The Battle for Survival

On our most recent podcast the panel, hosted by Harry Symeou, discussed the relegation battle in the EPL. Let’s take it as given that West Brom are down, the bookies (as it currently stands) believe that the table will stay as it is, which advocates that both Southampton and Stoke will join West Brom in the Championship next season.

In my opinion, Stoke will be relegated. Paul Lambert’s men haven’t won since his opening game in charge at home to Huddersfield on January 20th , and still have to go away to an in-form Liverpool at the end of this month. The Staffordshire based outfit became the first team to concede fifty goals in Europe’s top five leagues this campaign; stressing a defensive frailty in the side to say the least. Lambert has failed to instil any more defensive nuance and instead seems to be relying on Shaqiri, who for what it’s worth is the second best player outside the top six (after Mahrez) for me.

Southampton have enough combat and quality in their squad to stay up. We saw that on Sunday against Arsenal where they were unlucky to come away empty handed from the Emirates. I’m impressed at how they bounced back against West Ham and they seem to have got that fight in them. They’ve got to go to Manchester City on the last day of the season so they need to acquire as many points on the board as possible before then! With Chelsea focusing on the FA Cup, Southampton could get something this weekend in the early kick off, but they’ll be relying on someone to slip up…..

From the day the season started I’ve maintained Huddersfield will go down and nothing has made me more confident than the fact that Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson yesterday backed the Terriers to stay up. I’ve got a feeling they are going to miss the chance of taking all 3 points against Watford on Saturday. As well as having the second-worst goal difference in the league (-28), they haven’t won since beating West Brom back in late February. However, Paul Merson jokes aside, the foremost reason for tipping them for the drop is the unnerving away trips that lie ahead in their final three games.

Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal with two of those coming away from home. A squad consisting largely of Football League stalwarts and German imports, I just feel their lack of experience at this level will cost them. They simply don’t score enough and the fact that only two Huddersfield players scored more than four league goals last season should have been a sign of what was to come.

Words: @Alavi_SSN

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