Monday, March 9, 2015

The Bottom Three

I was hoping to write something about what’s happening in the world of football today, controversial decisions, quality goals, players who have caught my eye...sadly though football news has come to a grinding halt. There’s been a bit about Wenger and the FA Cup but I don’t really want to talk about that.

So instead I’d rather discuss current Premier League teams’ chances of survival. as there seems to be an abundance of teams battling to beat the drop about a third of the league within a shout of going down.

I’ll start with the team at the bottom of the table Leicester. I’d be gutted if these lads went down. After showing promise last season they found themselves in the top flight battling with the best of them. A highlight would be beating Manchester United 5-3 which at the time made me think they were all but safe...I’ve only just realised it was the 5th game of the season (very naive of me).
Sadly after that win they went on a run of thirteen games without a win and it has really shown with their current league standing. After only winning four games this season they have only eleven games remaining to claw their ways to safety. I personally think Pearson’s men could do it but he is definitely going to need a lot of luck to do it
I personally like Leicester. I think they don’t have the best manager in the league but he’s done brilliantly to get them to this level. Wes Morgan and Cambiasso are two that stand out for me as I’ve rated Morgan even from his Forest days and you can just see the experience in Cambiasso’s game every time he plays.
I thought Vardy was going to be the lad to really do something for the Foxes this season but seems to have gone off the boil a little, still a decent player and good enough to win games for Leicester. Nugent looked to be relied upon for goals for a little while...sadly I don’t think he’s got the quality that’s required (one of those players who just can’t seem to make that step up e.g. Ebanks-Blake, Jason Scotland, etc..).
Another lad I like though is Matty James, I watched him play for Man Utd’s u21’s and he was something special. Could cause opposition players problems, especially when paired with Cambiasso. Also Schwarzer was a good capture for Pearson, still Premier League quality at the tender age of 82.

Next is Burnley. This is another team that I would love to see stay up; haven’t got massive amount of quality in their side but they are making up for it with pure grit and determination. I’ve spoken very highly of these in the past and was desperate for them to get a result against Liverpool the other day (7/1 odds...was worth a tenner...f*cking Burnley).
Looking at their fixture list they didn’t taste victory until the 11th game of the season which isn’t great but the step up was going to take time...time is sadly not a commodity that you get in football currently. Sean Dyche is a good manager in my eyes, done a great job with Burnley and deserves so much recognition. He seems to be able to pull points from the lower teams (2-1 QPR, 1-0 Hull) as well as knock them off the big teams (1-1 Chelsea, 2-2 Man City) but sadly with only 4 wins this season it’s not looking good.
I personally rate Danny Ings and think he has the quality required to keep Burnley up. Ashley Barnes is a player I like because he seems scrappy to me, he’s the kind who can nick a winner for you. I’ve spoken before of Shackell and Keane but I think their problem lies within their centre midfield. Any Burnley fans feel free to correct me but I feel that the quality in the middle of the park is lacking compared to other teams.Dyche seems to be getting a good amount of work rate from them which is going to be the deciding factor on whether they stay up or not….come on Burnley you can do it.
~ Now if Dyche had got Darren Fletcher instead of West Brom it’d be a different story in my opinion ~

Now its time for QPR. Now QPR for me are a lost cause...I don’t understand how they can sign players like Charlie Austin, Rio Ferdinand, Kranjcar, Sandro, etc and still find themselves in the bottom three? I don’t really follow QPR, they aggravate me! They even had Redknapp as manager...Harry Redknapp!
I don’t know what to say to this one. Just a bad season all round for them lot, promising part where Austin was cracking them in (still is to be fair) but its just been a poor season for the Rangers. Last season I kept saying their team was just full of Premier League rejects but now they’re actually up there signing some pretty good genuinely doesn’t make sense.
I like Sandro, Karl Henry not so much. I can’t believe that Matt Phillips hasn’t been getting games, saw him a few times at Sheffield United (brave, can cross, pacey, good winger all-in-all). Me and a few lads from work were adamant that Caulker and Ferdinand were going to be prolific together but it looks to me like Richard Dunne has done just a good as either of them...that is a worry.
~ To be fair I really rate Dunne, underrated and has the intelligence to do a job at most Premier League teams. Shame his legs can’t keep up though ~

