Friday, April 22, 2016

The Bottom Three 2015/16

Well here we are again, nearing the end to another exciting season of Premier League football. With only a handful of games left, it’s all to play for as the season winds to a close. Leicester and Tottenham are battling for the Premier League title, Man City, Man United and West Ham are fighting over the fourth place spot and Liverpool have just a glimmer of hope of getting that Europa League place.

And there is just as much excitement at the bottom of the league (with a little less finesse I might add) as Norwich, Sunderland and Newcastle are all clambering to steer clear of the relegation places. In today’s blog post I am going to be talking about the current candidates for the drop and making a prediction over who I think will be joining Flabby Agbonlahor’s relegation party…

Now for those of you who read my blog religiously (that one guy) you’ll know I did a post like this last year where I looked at the clubs in the relegation fight and said who I thought would beat the drop and who wouldn't. Last year I didn’t leave it quite this late so there were more teams to talk about so I’ll push on with the four teams for this season and I’ll start with...
~ Side note: last season’s The Bottom Three Post ~

Newcastle have had their worst season since being relegated in 2009. With probably a better squad, ability wise, you’d probably think The Magpies have a chance of staying up...sadly though I have to say the club is worse run now than it was back then. And that is saying something…
In the 2008/09 season Newcastle managed to go through six managers (permanent and caretaker) and none of them for me was a worse appointment than Steve McClaren. I don’t quite know what was going through Ashley’s head when he brought in a manager who botched Derby County’s biggest chance at promotion and hasn’t made a contribution to English football since he got Middlesborough to the Europa League final in 2006…
You could have forgiven him if he actually got McClaren to buy experienced Premier League talent but no, instead Newcastle signed a load of random foreign players that no fucker has ever heard of (who the fuck is Florian Thauvin?!)
If Newcastle had have signed experienced players like Jonjo Shelvey at the beginning of the season (not that Swansea would have let him go at that point) I think this season could have been a little better for the toon. Not much better, still in a relegation scrap but they might have been 18th at this point of the season.
With Rafa, you’d kinda hope that the team in black and white can pull something out the bag but I’m gonna be realistic and say it’s gonna be a struggle.

Next I want to talk about Sunderland who are a team that I spoke about last year. A club that seemingly just look happy to stay up...making spur of the moment decisions just to get them out of a tight spot at that specific moment. Sacking managers every year once things get difficult is a constant theme and has worked for the Black Cats for years.
This time though it looks a correct decision has been made as they’ve brought in a Premier League managerial master in Sam Allardyce (I just heard a million West Ham fans groan.) He was the perfect man to keep them up and in my opinion in moving the Wearsiders forward.
He know’s how to get the best out of average players which is why he is so highly first. Sadly that’s where his talents stop as once he’s assembled a good squad he just can’t seem to get the best out of the actually good players. But that’s just something that I’ve noticed...
Now Allardyce does have one thing that the other strugglers don’t have and that is a goal scorer in Jermain Defoe who has netted 13 goals so far this season. And with the additions of Kone and Khazri, who were relatively unknown players, I must say the former Newcastle, Blackburn and West Ham manager has made some pretty shrewd looking acquisitions.

Norwich are the third team in trouble and this for me is due to one thing and one thing only, a poor squad. Don’t get me wrong they have some half decent players in Brady, Ruddy, Bamford and even at the age of 46 Wes Hoolahan could turn teams inside out but at the end of the day for every good player they have, there is another two who just aren’t good enough.
When you’re signing players like Graham Dorrans and Youssouf Mulumbu, two players who couldn’t even get in West Brom’s team come the end of their time there, it kind of puts into perspective what their squad is like.
I like Nathan Redmond at times. I’ve seen him on countless occasions this season turn a defender inside and out and either pinging a cross just out of reach of a striker or smash a shot off the outside of the post. It looks good and gets bums off seats...but without an end product it counts for very little.
Speaking of an end product moves me onto what Norwich have lacked so much this season, goals. I’ve said it in another post that I have no idea why Gary Hooper was loaned out to Wednesday and they kept Cameron Jerome. Sometimes I feel like I’m being punked because every time I see Jerome play he misses an open net and I wonder how he’s a professional footballer and I’m not...
I thought the signing of Steven Naismith would bring goals to a Canaries side which has desperately needed them but sadly the Scottish international has not been performing as he would’ve liked, only scoring 1 goal so far. And Mbokani doesn’t look much better although he did take his goal against Newcastle very well the other week.

The fourth team I wanna talk about I’m only gonna touch on briefly because I’ve already spoke about them a lot this season and it’s Crystal Palace (yes I know I missed out Villa, they’ll be coming up shortly.) A side who at one point were in 5th and now are currently 8 points from relegation…
Bad luck with injuries for me have dragged them to this, Bolasie and Puncheon being sorely missed when out. Although these as I said are 8 points from the drop I thought I’d include them because if Norwich, Sunderland and Newcastle win their games in hand over Palace then the Eagles could get sucked straight into the battle at the business end of the season.

For me the relegation battle is going to go down to the wire and will end as follows

18| Norwich
19| Newcastle
20| Aston Villa

Simply because of Allardyce and Defoe I think the Black Cats will be in the top flight again next season. If it were down to me though I’d relegate Sunderland, Norwich and Newcastle along with Villa. All these clubs need to rebuild otherwise they’re just going to find themselves struggling season after season until eventually they can’t stop themselves from slipping down to the Championship.

Now at the beginning of this post I said only four Premier League teams were in a relegation fight. I didn’t include Aston Villa for two reasons; 1) their fight is over as they have already been relegated and 2) that team was never a Premier League team to begin with.
Those players do not have the physical capabilities the technical abilities or the intelligence to play at the top level of the English Leagues (or any leagues for that matter.) It’s disgusting that these players have been getting paid millions of pounds to disrespect that shirt week in week out.
In the imortal words of Mike Bassett “there are (BEEP) thousands of (BEEP) kids out there who’d (BEEP) die to (BEEP) put that (BEEP) shirt on” a quote that couldn’t be more true for Aston Villa.
If I was Villa boss I’d throw the youth team out for the rest of the season. If you already know you’re down you might as well prepare for next season. Stop playing the players you’re clearly not going to keep like Ayew and see if there’s a hidden gem in the academy. What’s it going to hurt?

Anyways that’s my take on the relegation battle, I hope you all enjoyed my poorly spelt, grammatically incorrect musings. Just something to while away the hours until Saturday comes I suppose…

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Cheers for reading.

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