Of the three clubs that were relegated from the Premier League last season, two were newly promoted teams (Cardiff City and Fulham). Joining them were Huddersfield Town who lasted just two seasons in the top flight. Winning promotion to the Premier League presents teams with a tough task to stay up. However, the three promoted teams this season can buck the trend and survive.
The ability is there
Norwich City and Sheffield United are joined by Aston Villa trying to avoid the drop, an immediate return to the Championship. After eight games of the new season, all three are in the bottom eight. Of the three only Norwich City are in the relegation zone but only a point from safety.
The trio has shown that they can stay up this season. Sheffield United have earned draws against Chelsea and Bournemouth and only narrowly lost to Liverpool. Aston Villa spent over £100m during the summer and once they learn to keep a lead look well capable of a mid-table finish. Norwich City could do with learning to defend better, but if they can beat Manchester City at home, there must be a fair few wins coming later in the year.
So many inconsistent teams
Going to the advantage of these newly promoted clubs is the sheer inconsistency of most of the Premier League teams. After eight games of the new season, only Liverpool and Arsenal had not lost at least a quarter of their matches. 11 of the 20 teams had lost at least three league games, and each of the current bottom six was beaten in half of their games.
Ninth placed Tottenham were only four points clear of the relegation zone. A few wins can see a team making huge strides up the table. A couple of losses has the exact opposite result. Just ask Everton who have slid down into the relegation zone.
Hornets in deep trouble
Another bonus for the three promoted sides is the form of Watford. They are the only side yet to win a Premier League game. The Hornets have only earned three points from eight games and are already four points from safety. That’s virtually five due to their -16-goal difference, half of which came in their disastrous trip to Manchester City.
Watford have failed to score in their last three league games, and it is no surprise that bookmakers are offering short odds of 20/23 on them being relegated this season. They have no wins in their last 12 Premier League games and seven of their last nine away games have ended in defeat. Already on their second manager of the season, it’s going to take a massive improvement in form for them to stay in the Premier League. But their next league game away to Tottenham sees them as 6/1 outsiders to win.
Southampton have been battling relegation for the past couple of seasons. Again, they have made an unspectacular start to the new season. At the time of writing this article, the Saints are only out of the relegation zone on goals scored.
Their last three league games have all been lost with nine goals conceded. With a tough fixture list in October and November, they could soon find themselves back in the bottom three. They concede too many goals and only once in eight league games have they managed to score more than once in a match. They could easily join Watford in finishing in the bottom three.
Poor away form
Newcastle United beat Manchester United, but they still lack consistency. They have scored just five goals in eight games, and their expensive (well, expensive for Newcastle) signings are yet to prove themselves as regular goal scorers in the Premier League. With only one away league win this season, Newcastle are another team who could finish below the three promoted sides.
Brighton and Hove Albion had a great win over an out-of-form Tottenham but are still an inconsistent side. Away form is poor, and they will need some more home wins to stay out of trouble. 14 out of the 20 sides have failed to win more than one away game this season.
Survival is possible
The Premier League is often described as the best in the world. Looking at the standard of most of its teams, that surely isn’t the case. There are too many inconsistent teams in the Premier League who struggle to score and concede too many goals.
Aston Villa, Sheffield United and Norwich City have plenty of work to do to stay up. They must win the most crucial games; if they can do that then they could well be in the Premier League next season.