Next up is Aston Villa nil. Having scored the least amount of goals this season is what's dropped these lads into it. Having to snatch at scraps and the odd half chance has now plummeted them to 17th and just three points off relegation. I think most Villa supporters saw Lamberts sacking coming a mile off and now with Sherwood in charge can see a small light at the end of the tunnel.
Now for me if any other team were playing out this season I’d say they were a shoo in for relegation but I think Villa have too much about them to go down. I like to think Sherwood can bring consistency to Villa making them a good mid table team, possibly even taking them further i.e. the dreaded Europa League.
I used to think Villa didn’t have the creativity to stay up but now with Gabby Agbonlahor coming back in after a lengthy injury, they can stay up. Guzan, Vlaar, Clarke, Westwood, Delph, Benteke, Weimann...there’s too much quality in that side to go down in my opinion. It’d be like when Newcastle went down if Villa were relegated, a big club just down on its luck.

16th in the league is Sunderland who haven’t been able to find their feet the past few years in the Premier League, haven’t been able to get a run that takes them to mid-table safety. For me its due to the ins-and-outs of managers year after year. I hoped Martin O’Neill would bring them some stability but that was about as bad as the sh*t on Paolo Di Canio’s knee’s.
This for me is a team that sadly has a lot of Championship players on Premiership wages. If Sunderland were to go down with the team they have now they’d go straight back up but due to the wages that they have it’d be difficult to keep most of them. Too many draws seems to be the bane of this team seeing 14 draws already. That killer edge just seems to be eluding them at the moment.
Pantilimon has brought consistency between the sticks after a shaky season for Vito Mannone. I like captain O’Shea whereas I think Wes Brown is a little clumsy, its like they never got rid of Titus Bramble (bit of an over-exaggeration there). I liked Wickham on his loan with Wednesday, quality player and could be prolific for the right club...sadly Sunderland don’t seem to be that club. Lastly I’d like to mention Rodwell who was tipped to be amazing in his day and is now just desperate to prove himself, if anyone can lift Sunderland fans off their seats its him.

14th and 15th we see Everton and Hull. Two very different teams quality wise but very similar seasons. For me it seems the Europa League has really damaged their seasons. Hull I expected to drop a few places but Everton...I never expected a drop like this. To go from 5th to 14th is a run that should get a manager sacked, thankfully though Everton’s chairman has some sense and trusts, I’m sure as we all do, that Martinez can take them back up there.
Like I said earlier I thought Hull would take a drop and the way Bruce has handled it has been pretty impressive, he’s been pulling results out the bag and has built a good platform for himself for next season as I can’t see these lads going down. A good set of defenders playing a formation that is against the norm see’s Hull looking a little more comfortable than the teams below them.
Both teams have solid enough defenders, definitely good enough to keep them in this league. Everton for me have a midfield good enough for a Europa League finish next season but if Lukaku can find form they could get themselves challenging for a Champions League position (I said challenge, not succeed before anyone comments). Hull for me can easily cement a mid table place next season but if Bruce was to bring in some gems they could go further.
One thing I’m guessing is that neither will want Europa League again next season…

I don’t really want to go much further than that because I think West Brom, Palace, Newcastle and West Ham are all but safe for another season. Admittedly there are still 10 games left so anything could change in this time. But hey ho that was my opinion and for what it’s worth here is my prediction of the bottom three this season:

18|    Burnley
19|    QPR
20|    Leicester

I think it’ll go to the last game but that is my prediction. For the record this is what I think will happen not what I want to happen, I’ve spoken highly of a lot of teams in this but with current form and upcoming fixtures its just not looking good. If I had a choice I’d relegate Man Utd, Chelsea and Sheffield United (I don’t give a fuck what league they’re in).

~ Anyone who enjoyed this please follow me on Twitter @ThePenaltyKing1 or like me on Facebook at ~

Cheers for reading.

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