By Shawn Dennis
The one aspect about soccer leagues that you either agree or disagree with are relegations. Unlike most other professional sports leagues, soccer is unique with the fixture that if you manage to end the season placed in one of the three bottom spots, you’re being sent to the league below the one you’re in. If you’re a Sunderland fan, I apologize for this article in advance. At least you got a Netflix series out of your misfortunes…
In any case, the Premier League hasn’t been too harsh with its results and current table as of right now (aside from Arsenal). There’s still plenty of time for just about every team to finish amongst the top three or bottom three ranks. However, there are a few that I believe are inevitably going to be relegated this season.
Sheffield United, what happened? Last season, being the first in the Premier League since the 2006-2007 season, they came out with a bang. Finishing in ninth place with 54-points, and having victories over teams like Tottenham, Arsenal, and Chelsea in the process. John Egan winning the Captain spot over Oliver Norwood hasn’t made much of a difference for the squad it seems. Manager Chris Wilder has to be both nervous about losing his job and extremely disappointed with his teams current standing at the very bottom of the league without a win to their name over 16 games now. It’s impossible to predict what the table will look like when the season ends on the 23rd of May next year, but in all fairness, it doesn’t seem promising that Sheffield will be above that red line.
Next is manager Sam Allardyce’s Westbromwich Albion. If their fate comes down to goal differential then they can kiss the Premiership goodbye, as it’s currently -24 through 16 appearances. Defenders Semi Ajayi and Kieran Gibbs have held up to their expectations this season, but the offense has been lackluster. For instance, in their last match against Leeds United, they only managed to have one shot on target and although they put up a fight against Liverpool the match prior with Ajayi tying the game 1-1 after a beautiful header from a corner kick in the 82’ minute, defense won’t win you games if you can’t put a string of offense together. West Brom is 19th in the standings with 8 points and the competition that’s fighting to get out of the relegation zone, I believe, are just too good for West Brom to keep up.
This last team pains me to say because I’m a big fan of the manager and believe they have a ton of bright players, pun intended. Yes, Brighton I believe has the higher chance of falling to the 18th spot then Fulham do maintaining it. After 16 matches, manager Graham Potter has the Seagulls at 2-7-7, with wins over Aston Villa and Newcastle earlier this season. What brings me to this conclusion most about Brighton’s position is their defense. Forward Danny Welbeck has finally been granted more playing time, but is restricted due to his long history of injuries. Midfielder Adam Lallana has been a complete stud on the pitch, although his stats don’t prove it otherwise, his many seasons at Liverpool have provided him a “know all do all” ability. Lastly, a super exciting player in Tariq Lamptey has also given speed and spark at the right wing position, so why will they be relegated?
In Brighton’s case, I think Fulham have been able to play extremely well against the top teams as Scott Parker somehow knows what adjustments to make to give his team the best chance of winning. I just don’t feel the same way about Brighton when it comes to playing the top tier teams, aside from maybe Tottenham, who they’ve always played well against. That being said, if Fulham comes out with ties against those teams while Brighton can’t squeeze in the goal to make the difference, I don’t feel confident in the Seagulls chances.
There’s still a great deal of time left for clubs to prove me wrong, which in Brighton’s case with the promise they have both through their manager and young players, I hope they do.