It’s time for part three of our Premier League progress report. Let’s look at the teams dangling perilously close to the relegation zone:
My view is that the Black Cats’ escape from relegation last season was brought about more by luck than judgement, and Gus Poyet’s side haven’t exactly done anything to dissuade me from that opinion so far this term. Sunderland had a poor start to the season, failing to register a win until October, one of their most pathetic performances culminating in an 8-0 loss away at Southampton. Poyet’s team have done slightly better in the last couple of games – gaining four points from a trip to Selhurst Park and a visit from Everton – but make no mistake, they’re still very much in trouble.
Hull City started their second season in the Premier League fairly well, but if we’re being honest, things have really tailed off as we’ve moved into November. A loss at the hands of Burnley – the Clarets’ first win in the Premier League – saw the Tigers slide into 15th. With games against Spurs, Man Utd and Everton to look forward to in the next few weeks, the Tigers could be heading into Christmas in the drop-zone – not where anyone wants to be.
There was a strange sense of optimism around Villa Park in the first two months of the season as the Villains recorded two wins and a draw before beating Liverpool at Anfield; but it’s fair to say that the buoyancy generated during that period has now well and truly evaporated. The Paul Lambert and Roy Keane duo have presided over a total collapse and Villa now sit in 16th. They may be saved this season due to the lack of quality in their rivals; but things are not looking good for the West Midlands club.
After their escape act last season under Tony Pulis, Palace fans were looking forward to a season of progression under the Welshman this year, before a fallout between Pulis and Steve Parish resulted in the manager leaving the club. Neil Warnock came in, but hasn’t yet been able to wave a magic wand and restore the fortunes of the South London club. Sitting just outside the relegation zone, Palace’s safety is by no means guaranteed.
Nigel Pearson’s newly-promoted side have definitely struggled so far, and their position in 18th reflects that. A 5-3 win against Manchester United and a win at Stoke aside, Leicester have struggled considerably and now face the unenviable task of having to get points on the board quickly or become detached from the pack. Thankfully, the Foxes have the opportunity to climb the table considerably in their next two fixtures with two six-pointers against Sunderland and QPR. Lose those, and Leicester could end up in a hole they’d be unlikely to escape from.
Given the investment that’s taken place at Loftus Road over the last few years, it seems staggering that Rangers are struggling to stay out of the relegation zone. The reality is that it seems like Harry Redknapp has lost his touch, and should his side not improve considerably, it appears unlikely that Redknapp will be at Loftus Road next season. Some seriously unwise managerial decisions have not helped his cause this season, but the East End geezer needs to do something special over the next few months to convince fans that he is the man to keep the side up.
Despite the fact that Burnley beat Hull in their last game, they’re going down. Quite simply, they’re not good enough for the Premier League and everyone knows it.