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Friday, 25 March 2011

Who is getting relegated from the Premier League?

I love this time of the season, because it is the perfect time to try and figure out who is going down from the Premier League. It also allows those with ante-post punts to perhaps back a couple of different horses, or to protect those they have already backed for the dreaded drop.

You will also see many newspaper columns being filled in with predictions as to how the both ends of the table will shape up. I decided to do the same as I really enjoyed reading such columns.

I will begin with the bottom of the table and then focus on the top end next week. Predictions are based on what I THINK will happen and I will be start with bottom placed Wigan and work my way up the table. The points underlined are what the team is currently on, and the italics at the bottom is what I feel they will end up with:

Wigan Athletic, 30 Points
Tottenham (H)- fancy Wigan may grab a draw against a team that could be more interested in the game at Real Madrid than one in the North West of England, 1 Point

Chelsea (A)- lost here 9-1 last season, Chelsea playing a lot better now than 3 months ago... The only thing Wigan can hold onto is the fact this game comes between the big Champions League QF tie Chelsea have with Manchester United so maybe they can... No, 0 Points

Blackpool (A)- this is a big game for both teams, and I can see the term 'relegation six pointer' being used all through the week leading to this game. Blackpool have not been playing that well, and both play attractive football. Could end up sharing the points that helps nobody, 1 Point

Sunderland (A)- the Black Cats are pretty much safe already and have recently come off the rails a little. Wigan may just feel they can pull an upset here and pick up the full complement of points, I just think they may have to settle for 1 Point

Everton (H)- Everton really will have the Summer holidays to look forward to by this time and Wigan may just catch them at the right time. While David Moyes will expect his side to finish as high as possible, I feel Wigan may nick the 3 Points

Aston Villa (A)- Villa are struggling no ends and this is another one of those 'six pointers'. Houllier is not the man the fans want in charge and everything could be pear-shaped by this point at Villa Park... Wigan won here last season in a surprise, it may be less of one if they pick up 1 Point

West Ham (H)- West Ham should still be in the mixer at this point, but they are playing much better at the moment. I feel their quality will show up here and Wigan will be left hoping for something special on the last day at Stoke, 0 Points

Stoke City (A)- Stoke City could have taken part in a FA Cup Final by this point and will be safe for another season. They are still tough to beat at the Brittania, so I fancy Wigan can get 1 Point and not quite enough for all 3.

Wigan 38 Points

Birmingham City, 31 Points
Bolton (H)- Bolton beat Birmingham in the FA Cup here with a last minute goal, but I think the international break would have done the home team the world of good and they can nick 1 point

Blackburn (A)- there are so many teams at the bottom of the League that are in danger that all of these 'six pointers' are around. Blackburn have been in horrible form, so much so that Rafa Benitez is favourite to take the Manager's job from Steve Kean. However, that hasn't happened yet and right now I would think the sides share the points, 1 Point

Sunderland (H)- as mentioned, Sunderland have been in a really bad run of form, and I think the players may just be looking at the Summer holidays. That will be enough to give the home team 3 Points

Chelsea (A)- cant see beyond the home win, 0 Points

Liverpool (A)- Kenny Dalglish expects his side to finish as high up the table as possible and still have real intentions of catching Tottenham in 5th for the Europa League place, 0 Points

Wolves (H)- a local derby will see a cracking atmosphere at St Andrews. Wolves look like a really solid team at the moment and will do enough to share the points, 1 Point

Newcastle (A)- Birmingham's strength is relying on a strong defence and I imagine they can pose plenty of difficulties for a Newcastle team struggling for goals. They could possibly get all the points, but may settle for 1 Point

Fulham (H)- the Cottagers could be safe by this point, and Alex McCleish will fire up his troops for one big effort here, 3 Points

Tottenham (A)- I just feel Spurs' fate will be sealed by this point, and they might not be at the top of their game. Expect Birmingham to make life difficult and snare 1 Point

Birmingham 42 Points

Wolves, 32 Points
Newcastle (A)- Wolves have been in solid enough form, and as long as the international break has not taken away too much momentum, they can pick up 1 Point

Everton (H)- the Goodison Park club are the kind of team that will cause Wolves problems as they are physically capable of standing up to the home teams pressure, and I think Wolves may struggle to get more than 0 Points

Fulham (H)- Fulham do not have the best record away from home, and Wolves will feel they can pick up a vital 3 points here. It could be tight, but I would agree with them, 3 Points

Stoke (A)- the home team may just be looking to secure their own status in the top flight and could be boosted by a potential Cup Final to look forward to by this point, 0 Points

Birmingham (A)- 1 Point, see Birmingham

West Brom (H)- another local derby a week after Birmingham. It should be tough, but I feel Wolves show too much here and get the big win, 3 Points

Sunderland (A)- with 2 games left, I fancy Sunderland will not be focused here, not like Wolves, and the away side get another big 3 Points

Blackburn (H)- the way things are going for Blackburn, this might be irrelevant to their future at this point and relegation may already be a reality. Expect Wolves to send their fans off happy, 3 Points

Wolves 46 Points

West Ham United, 32 Points
Manchester United (H)- United do not have the best away record, West Ham are playing a lot better now than earlier in the season. United also have defensive problems that could be a little clearer by April 2nd, but both will get 1 Point

Bolton (A)- maybe some of the Bolton players will be looking forward to the Cup Semi Final a week later and so do not want to risk injury. That gives West Ham enough to grab 1 Point

Aston Villa (H)- Villa can take advantage of some of West Ham's vulnerabilities in defence, but the Hammers will also fancy their chances against a Villa team that is imploding. West Ham to grab 3 Points in a high scoring game

