Nineteen games in the Premier League season and it’s full-blown war at both ends of the standings. The bottom three clubs face the threat of relationship to the Championship, and the going is tense for them and the three clubs dangling dangerously above the drop zone.
In this article, we take a close look at the six teams caught in the struggle and how they fared in their most recent matches. With some harsh defeats and surprise match outcomes, the bookies are having trouble keeping up. Some of the more adventurous football fans have done while on the thriving scene of football betting, with plenty of ‘matched bets’ paying off well. Let’s take a look at how things are right now.
Here’s the situation at the bottom of the league after 19 plays.
Hanging on by the skin of their teeth
15th – QPR
Rangers have been giving Harry Redknapp a fair share of worry over the festive period, as his men failed to clinch a home victory against Crystal Palace, finishing the game with a draw that conferred a paltry one point to each team.
For Rangers, that single point helped them keep their necks above the relegation zone a little while longer, with 18 points to their name, however that won’t be enough to cheer up the fans.
The lack of quality play on the field, leading to plenty of missed opportunities, has dogged Rangers throughout the season. It was only in the late stages of their game against the Eagles that things started heating up, only to fizzle out in the next moment.
A header by Caulker in the 74th minute was deflected and another close shave, this time by Puncheon, was averted at the very last moment. Rangers might have thought that Palace would be easy prey after their manager was sacked, but the latter held back their offensive.
16th – West Brom
West Bromley are hanging precariously on the edge of the drop zone and their recent defeat against Stoke at the Brittania Stadium has put more pressure on the team to turn their fortunes around.
This was the seventh loss in nine games for the Baggies, who at 17 points are just one point away from relegation. Alan Irvine has been taking a lot of the flak for the team’s dismal performance; he is considered to be the manager most likely to follow in Neil Warnock’s footsteps next.
Irvine bemoaned the team’s bad luck after the game, noting that they had two goals deflected by Stoke goalie Asmir Begovic. With West Bromley desperately trying to garner points, Irvine has resorted to making multiple substitutions during games, but the real question is: how long until it’s time for him to leave the game?
17th – Hull
Hull suffered a huge upset at home at the hands of rivals Leicester, who scored a single goal that has given them to a rare victory. Hull manager Steve Bruce said the match against the Foxes was as important as last season’s FA Cup final for Hull, but the team kept missing chances throughout the game.
The crushing defeat certainly deflated any enthusiasm that was left from Hull’s Boxing Day win at Sunderland. On the field, the Tigers seemed unable to find the net, sending the ball slamming against the ball twice and finally conceding a goal to their rivals. In comments taken after the match, Steve Bruce described Hull’s showing as disappointing and lamented the team’s poor performance this season.
The bottom three
18th – Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace not only has the dubious honour of occupying the top rank of the bottom three teams making up the relegation zone, they are also managerless since Neil Warnock has been sacked. Taking the helm in the meantime is Keith Millen, who was unable to lift the team out of relegation and started his stint with a goalless draw against QPR.
Palace were denied any chance of scoring a goal till the very end, with the their best chance taking the form of a cross-shot orchestrated by Jason Puncheon which was palmed out by the Rangers goalie. Puncheon had previously hit the post in the first half.
19th – Burnley
In an unexpected turn of events, Burnley managed to hold Manchester City to a draw after suffering a two-goal lead during most of the game. City’s chance of closing the gap on Chelsea was rudely denied after Burnley got back in the game in the second period and managed to net to goals, pushing their rivals into the defensive.
George Bod scored the first goal for Burnley, sending a shot by Danny Ings straight into the net. Subsequently, Ashley Barnes netted a loose ball to earn his team the draw during a scramble in the penalty area.
20th – Leicester
Despite being at the very bottom of the league, the Foxes had a welcome break when they finally lifted the curse that had kept them from scoring a victory for 99 days. Leicester ended ts 13-game losing streak by clinching a 1-0 win against Hull.
Leicester snatched the lead thanks to Mahrez, who sent the ball flying in the bottom corner after cutting in a driving run from David Nugent. The Foxes spend the rest of the game warding off Hull and defending their lead; luck seemed to be on their side as their opponents got no further than managing to hit the post twice.
All six teams remain mired in the relegation battle and the odds aren’t looking good for any of them.
There are two main reasons why this is so: they can’t score goals and they can’t win games.
Turning around their fortunes and garnering the points they need to escape relegation will require a gargantuan effort, one that seems to be increasingly out of their capabilities as the season continues to unfold.