With the Premier League soon to return from the international break, teams are preparing for the final stretch of the 2021/22 campaign and it is a perfect time to take a look at the relegation battle and how things are shaping up near the bottom of the table.
Thanks to fixture postponements for various reasons throughout the course of the season, the table paints an interesting picture but none more so than among the clubs situated at the bottom.
There is a swing of three games between some clubs fighting against relegation back to the Championship and that makes things tricky when trying to size up who could face the drop and who can keep their heads above water.
Premier League Relegation Battle: The Teams
Brighton & Hove Albion
While Brighton & Hove Albion have escaped much of the talk regarding relegation this season, rightfully so, their recent form paints a picture of a team that is struggling. Currently sitting in 13th and 11 points clear from the drop zone the danger of relegation is fairly slim.
That being said the south coast club has lost their last five games, which is a feat only matched by last place Norwich City. Among those games were losses to Newcastle United and Burnley who are both below Brighton in the league table and are also fighting against relegation.
With nine games left to play for the Seagulls there is still time for the club to turn it around, however it’s a challenging group of fixtures as they face off against Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Arsenal and West Ham across those games.
While it would take some turns in form for clubs further down the table it could be a little too close for comfort for Brighton come the end of the season.
Following a resurgence under new manager Eddie Howe, Newcastle United currently find themselves sitting in 14th place with nine games remaining and look to have distanced themselves from the scrap at the bottom of the table.
However, having lost their last two games, one against fellow relegation strugglers Everton, and some tough games to come against the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal, it’s possible that they could yet be dragged back into a relegation battle if they are not careful.
Following the takeover of the club by Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF), the club has strengthened the team significantly, bringing in the likes of Kieran Trippier, Chris Wood and Bruno Guimaraes.
Barring a catastrophic turn of events, it appears that Newcastle have done just enough to ensure their survival. However, they can’t take their foot off the pedal just yet as they could quite easily find themselves back in the thick of it again with a few poor results.
Premier League newcomers Brentford were flying high earlier in the season and looked to be well on their way to cementing themselves as a Premier League team for a second season. However, things have slowed down considerably as The Bees find themselves sitting in 15th place with eight games remaining. Fortunately for Brentford, of those eight games three are against teams that are currently below the club in the table and only two are against teams within the top six.
The club added Christian Eriksen during the January transfer window, who looks to have been a massive boost for the West London club. The Denmark international looks to be very much the player he was before collapsing on the pitch with a cardiac arrest during Euro 2020, helping the club to two wins in the three games that he has featured in.
Following a strong start to the season the West London club find themselves being dragged into a relegation battle late in the season. However, with some winnable games against other relegation candidates, Brentford should be able to book themselves another season in the top flight.
Leeds United surprised everyone last season with their 9th placed finish in the Premier League in a season where survival never really seemed like it was going to be a question. Unfortunately things haven’t gone quite so well this time around as the Yorkshire club find themselves in a relegation battle and boast the leakiest defence in the Premier League.
The club made the difficult decision to part ways with beloved manager Marcelo Bielsa with 12 games to spare of the campaign, appointing Red Bull Leipzig’s former manager, Jesse Marsch, as his successor. Since then the club look to have found some form and now find themselves in 16th place with eight games remaining. Five of those games are against opposition that lie within seven points of the club so there is a real chance to get more points on the board before the season is over.
Injuries have been a real problem for Leeds United as they have spent much of their campaign without last season’s top scorer Patrick Bamford, as well as key players Kalvin Phillips and Liam Cooper also spending significant time on the side-lines. Those players are now slowly returning to the side at the right time, giving the club hope that it can just about keep its head above water.
Frank Lampard’s Everton managed to put a stop to their dismal form with a much needed win against Newcastle, however they will be hoping to follow that up with more points after the international break. Finding themselves just outside the relegation zone in 17th with the joint highest number of games left to play with 11, the blue side of Merseyside will be hoping for a good run of form to ensure survival at the end of the season.
