With Liverpool running away with the Premier League, the battle, of course, is for those other three spots in the UEFA Champions League. But we’re not going to talk about that right now…
No, instead we’re going to look at the bottom of the table and the battle for survival.
Entering this weekend, Aston Villa, Watford, and Norwich City are all in the relegation zone. But the interesting thing in everything is that with Liverpool’s dominance, the 5th through 17th spots in the Premier League table are all separated by a grand total of 10 points. And with us nearing the season’s halfway point, there’s a lot of football to be played, and the current relegation zone may not necessarily be them when the season concludes in May.
Now I’m not saying that Tottenham, currently fifth in the league on 29 points, 11 points ahead of the drop, will get relegated. Spurs are too good of a team and, for the most part, have seemingly turned things around under new manager Jose Mourinho. And I’m not saying Manchester United are bound for the drop, sitting seventh on 28 points, 11 points ahead. The same goes for Arsenal (11th, 24, 6).
But with how crazy football is, and with how tight the bottom of the table is, it’s hard not to envision a wild and wacky finish to the 2019-20 Premier League season.
Here are the teams currently in danger of the dreaded drop:
Norwich City (Current position: 20th, 12 points)
Norwich can score… it’s just its defense is much too leaky right now. If they buy defenders — better defenders — in the January window, it may be able to save itself. The same goes for…
Watford (19th, 13 points)
With only twos win in 19, it’s hard to envision Watford climbing out of the hole and avoiding relegation. It is also had, entering the last week, difficulty scoring goals, so… buh bye, Watford?
Aston Villa (18th, 18 points)
Villa’s win over Liverpool’s U23s in the League Cup may be what the doctor ordered. Aston Villa needed confidence in its attack, and it certainly got that with its five-goal performance, four of which coming in the first 45 minutes. Although I can see the real Liverpool putting a hurting on them, which could put them closer to the drop than they want. And even the Boxing Day win didn’t get them out of the zone. With a goal difference of -8, Aston Villa’s in trouble.
West Ham (17th, 19 points)
The Hammers nearly got a result that would have had their supporters breathing easier.
Bournemouth (16th, 20 points)
Lots of winnable games for the Cherries over the next few weeks may have Bournemouth looking at a better position in the table by the middle of January. Getting out on the front foot against Arsenal could be the start of something solid for Bournemouth.
Brighton Hove & Albion (15th, 20 points)
BHA is in that same spot: winnable games, massive six-pointers coming up. Letting Spurs off the hook, though, at Spurs, is going to be a tough pill to swallow.
Southampton (14th, 21 points)
Two wins over the last week have pushed the Saints out of the relegation zone to relative safety. If Southampton can tighten up in the back, or buy improvement pieces to strengthen the defending, it can stay where it is and avoid relegation.
Everton (13th, 22 points)
It’s hard to see what has happened to the Toffees, but with the managerial change this past week to a proven winner in Carlo Ancelotti, things should turn around for the Merseyside club. And we know it’s difficult for Everton to spend, so we’ll have to see if it makes any purchases in January.