Busy Holiday Fixture Schedule is Crucial in Premier League Relegation Battle

As in most seasons, the top of the Premier League is full of the usual suspects fighting it out for the title and subsequent Champions League spots. Defending champions Manchester City and Liverpool have begun to separate themselves in the title race. London rivals Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea seemed destined to battle for the final two spots in the top four all season. However, the bottom of the table is cluttered with multiple teams in a fight to stave off relegation. The holiday fixture schedule is about to get heated up. The results of the next month could go a long way in determining who can pull away from the bottom and who is stuck in a relegation battle all season.

There are currently seven teams within five points of one another at the bottom of the table. They are only two games into the seven league fixtures scheduled from the beginning of December until January 3rd. With that many games in such a short amount of time, the points accumulated or lost in the next three weeks could determine who stays up and who goes down in May. Seven teams in such close quarters near the bottom means this could be a relegation battle with multiple twists and turns.

Busy Holiday Fixture Schedule is Crucial in Premier League Relegation Battle

Relegation Battle

Three to Stay

Newcastle

After a horrid start saw Newcastle winless through October, they have begun to turn it around. Sitting bottom of the table on three points, the Magpies won three straight matches in November. Goals have been Newcastle’s biggest issue. They have yet to score more than two goals in a match and have been held goalless in six of sixteen games. Salomon Rondon leads the squad with three goals in 11 appearances. The November win streak has pushed them away from the bottom three as they now sit in 15th with 13 points.

Burnley

After a banner year a season ago, Sean Dyche’s squad has struggled mightily to begin this campaign. They finished in a Europa League spot last season but the weight of those extra fixtures have hurt them in the first few months. Burnley already have ten losses through 16 games after only tasting defeat 12 times during their seventh-place finish a season ago. A leaky defence is the reason they are currently in the relegation battle. They have allowed 32 goals in 16 matches so far. Burnley were excellent defensively a season ago and should shore that up. If they can regain their stingy nature at the back, they should survive.

Crystal Palace

There are very few reasons on the pitch to think Crystal Palace can survive another relegation battle. The fact that they have managed to escape the bottom three each of the last few years is the only reason to believe they can do so again. The ineptitude of those below them also helps their cause. Palace need someone other than Wilfried Zaha and Luka Milivojevic to offer something in front of goal. Strikers Christian Benteke and Jordan Ayew have combined for one assist and no goals this season. That is simply not good enough.

Maybe, Maybe Not

Cardiff City

The Welsh club has won three of their last five matches to move into 14th place on 14 points. Their most recent result saw them sneak past fellow strugglers, Southampton, 1-0 to jump four points clear of the drop zone. Their four wins are the most of any of the teams in this relegation battle. Cardiff City have only two draws this season and will need to find a way to turn a few losses in to draws in 2019 because each point will be crucial.

Southampton

After four consecutive top-eight finishes, selling off their best players each summer has finally caught up with Southampton. Last year, they finished just above the drop, but this year they may not be so lucky. They have just one win in 16 matches. They have managed six draws and are the only team in the bottom five with less than ten losses. If they can turn some of those draws to wins in the second half of the season, they may be able to hold on to their Premier League status for one more season.

Two to Fall

Huddersfield Town

After escaping the drop a season ago, Huddersfield find themselves right back in the midst of a relegation battle. The biggest issue for the Premier League’s smallest club is a lack of firepower. They were the lowest scoring team last season and remain in that position through 16 matches this year. Currently in 18th, they have scored just ten goals. If they cannot fix their goal scoring deficiencies in the January transfer window, they will likely be back in the Championship at season’s end.

Fulham

The west London club’s return to the top flight seems destined to be short lived. They spent big in the summer, bringing in names like Andre Schurrle, Luciano Vietto and Jean Michael Seri. Unfortunately, the willingness to spend does not always equal results. Aleksandar Mitrovic’s seven goals have been one of the few bright spots. Fulham have allowed 40 goals in 16 matches, eight more than any other club. Their opponents’ goal tally would rank second in the league, behind only high-scoring Manchester City. Unless major changes are made in the back-line, Craven Cottage will be hosting Championship fixtures this time next year.

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