Friday, 6 March 2009

The Premier League relegation battle

While much of the attention in the English Premier League is focused on the race for the title, the relegation battle is proving just as exciting with up to ten teams still realistically involved. With just ten games left here is a run down of the teams involved and their chances of staying up:

Had a disappointing result at Stoke on Wednesday but I think it’s their home form that will be crucial to their survival hopes. Their run-in isn’t too bad either and with players like Johan Elmander and Matty Taylor I think they will have enough creativity to stay up. Hull The have been on a horror run of late but grabbed a vital three points away at Fulham on Wednesday which has put them five points clear of the drop zone. They made a fantastic start to the season and I think that will crucial as just three wins from their last ten games should be enough.

It still amazes me that such a talented squad, which held Manchester United for 120 minutes in the Carling Cup final last week, has under perform so badly in the league this season. Harry Redknapp has done a decent enough job to try and turn things around and although the team still looks unbalanced they should get enough points, especially at home, to secure safety.

A lot of money has been spent at the Stadium of Light in the two years they have been back in the Premier League. Roy Keane couldn’t get the best out of those players but new boss Ricky Sbragia has picked up a few decent results. In Kenwyne Jones and Djibril Cisse they have a strike force good enough to get the goals they need to stay up.

They have shown tremendous spirit this season to get where they are. They perhaps don’t have as much quality in the side as most teams around them but they make up for that in determination, organisation and playing to their strengths. After a tough trip to Everton their next four games are all against teams around them, it will be those fixtures that will make or break their season.

Another team with big name, big money players who have underperformed massively this season. It has been one crisis after another at St James’ Park this year and a quick check down the fixture list suggests another one could be on the horizon. Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Aston Villa are all to play the North-East side and unless performances improve, they could be in real trouble.

It is amazing to think that just over a year ago Portsmouth were on their way to Wembley and a top 10 Premier League finish. But things have changed so dramatically at the south coast club the best they can hope for this year is a safety. Tony Adams’ reign proved to be........

Read the rest of my guest blog over at Soccercity

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