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Best bet to finish bottom in the Premier League - In The Mixer

Updated on 9:52am GMT 1 February 2022
Best bet to finish bottom in the Premier League - In The Mixer

Before becoming a Sports Journalist for Free Super Tips, Aaron spent three years studying Sports Journalism at the University of Sunderland while taking in the Black Cats' 'glory years' under Martin O'Neill. Now back in Northern Ireland he turns niche stats into predictions for FST, while he's one of the few people on this island who is equally comfortable at Windsor Park and the Aviva.

In The Mixer is FST’s weekly column where we catch up with eight experts in football betting and get their opinions on the hot topic of the week.

Newcastle remain in the relegation zone, but their January spending has seen the bookies turn to other contenders. According to the latest odds, Norwich, Watford and Burnley are doomed for the drop. However, will any of those three be cut adrift?

With the fight to avoid last place arguably the most open market in this season’s Premier League relegation fight, our experts have had their say. See their best bets to finish bottom below.

Tough job for Hodgson?

Aaron Ashley

Sports journalist at Racing Post

I understand that people would much rather see points on the board than games in hand but I think the signing of Wout Weghorst from Wolfsburg, who will be well supported by Maxwel Cornet and Dwight McNeil, can help the Clarets put up a real fight for survival.

It is also interesting that 12 of Burnley’s remaining 20 fixtures will be played at Turf Moor and only two of their final seven away games come against teams currently in the top eight – trips to West Ham and Tottenham.

Newcastle’s riches could inspire them to safety, making it a potential match between Norwich and Watford.

The Canaries are showing some signs of a revival under Dean Smith, so at the prices it is the Hornets, even accounting for the arrival of Roy Hodgson, who look like they are value for bottom spot.

Watford have collected just one point from nine games, are without a league clean sheet all season and still have to go away to Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United.

Bobbie Jackson

Sports journalist at ICS

Realistically it looks like three from four to go down this season with Burnley, Watford, Newcastle and Norwich the potential candidates.

Newcastle’s January spending should see them pick up enough points in the final 17 games to pull clear of the drop zone, leaving Norwich, Burnley and Watford in the bottom three.

I’ve seen enough improvement from the Canaries under Dean Smith to suggest they can stay off the foot of the table and Sean Dyche won’t let his side go without a fight.

Watford, however, look lost and even with the steady hand of Roy Hodgson at the helm, I can only see them slipping further away and ultimately finishing bottom of the standings.

The Hornets’ leaky defence is a major concern, failing to keep a clean sheet all season, and at the prices available, I’d be getting on them ahead of Saturday’s trip to Burnley.

James Milton

Sports journalist at Racing Post

The fixture list is highly significant in this heat given that bottom club Burnley have four games in hand on wooden-spoon favourites Norwich and 12 of the Clarets’ last 20 matches are at home.

Norwich remain the obvious favourites despite beating woefully out-of-form Everton and Watford in their last two games and their tally of 13 goals in 22 games is a huge concern.

At the prices, though, I would rather back Watford to finish 20th. Roy Hodgson knows how to set up a team defensively but making this Hornets side harder to beat looks a tough assignment for the veteran gaffer and they still have to play the top five in the Premier League away from home.

Calling time on the Clarets

Chris Rivers

Sports journalist at Racing Post

Newcastle and Watford should improve sufficiently with the changes they are making to avoid the ignominy of collecting the wooden spoon, making this a two-horse race between Norwich and Burnley. 

Norwich’s absence of quality is a massive obstacle for boss Dean Smith to overcome and the lack of even a hint of them trying to improve their squad this month makes them worthy favourites to finish bottom of the pile.

The value in the market lies with the Clarets at 3/1 though as they pin their hopes on January recruit Wout Weghorst taking to the Premier League with no settling in period and firing them to safety. They might have games in hand, the majority of which will be at Turf Moor but have forgotten how to grind out wins, particularly at home where they’ve won twice in the last year.

Aaron Rogan

Sports journalist at FST

It’s not that imaginative to pick the current bottom side, but at around 3/1 Burnley look to be good value to end up bottom of the pile. While they have the chance to move off the bottom in their games in hand, evidence so far doesn’t point to them finishing strongly.

The Clarets have won only once in 18 games this term, including just one victory in seven home matches. Their record at Turf Moor is a worry, because they’ve already played four of the seven sides directly above them. The other three – Everton, Newcastle and Watford – look stronger after managerial changes and signings.

Turf Moor has been a big factor in keeping the Clarets up, so the scarcity of home wins for them is a massive concern. Burnley have a similar feel to Sheffield United last term, a side with a highly-rated manager but a squad which just can’t compete at this level. 

Alex Wrigley

Sports editor and journalist at FST

They may have four games in hand on 11/8 favourites Norwich but I cannot see Burnley making up the difference, especially after Chris Wood’s transfer. They may have received a blockbuster price for the 30-year-old but he has been key to The Clarets remaining in the top flight over the last few years and his departure puts an awful lot of pressure on Maxwel Cornet’s shoulders.

Burnley’s second-highest scorer this season is now Ben Mee with two goals and they have scored just 16 overall, winning once in 18 top-flight attempts. They would have to average a point per game from their games in hand just to drag themselves off the bottom and, with a current average of 0.66 points per game, 3/1 looks a solid price for them to remain at the foot of the ladder.

Ian Wilkerson

Sports journalist at Racing Post

People always point to the advantage of having games in hand, but the key to their value is the ability to win them, so there have to be questions regarding Burnley’s chances of getting off the bottom.

Let’s not forget that the Clarets have won just once this season and a period of congested fixture, married to a shallow squad, could be a disaster for Sean Dyche’s side and they have to be the value pick.

There have been signs of life at Norwich with their victories over Everton and Watford, and the Hornets have at least tried to do something by replacing Claudio Ranieri with Roy Hodgson, which looks a shrewd move.

Two of the three losses Newcastle have suffered in their last eight games have come against Liverpool and Manchester City, so there are small positives for Burnley’s three main relegation rivals to cling onto, and that’s bad news for the Turf Moor outfit.

Rob Eddy

Sports journalist at ICS

It is easy for me to see Norwich City failing to pick up much more this season, given their goal struggles, and therefore they are understandable favourites to prop up the rest despite their recent upturn.

A lot has been made of Newcastle’s financial clout, but Eddie Howe has at least strengthened most departments which should help.

Watford have proven they can be terrible but that they can score goals, which again offers hope with a new manager brought in to tighten things up.

Burnley’s hope seems pinned on picking up points with their games in hand but they don’t score goals, not helped by Chris Wood’s defection to a rival, have a paper-thin squad and have struggled with congested fixture lists in the past. They look the value in a battle with the Canaries.

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