While the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United battle it out at the top of the English Premier League standings, teams are fighting for survival at the bottom of the table.
With teams that were promoted to the top flight last season impressing this term, some big names are fighting to avoid the drop down to the Championship.
Fulham And Forest Pile Pressure On Rivals
Of the three teams that managed to secure promotion to the Premier League last season, two of them have raised eyebrows with their performances in the first half of the campaign. Bournemouth are +175 in the football betting at Betway to finish bottom of the table this season, with the Cherries the side that has struggled to make the step up back to the Premier League. Meanwhile, Fulham have impressed and find themselves competing for a top-six finish, while Forest’s form at the start of 2023 saw them pull away from the relegation zone and into mid-table in February.
Fulham have been one of the surprise packages in the first half of the season, with Marco Silva’s side surpassing all expectations on their return to the head table of the English game. With just five defeats from the first 23 league games of the season, not only will Fulham avoid the drop but they could find themselves in the mix for the European places come the end of the campaign.
As for Forest, they had a stuttering start to the season and at one stage it looked like manager Steve Cooper was on his way out of the City Ground. However, the hierarchy at Forest decided to stick with the Welsh tactician and it was a decision that has seemed to have paid off. Wins over Southampton, Leicester City and Leeds United, helped propel Forest up the table and they will be eager to keep picking up wins to ensure their survival. With Fulham and Forest impressing, there are other clubs who now find themselves set for a relegation dogfight over the coming months.
South Coast Duo In Hot Water
Both Bournemouth and Southampton find themselves battling to avoid the drop, with the two south coast sides making up the bottom two at the halfway stage of February. Bournemouth started the season with manager Scott Parker at the helm but after a poor run of results, which included a 9-0 defeat to Liverpool, his time with the Cherries came to an end. Parker’s replacement Gary O’Neil started positively in his bid to turn Bournemouth’s fortunes around as they went on a six-game unbeaten run in the Premier League. However, the Cherries were then to lose eight of their following nine games to sink back down into the bottom three.
Southampton have also had a turbulent season and have already seen two managers depart St Mary’s Stadium this term. Austrian coach Ralph Hasenhuttl saw his four-year tenure come to an end due to Saints’ poor form in the league. Hasenhuttl’s replacement Nathan Jones only lasted three months in the job and he too was given his marching orders by the club’s hierarchy. The Welshman had impressed in the Championship with Luton Town but did not seem to be the fit Southampton were hoping for in his step up to the top league. Confidence has been low in both the Southampton and Bournemouth camps and that will drastically need to change if they are to avoid playing Championship football next season.
Everton And Leeds In All Too Familiar Territory
After both sides avoided the drop last season, Everton and Leeds find themselves back in a relegation scrap. Everton’s home form saw them avoid the drop down to the Championship under manager Frank Lampard, who would have been hoping for better things this season. However, with the Toffees back down at the wrong end of the table and more pressure from supporters for a turnaround, the club decided to part ways with Lampard. The experienced Sean Dyche has since been brought in to give Everton a bit more steel about them and make the side a tougher team to beat. Securing a 1-0 win over Premier League frontrunners Arsenal was the perfect start for Dyche in his first game and the former Burnley manager will be eager to keep the side moving in the right direction to avoid another nervous end to the season.
Meanwhile, Leeds have not learned from last season’s ordeal as they narrowly avoided relegation on the final day of the campaign with a 2-1 win at Brentford. After parting company with manager Marcelo Bielsa, it was Jesse Marsch who was brought in with the mission of keeping Leeds up. The American managed that, just, but a poor first half of this season saw Marsch’s time at Elland Road come to an end. They are an exciting team to watch, but it’s Leeds’ volatile nature and their inability to keep things tight at the back that has seen them sucked into another relegation battle. Leeds spent big over the January transfer window, with the likes of Max Wöber, Georginio Rutter and Weston McKennie making the move to Elland Road. The Whites arguably have a stronger squad than they did last season but it will be up to Marsch’s successor to get Leeds back to winning ways.
Another big name in English football have also had their fair share of problems in the first half of the season, with West Ham United battling to climb up the standings. Five wins from their first 22 games is far below the standards the Hammers’ fans have come to expect and pressure has been mounting on manager David Moyes to turn things around. Wolverhampton Wanderers are also looking to overcome their struggles from the back end of 2022 and manager Julen Lopetegui has been tasked with getting the West Midlands outfit back up the table.
While it’s an intriguing contest for the Premier League title this season, there is plenty of interest in the battle at the bottom, as teams fight to avoid being the inevitable three to suffer the dreaded drop.