Unfortunately for Everton those 11 remaining games are arguably the toughest out of all teams in the relegation battle. With games against Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and West Ham still to play there is very little room for the Toffees to drop points elsewhere or they might find themselves in the drop zone.
The club did strengthen in January, bringing in Donny van de Beek and Dele Alli along with their new manager. Both players have featured heavily since their arrival and fans will be hoping for a big impact if Everton are to maintain their long-standing status as a top-flight club and avoid relegation.
Watford have managed to eke out points in recent games including a win over Southampton that leaves them sitting just within the drop zone in 18th. Bookended by Everton in 17th and Burnley in 19th who both have two games in hand, Watford face an uphill struggle to climb out of the relegation zone and could even face a challenge not to slide further down the table.
The appointment of Roy Hodgson as manager in January has given Watford a manager experienced in securing Premier League survival following his accomplishments previously managing Crystal Palace. Along with their new manager Watford added considerably to their squad adding seven players including centre-back Samir who has featured in 10 games since his arrival from Udinese.
In the nine remaining games of the Premier League season, Watford will unfortunately have to face off against Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea which leaves little room for the club top drop points elsewhere if they are to survive relegation. However, they also face off against Leeds United, Brentford, Everton and Burnley who are all also in danger of relegation so some points here could go a long way to ensuring Premier League status for next season.
Burnley’s six year stint in the Premier League could be coming to an end unless the Lancashire club are able to pull themselves out of the relegation zone before the end of the season. The club are currently sitting in second from bottom in 19th place, however they do also have 11 games to play, which is tied with Everton for the highest among teams facing relegation.
Fortunately for Burnley fans, those 11 games pose some reasonable fixtures as Manchester City are the only team they have left to play that find themselves in the top four. Fixtures against Everton, Norwich, Watford and Newcastle are all still left to play, which could see the Clarets to safety if they can grab some much-needed points from those fixtures.
Burnley also have a seasoned manager in Sean Dyche who guided the club to safety in the 2020/21 season, as well as an experienced squad that could see them book another season in the Premier League. With the most games to play and arguably the easiest list of fixtures left among relegation candidates, it’s very possible Dyche might just be able to guide the club away from the threat of Championship football by the end of the season.
Norwich City are currently propping up the Premier League table as they find themselves lying in 20th place having only managed 17 points in 29 games all season. With nine games to play, the Norfolk club are eight points away from safety at the time of writing and will need a lot of help from other teams in order to drag themselves out of the relegation zone.
Sporting the lowest goals scored in the league along with the second leakiest defence and it’s not looking too great for Norwich’s survival hopes. The remaining nine games aren’t too scary with clashes against Brighton, Newcastle and Burnley. However, for a team that has lost their last five games and managed only four wins all season, the challenge just might prove too much for the Canaries.
Norwich didn’t add any new players to their first-team squad in the January transfer window, instead hoping that newly appointed manager Dean Smith can turn around the fortunes and performances of the existing crop of players. Since his appointment on November 15th, 2021, the side have managed to grab nine points from a possible 54, which is a return that will need to be improved across the final nine games if they are to avoid relegation.
Premier League Relegation Battle: The Verdict
Looking at the remaining fixtures, even with the disparity in games remaining among relegation candidates, it’s difficult to imagine the table will change all too much between now and the conclusion of the season. Norwich are facing a real challenge to ensure survival and one that will likely prove too much come the end of the season.
Burnley have been here before and have a manager experienced in keeping the team in the Premier League on a budget. Out of all teams currently in the relegation zone, Burnley could be the most likely to drag themselves to survival as they boast the most games left to play and many of those games are fixtures that the club could realistically expect to get points.
With arguably the toughest run of games left to play, Everton could be in real trouble if they don’t start to pick up some points. The win against Newcastle before the international break was a great start but they will need to grab a few more wins against Watford, Burnley, Brentford and even Crystal Palace to come out of the relegation battle unscathed
Relegation Prediction: Norwich City, Watford, Everton