Chelsea (A)- Chelsea may lose focus with a potential Champions League Semi Final in midweek, but they still have designs on the Premier League title, 0 Points

Manchester City (A)- City also will have a great deal to play for at this point with the top 4 in mind, 0 Points

Blackburn (H)- after a couple of games without points, West Ham will rise to the pressure and secure a big win over a struggling rival, 3 Points

Wigan (A)- 1 Point, see Wigan

Sunderland (H)- after Sunderland allow Wolves to grab a win at the Stadium of Light, the players have all but taken their holidays and fall to another defeat, 3 Points

West Ham 44 Points

West Brom, 33 Points
Liverpool (H)- three weeks ago I would have fancied Roy Hodgson's men to get something from this game, but think they will struggle to deal with Luiz Suarez and Andy Carroll and get nothing in a close game, 0 Points

Sunderland (A)- expect Hodgson to get his side to try and make it difficult for Sunderland, but a lack of clean sheets hurts West Brom and they only get 1 Point

Chelsea (H)- the Baggies will be hoping the 2nd leg of Chelsea's Champions League Quarter Final has sapped their energies, but might not be enough, 0 Points

Tottenham (A)- the lack of clean sheets again hurt West Brom, 0 Points

Aston Villa (H)- Villa definitely have the better players on paper, but West Brom are working more as a team. Could be another high scoring game with the points shared, 1 Point

Wolves (A)- 0 Points, see Wolves

Everton (H)- Everton will have nothing to play for here, and the Baggies motivation gets them fired up enough to grab a vital 3 Points

Newcastle (A)- West Brom will need a win here to have any chance of staying up. They give it their all, but its not enough, 1 Point

West Brom 39 Points

Blackpool, 33 Points
Fulham (A)- Blackpool play their normal method of attacking at all costs, but their defence lets them down and they fail to get the 3 points, 1 Point

Arsenal (H)- Ian Holloway's side are tailor-made for Arsenal and an entertaining game finished with praise, not points, for the home team, 0 Points

Wigan (H)- 1 Point, see Wigan

Newcastle (H)- Blackpool give up the usual chances, but the toothless Magpies cannot take full advantage while Charlie Adam inspires the Seasiders to 3 Points

Stoke (H)- Stoke should be safe by now, but their physical game causes problems. Some could perhaps be looking to avoid injuries for the Cup Final, Blackpool do enough to take advantage, 3 Points

Tottenham (A)- Blackpool were fortunate to meet Spurs on an off day when winning 3-1 at Bloomfield Road, not again, 0 Points

Bolton (H)- Bolton will be safe, but this is still a North West Derby. Both teams to share the spoils, 1 Point

Manchester United (A)- United might still need the points to win the title, should be too good, 0 Points

Blackpool 42 Points

Aston Villa, 33 Points
Everton (A)- Everton are playing much better at the moment although will miss Mikel Arteta and Louis Saha. Villa do enough to grab 1 Point

Newcastle (H)- Villa will be hoping for the support of the home crowd here, and can get a big 3 Points

West Ham (A)- 0 Points, see West Ham

Stoke (H)- Stoke will have just played an FA Cup Semi Final the week before, so this is the perfect time for Villa to get them at home, 3 Points

West Brom (A)- 1 Point, see West Brom

Wigan (H)- 1 Point, see Wigan

Arsenal (A)- the Gunners should still be in contention for the title, nothing here for Villa, 0 Points

Liverpool (H)- the Reds could be in line to steal a top 5 finish here, while Houllier's love for his former club could see the fans getting upset with him again. Villa may already be safe by now, 0 Points

Aston Villa 42 Points

Blackburn Rovers, 33 Points
Arsenal (A)- Arsenal should be ready to go with the return of Cesc Fabregas, and Blackburn are in a bad state at the moment, 0 Points

Birmingham (H)- 1 Point, see Birmingham

Everton (A)- Blackburn have been having a hard time away from home anyway, Everton still have David Moyes inspiring them to a close win, 0 Points

Manchester City (H)- City will have come off the FA Cup Semi Final with United, and that might give Blackburn a chance to pick up 1 Point

Bolton (H)- this is a North West rivalry and you can expect the Bolton fans to fire their team up to leave Blackburn in deep trouble. However, the home side should do enough to grab 1 Point

West Ham (A)- 0 Points, see West Ham

Manchester United (H)- United will still be fighting for the Premier League title, and I think they can find a way to win this game, 0 Points

Wolves (A)- 0 Points, see Wolves

Blackburn Rovers 36 Points

I think Fulham and above will be safe from relegation, and the three relegated teams will be Blackburn Rovers, West Brom and Wigan .

A lot of things can change, for example the sacking of Steve Kean at Blackburn (if it happens) may allow for a honeymoon period that keeps Blackburn up. However, at this moment I dont like their chances.

Wigan are plenty short to go down at the bookmakers, but West Brom at 2.88 must be worth 2 Units.

Even more appealing is the current 3.2 on offer for Blackburn to go down and I will have 2 Units on that too.

It might also be prudent to pick Blackburn to finish bottom of the pile at prices of 11.0- they have a tough set of fixtures and do not look like they are going anywhere at the moment. The only issue I have with the Blackburn pick is that they will sack Steve Kean and receive a boost from a new manager, as can happen.

West Brom to go down @ 2.88 (2 Units)
Blackburn to go down @ 3.2 (2 Units)
Blackburn to finish bottom @ 11.0 (1 Unit)

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