The Relegation Battle – Part 1 of The Premier League Preview

The Premier League Preview

As the new Premier League season starts, we here at ManipalBlog begin a series of posts previewing the possibilities. The first of them is about teams involved (or as we believe, will be involved) in the relegation battle.

Aston Villa:

  • Norwich City’s Paul Lambert replaces Alex McLeish after the latter’s disastrous first season at Villa Park which saw them take just 2 points more than relegated Bolton Wanderers, finishing 16th.
  • Aston Villa, will be banking on the likes of Darren Bent, Gabriel Agbonlahor (injured ), Marc Albrighton, a very inconsistent Stephen Ireland and Richard Dunne.
  • Their problem last time was in the attacking third. Villa managed just 37 goals in 38 games last season, finishing last but one (19th) in the goals scored charts and that needs to improve.
  • Aston Villa has been relatively quiet on the transfer market this summer, signing only a handful of squad players.
  • Will they avoid relegation? Maybe.

Wigan Athletic:

  • Wigan’s incredible form from April saw them beat the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle United all of whom finished in the top 5 last season and helped their cause to stay in the PL for one more year.
  • Roberto Martinez will be encouraged by that form and his team will need to tighten up defensively to avoid relegation.
  • Star player Victor Moses is Chelsea bound and Wigan have done well to get Ryo Miyachi (on loan) and Arouna Kone as replacements. Hugo Rodallega, Diame and Chris Kirkland have also left the club.
  • Franco Di Santo was Wigan’s top scorer last season with 7 goals in all competitions and they need better return from one of their players at least.
  • Will they avoid relegation? No.

Queens Park Rangers:

  • QPR survived in the PL last season, just. That, despite them being active in the transfer market and making a no. of high profile signings and Mark Hughes is under high pressure to deliver.
  • QPR finished 17th, just 1 point above Bolton Wanderers. But since then it seems that QPR are very desperate not to repeat that.
  • Park Ji Sung, Fabio Da Silva (on loan), Junior Hoilett, Robert Green etc. have all been signed and this new QPR team looks promising.
  • QPR also got rid of their top scorer last season Heidar Helguson and their first choice GK Paddy Kenny among others.
  • Will they avoid relegation? Maybe.

West Ham United:

  • In their first season under Sam Allardyce, West Ham finished 3rd in the Championship and got promoted through play-offs thanks to a 2-1 win against Blackpool in the final.
  • After coming back to the PL with just a year absence, the London club would love to extend their stay in the top flight for more than an year.
  • The arrivals of Jussi Jaskelainen, Alou Diarra and Diame will be helpful for West Ham who already possesses the likes of the experienced Kevin Nolan, Carlton Cole etc.
  • Sam Allardyce is one of the most experienced managers in England and it is expected that he can get the best out of this West Ham squad but having said that, PL is a completely different prospect than the Championship.
  • Will they avoid relegation? No.

Reading:

  • Despite a very poor start to the season, Reading managed a stunning comeback to top the table with 88 points and in turn winning the Championship.
  • Just like any other team which is promoted, Reading has a completely different squad as compared to last year. So the togetherness of the squad is obviously affected.
  • The arrivals of Pavel Pogrebnyak and Danny Guthrie will boost the team but it will be interesting to see how Reading can cope and adjust to the PL.
  • Much is expected from Adam Le Fondre, Reading’s top scorer last season.
  • Will they avoid relegation? No.

Southampton:

  • Having just been promoted from the Football League, Southampton would have probably hoped to stay in the Championship. But not even the dearest of fans would have predicted what was about to come.
  • Southampton capped of a magnificent season after finishing 2nd in the Championship, a rare achievement for a promoted team.
  • And they achieved this in style, scoring 85 goals in the process, topping the goal scoring charts in the Championship.
  • After adding Nathaniel Clyne and Jay Rodriguez (for a club record transfer fee), Southampton are now a very promising team who already boast the likes of Jack Cork and Rickie Lambert (last season’s top scorer).
  • Will they avoid relegation? For sure.

Note: These teams are in the category based on their last season’s performances and their current season’s expectations. Anything achieved over relegation will likely be a successful season for the clubs respectively, although some might disagree.

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