Premier League's relegation candidates - how are they getting on?

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Although the final run-in of the Premier League season often provides the most drama and confirms league positions, for sides looking to be near the bottom of the table, the relegation battle has already begun.

Most pundits agree that the sides facing the battle against the drop will be the promoted three, Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich, as well as Leicester City, Sunderland and Aston Villa; and from the opening fixtures there are already a few signs of how the bottom of the table will pan out.

Opening weekend

In the opening weekend, four of the battling six actually drew matchups against each other. Leicester hosted Sunderland, and new manager Claudio Ranieri's home side embarrassed Dick Advocaat and the Black Cats, leading 3-0 at half time.


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Marc Albrighton added a fourth for the Foxes either side of Sunderland goals from Jermain Defoe and Steven Fletcher, but in the end the goals were little too late after Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez's goals had pretty much wrapped up the game in the first 45 minutes.

Leicester scored with ease and the visitor's defending was shambolic.

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Moving on

The second weekend saw an equally poor performance from Advocaat's men, who lost 3-1 to newly-promoted Norwich City, whilst Leicester impressed again to beat West Ham 2-1 away, against a similar Hammers squad that won 2-0 against Arsenal in the first week.

Returning to Norwich, they are a very similar side who faced relegation in 2014, but the same players helped them bounce straight back via the Championship play-offs.

One of the less busy clubs this summer, Alex Neil's five new addition include Robbie Brady for £7million from Hull and Yousuff Mulumbu on the free, despite him being currently injured. 

Norwich fortunes

Many Canaries fans, and certainly striker Cameron Jerome, will feel robbed of points from the opening fixture after his equaliser was controversially disallowed before their opponents, Crystal Palace, went on to score again in the 90th minute and win 3-1.

Norwich mostly dominated the first-half but squandered lots of chances throughout and let in "sloppy goals" their manager claimed. A promising performance and the following week's 3-1 victory was a much improved display, giving City hope for the rest of the season.


Watford, opposed to Norwich, have been very busy in the transfer window under new boss Quique Flores, signing 11 new players, six of whom featured in their opener. The Hornets took the lead in the first-half against Everton but lost out in the last 15 minutes, letting the lead slip twice.

Ross Barkley's stunning shot cancelled out the first goal from Miguel Layun and Odion Ighalo's 83rd minute strike was minutes later equalised by Arouna Kone, giving both teams a share of the spoils at Goodison Park.

Watford played quite well against the established top flight club but made mistakes in losing out of an opening day win. The squad, despite being massively overhauled, gelled well but missed that special something.

Bournemouth struggles

Finally, Aston Villa and Bournemouth met at the Vitality stadium for Dorset's first ever top flight match. Eddie Howe fielded a team that largely resembled last season's Championship winners, the only difference being new boy Joshua King, but he was replaced early in the second half by fan favourite Yann Kermorgant.

Although not the strongest squad available, the Cherries performed well in the second half, forcing several saves from Villa's Brad Guzan, but failing to find the back of the net.

Aston Villa on the other hand handed out lots of debuts to new signings, including new skipper Micah Richards, striker Jordan Ayew and midfielders Jordan Veretout and Idrissa Gueye. By far the best Villa player though was new left back Jordan Amavi, who closed down on Bournemouth's strikers well.

The Villains came out second half a changed side, controlling more of the ball but both sides failed to breakthrough.

The opening goal eventually came from the bench, as new Villa signing Rudy Gestede headed home from a corner, unsurprising when you here has had the most headed in goals (20) across all four tiers since 2013/14.

The rest of the game had little chances and Tim Sherwood's side held the ball and wasted time to see out their victory. A packed home crowd went away disappointed and with a new pantomime Villain in Gestede.

what it means

So, where will these six sides eventually finish?

In my opinion, Sunderland, Watford and Norwich will go down. Sunderland have lots of work to do and will not have many good games this season whilst for Norwich they seem to lack a consistency that they'll need to post points.

Watford meanwhile may defend well and have a reasonable attack but with a reputation for upheaval the Hornets will suffer under too much change.

Bournemouth could survive by the skin of their teeth. Once Howe has his strongest starting XI sorted their previous scoring could resume and they'll have a defence to match with new signings Sylvain Distin and Tyrone Mings. Many attributed their opening weekend lost chances to simply first night nerves.

Leicester now have a full Premier League season under the belt and have got off to a flying start they should survive comfortably, whilst Villa have enough quality players to stave off relegation but they'll need to get the most out of games they know they can win.

However, don't let the opening games decide who you bet on to go down entirely. Ipswich lost their opening three matches after promotion in the 2000/01 season but went on to finish in the top ten. It certainly will be an exciting and hard to predict season in "the best league in the world"

Football fans, who do you think is going to be relegated this year? Let us know in the comments box below.

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