Following on from our Premier League Winners and Top 4 predictions, we move into the lower portions of the table as we analyse the teams vying for the title of “best of the rest” and look into the clubs expected to struggle.
Last season we saw the big spending, newly promoted Wolves put in a stellar performance in the top flight, surpassing even their own lofty expectations and claiming 7th place in the Premier League.
The other promoted clubs didn’t fare quite so well though. Fulham, despite shelling out £100m in the summer transfer window, were relegated as 19th place finishers and joined by a Cardiff side who actually exceeded expectations with their 18th place finish. Huddersfield were the final casualties after suffering a severe bout of second season syndrome, ending the campaign rock bottom of the table with a meagre 16 points.
Three more clubs enter the fray this season as Norwich, Sheffield United, and Aston Villa battle for top flight survival against some of the other struggling Premier League sides. Meanwhile, Wolves face a big challenge as they juggle Europa League commitments while trying to fend off the improving Leicester and Everton.
Click here for our entire 2019/20 Season Outright Predictions Schedule.
Premier League Winners without Big Six: Leicester City
It was a tumultuous and heartbreaking season for Leicester City last year, with the tragic death of their owner dominating memories of the season. Football pales into insignificance in such times, but the show must go on and by the end of the season Leicester fans had something to smile about again.
Brendan Rodgers took charge of The Foxes back in February following a run of 5 defeats in 6 games in the Premier League, and he brought about instant change at the King Power Stadium.
In fact, Leicester lost just 3 of their 11 league games after Rodgers’ appointment, winning 6 times and eventually finishing 9th in the table. It’s testament to the Rodgers’ managerial ability that, despite their failures earlier in the season, they still managed to finish just 5 points adrift of 7th place Wolves. Now, the former Liverpool boss has a full season at the helm of a talented squad.
James Maddison proved an excellent replacement for Riyad Mahrez last season and is only going to get better, while Youri Tielemans now has a full season of Premier League football under his belt. Ayoze Perez adds another dimension to their attack, and talisman Jamie Vardy is showing no signs of slowing down.
What about the competition?
Well, we’re expecting Wolves to fall off the pace a bit after last season’s success. Not only do they have Europa League football to contend with, but they have a small squad and have made no real headway in the transfer market so far. They were also very fortunate to avoid any significant injury problems last term, and they can’t rely on avoiding setbacks like that again.
That leaves Everton as Leicester’s main contenders for the 7th place finish. The Toffees definitely saw some marked improvement under Marco Silva last season, but our main concern is their hit-and-miss attacking force. Richarlison is undoubtedly an extremely talented player, but the young Brazilian is far too prone to extended goal droughts and that places a lot of pressure on Gylfi Sigurdsson’s shoulders. At odds of 4/1, we definitely fancy Leicester to pip them to the post.
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Premier League Relegation Predictions
Sheffield United to be Relegated
Sheffield United were the surprise of the season in the Championship last year as they romped to an automatic promotion finish and secured a return to the Premier League for the first time since 2006/07.
This was their second promotion in just 3 years after a 6 year spell in League One. Chris Wilder has done an absolutely fantastic job to get The Blades to this point, but it’s going to be a real uphill struggle for them to survive in the top flight.
Wilder has never managed a top flight club before, and he’s coming into the league with a squad that simply doesn’t look strong enough to compete at this level. He has a limited budget to work with and a lot of adapting to do, so we’re expecting a swift return to the Championship for Sheffield United.
Brighton to be Relegated
Huddersfield weren’t the only club to get hit by second season syndrome last year, but unlike The Terriers Brighton actually managed to survive. Still, they only did so by the skin of their teeth, finishing 2 points above 18th placed Cardiff and with just 36 points on the board when the final whistle was blown.
The Seagulls showed very little sign of improvement even with the looming threat of relegation, and now they have largely unproven manager Graham Potter at the helm. Potter was definitely impressive at Swansea, but this is a huge step up for the former Ostersund and Swansea boss.
The 44 year old doesn’t exactly have a lot to work with either. Summer signings Leandro Tossard and Matt Clarke don’t really address Brighton’s main issue – The absence of attacking threat. They scored just 35 league goals last season, and their over reliance on Glenn Murray could be a real problem. Murray scored 37% of their league goals last season, but the veteran forward turns 36 in September and relying so heavily on his goalscoring ability could prove costly. 2/1 looks an excellent price for them to face the drop.
Click here to find out who we think will struggle in the second tier next season with our Championship Relegation Predictions.
Newcastle to be Relegated
Newcastle may have finished in a fairly respectable 13th position last season, but they’re far from a club on the rise. In fact, considering what’s happened this summer it’s looking like a very worrying season for the Magpies.
Their survival last season can be attributed to a combination of Rafa Benitez’ managerial experience and the impressive performances of Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez. A few months down the line and Benitez has left the club for a Far East payday, Ayoze Perez has been sold to Leicester, and they inexplicably decided against making Rondon’s loan move permanent and have now seen the Venezuelan forward jet off to China to reunite with Benitez.
Perez and Rondon contributed 54% of their Premier League goals last season, and even that was only enough to return a meagre 42 goals in total for Newcastle. They have splashed the cash on Hoffenheim striker Joelinton, but the 22 year old forward only managed 7 goals in 26 Bundesliga appearances last season and has some very big boots to fill at St James’ Park.
It’s hard to argue that Steve Bruce is a step down from Rafa Benitez, and Newcastle have let 2 proven strikers leave the club and replaced them with a player who has scored just 22 league goals in the last 3 seasons, so they look great value for the drop this year.
Premier League 2019/20 Relegation Treble at 50/1
Obviously a lot can happen between now and next May, but all three of these sides look like they could face serious trouble this season. All things considered, backing Sheffield United, Brighton, and Newcastle to go down looks a fantastic price at 50/1 here.
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