look at those we think in most danger.
Newly promoted from the Championship and have spent some cash over the summer in the hope of their stay in the Premier League lasting more than a single season. Manager Chris Wilder is a wily operator and has his team playing in a unique style that some teams may find difficult to counter, at least to begin with.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) October 27, 2017
The Blades need a good start to the season and points on the board before their quirky style is countered by the opposition. A tough campaign ahead though.
The Canaries blew away all before them in the Championship last season and won the league with a bit to spare. Manager Daniel Farke has built a talented squad on a shoestring budget but has moulded them into a cohesive, well-drilled unit who play an attractive brand of soccer.
Norwich, like Sheffield United, will need points on the board early but, having stuck largely with the players who got them promoted, will have momentum that could well lead them to Premier League safety. The Canaries will surprise a few.
After a wretched first half of last season, the Clarets looked certainties for a promotion but a great run in 2019 saw them preserve their Premier League status for the second consecutive season. They’re managed by Sean Dyche, a gritty central defender back in the day, who has moulded a team in his own image.
Burnley’s reliance on effort and organization rather than flair has got them this far but it’s a big ask for them to repeat last season’s survival heroics. This will be a tough campaign for the Lancastrians.
The Seagulls’ owners are banking on a change of manager over the summer to turn around the club’s fortunes. Under Chris Hughton, Brighton came within a whisker of the drop but their fans will be hoping Graham Potter’s brand of attractive soccer will be both more pleasing on the eye and more productive.
Brighton have appointed Graham Potter as their new head coach.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) May 20, 2019
A tricky season awaits as the squad adjusts to a new, very different style of play and much will depend on how quickly they can adapt to this way of playing. A difficult campaign awaits that could go to the wire.
To try and second guess what’s going to happen on Tyneside is virtually impossible, with the supporters locked in a standoff with owner Mike Ashley. The recent appointment of Steve Bruce as manager has not been well received by the fans and even some new signings have not appeased the Toon Army.
A poor start for Newcastle could spell disaster for the Magpies and the off-field problems could very quickly translate to poor performances on the pitch. Good luck Steve Bruce!
Typically the side promoted through the Championship Playoffs are expected to struggle, but Villa have spent big, to the tune of £115 million, with manager Dean Smith totally restructuring his squad. He will need to embed the new players quickly for his team to have a chance but they have quality in their roster.
1 – Aston Villa are the first side since West Ham in 2004 (runners up) and 2005 (winners) to win a playoff final in the second tier, after losing in the previous season. Vengeance. #EFLPlayOffs #PlayOffFinal pic.twitter.com/NjUDtQHtxg
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 27, 2019
Villa’s ethos is the polar opposite of Norwich’s and it will be interesting to see if money or a structured plan will triumph. For all their talent, it will be a battle at the wrong end of the table for the Villans.
The Eagles have become Premier League regulars but are familiar with scrapping it out near the relegation zone. Manager Roy Hodgson has put together a talented, gritty squad but may have to do without star player Wilfred Saha who is wanted by both Arsenal and Everton.
If Saha departs it will leave big shoes to fill and much will depend on how Hodgson deals without his creativity. If he can do so successfully, the Eagles will survive again.