Football

Top five: Premier League relegation candidates

QPR & Southampton fighting battling to beat the drop. (©GettyImages)
QPR & Southampton fighting battling to beat the drop. (©GettyImages).

With the title all but decided and Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham all looking good to qualify for the Champions League, with only ten games left it's time to for fans to turn their attention to the scrap for survival in the Premier League.

QPR

Perhaps the side that people would have been most surprised to see in troubled waters at the start of the season, QPR got off to a shocking start under Mark Hughes.

Sparky was unable to meld a long list of new imports at the club into a formidable force, and so he quickly made way for Harry Redknapp to sit in the hotseat at Loftus Road.

Currently, the Hoops sit rock bottom of the league with only 20 points, but not all is bleak. Not only do they have arguably the most quality in the squad of most of the teams down in the danger zone as well as having a decent run in.

Not only do Queens Park Rangers have a possible five six-pointers on the cards before the season close, but they also have trips to teams who have very little to play for, including Fulham, Stoke and Liverpool on the last day of the season, who are unlikely to be battling for anything that matters.

Of course the great limitation of Redknapp's men remains the fact that none of their players have scored ten goals or more this season, and if they are to survive, this will have to change.

Prediction: 18th

Reading

Brian McDermott's men have endured torrid form of late, having lost their last three, and it is difficult to see the situation improving. Although they have shown themselves to be a hard working side with an eye for a come-back, the fact remains that Reading leak goals, and still have to play Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United.

Even more worrying is that star striker Adam le Fondre has not scored since January, and Pavel Pogrebnyak has been unable to continue the goalscoring form that he enjoyed at Fulham towards the end of last season. And so, barring a marvellous comeback, it seems unlikely that Reading will be able to claw their way out of this mess.

Prediction: 20th

Aston Villa

Another team who look to be in deep trouble is Aston Villa. With only five points and one win in their last six games, the Villains appear to have little hope, and their season has been a reflection of their inability to keep clean sheets.

Of course, Villa's squad is, in general, lacking in experience, but this is by no means an excuse. The old saying goes that if you are good enough, you are old enough, but unfortunately for Lambert, many of his players just do not seem good enough. However, the one thing that Aston Villa have that many other teams battling for survival do not, is a prolific striker, and that man is Christian Benteke. The powerful Belgian marksman has already netted 11 times this term, and his presence and heading ability has also proved to make chances for others.

It is very possible that for Villa it will all come down to the last day, against Wigan at the DW Stadium.

Prediction: 19th

Wigan

It seems like its getting to that time of year again, the frost is receding, spring is on its way and Wigan, having been in the bottom three for virtually the whole season, are beginning to pull away from the rest. This year, however, they are taking a little longer than usual. Martinez's men have only won one in their last six, were demolished last time out at home by Liverpool, and are only ahead of Aston Villa on goal difference.

The fact does remain though, that Martinez and his senior players have seen this situation countless times, and they posses, in Ivorian Arouna Kone, a genuine goal threat and chance creator. It seems that it is only a matter of time before Wigan pull themselves together and make a characteristic escape.

Prediction: 17th

Southampton

Currently sitting three points off the drop zone, Southampton are very much in danger of going straight back down to the second tier of English football.

The difference for Mauricio Pochettino's men, however, could be that, unlike their rivals in the league, they have three genuinely potent attacking players: Rickie Lambert, Jay Rodriguez and Gaston Ramirez.

Lambert has netted 12 times this term while Rodriguez and Ramirez have been instrumental in recent weeks with their creative build-up play, and it could weel be this trinity that rescues the Saints.

The fans at St. Mary's can also be reassured by the fact that they still have to play several teams who have very little to play for, and so their survival odds look good.

Prediction: 15th

Others who could be dragged into the scrap include Newcastle, Sunderland and Norwich.

Both north-eastern teams are uncomfortably close to the drop with 30 points, but one would assume that they have enough quality in their squads to pull away from the other strugglers.

Newcastle's French invasion seems to be doing the trick for Alan Pardew's men, and with Demba Ba having upped sticks and left for the capital, his Senegalese international teammate Papiss Cisse is free to play the lead striking role.

Their local neighbours at the Stadium of Light will be reliant on the form of star forward Steven Fletcher, as well as the in form Stephane Sessegnon, if they are to avoid becoming embroiled in the bottom three.

Meanwhile, Norwich, although appearing to lack quality in depth, are now eight points clear of Aston Villa in 18th, and barring a major collapse, are unlikely to falter so badly that they put themselves in serious danger.

 

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeFootball.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeFootball.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Topics:
Sunderland
Norwich City
Reading
Football
Southampton
Premier League
Newcastle United
Wigan Athletic
Aston Villa

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