The 2015-16 Premiership season has thrown up many unexpected results along the way, not least at the top of the table where Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City have outperformed many people’s expectations. But what of those clubs which lay in the bottom half of the table? With so many teams having gained a similar level of points at this stage of the season, who will face the drop to the Championship in 2016-17?
Most pundits and football fans agree that this has been one of the worst seasons ever for the Birmingham-based club in recent decades. With the worst goal difference in the Premiership, Villa have only mustered three wins from their opening 26 games. Fans have decided to stage protests over the way the club is currently being run in a bid to see changes that might see them escape the drop. Although Aston Villa face some key home fixtures in their run-in which they will undoubtedly be targeting – notably Bournemouth in April and Newcastle in May – they also have tricky away ties at Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal to cope with.
One of the two big clubs in the north east to have struggled in the current season, Newcastle are likely to face relegation this year. One of the most important issues Newcastle have is their inability to score. As of the end of February only West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City have found the net fewer times. Although they are in a pitched battle with Sunderland at the bottom of the table, their near neighbours have scored more times and have a better goal difference. If Newcastle are to survive, then their home fixture at the derby game on 20th March will be crucial. Having said that, Newcastle’s problems look deeper rooted and they are the more likely club to end up in the bottom three.
The Canaries have turned in some excellent performances over the course of 2015-16, but they have not been able to convert as many of them into points as they would have liked. They have a terrible record with conceding and have allowed in no less than 50 goals over the course of their 26 outings so far. Norwich’s goal difference is worse than those clubs currently ahead of them in the table. In addition, Norwich must still face Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United as well as tough six-point fixtures with Newcastle and Sunderland, both clubs desperate to keep up. According to bookmakers like Ladbrokes or Bet365, Sunderland and Swansea also count among the most likely clubs to be relegated in Championship.
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