Premier League – Who Is Going Down?

We take a closer look at the sides looking to avoid the drop from the Premier League this season

Steve, Senior Trader

Steve, Senior Trader

12 months ago

Crystal Palace

Position: 12th
Current Expected Points Position: 18th
Form: LDDDL
Next Three Games: Man City (H), Brighton (A), Arsenal (A)
Relegation Odds: 6/1

It had looked for most of the season that Crystal Palace would finish solidly in mid-table, consolidating an excellent 21/22 season under Patrick Vieira. However, Vieira’s side have struggled in 2023, scoring just 4 goals and failing to record a single win in 9 games. As a result, the Eagles find themselves very much in a relegation battle. While they have the easiest fixtures overall according to fixture difficult ratings, their next three fixtures look brutal and it’s hard to see them picking up any points. Palace’s fixtures do improve significantly after that, but away fixtures at Leeds and Southampton are not going to be easy with those sides fighting for their lives. The concern for Palace is that they have spent the season expecting to survive comfortably, and are now going to be thrust into a relegation dogfight. Can they adapt their mentality accordingly? If they don’t, they will be outfought by sides who have been in relegation mode for months. Palace do, at least, have points on the board, which might be enough for them to survive, particularly if a lower than average total is needed to stay up. However, they currently sit 18th on expected points and are in big trouble next season if they do not make quality additions to the squad.

Wolves

Position: 13th
Current Expected Points Position: 16th
Form: WLDLW
Next Three Games: Newcastle (A), Leeds (H), Nottm Forest (A)
Relegation Odds: 6/1

Wolves sit top of the relegation mini-league since they appointed Julen Lopetegui, gaining 17 points from 11 games since the Spaniard took over. While they have been a bit fortunate to have gained that many points based on xG, their expected points in that period are still better than five of their relegation rivals. A huge win over Spurs at the weekend was a big step towards survival, and Wolves probably only have to maintain their current form to be safe. Sitting 13th and with several sides worse than them both on short- and long-term metrics, the men from Molineux should have enough to survive this season, even with comparatively difficult fixtures. They have Leeds and Nottingham Forest back-to-back soon, and four points from those games would put them well on track for safety.

Nottingham Forest

Position: 14th
Current Expected Points Position: 19th
Form: WLDLD
Next Three Games: Tottenham (A), Newcastle (H), Wolves (H)
Relegation Odds: 15/8

Having scored just 3 goals away from home this season, it’s clear that Nottingham Forest will be relying on their home form to survive. Unfortunately for Steve Cooper’s side, their home fixtures do not look favourable, with Newcastle, Wolves, Man Utd, Brighton, Southampton and Arsenal to come at the City Ground. Injuries to key centre-halves have halted their momentum somewhat and Forest have the third worst fixtures according to fixture difficulty ratings. On the plus side, they are capable of scoring goals, particularly at home, and have a relatively decent amount of points on the board, for all they are only 4 points clear of the relegation zone. However, as one of the three worst sides in the league according to expected points and with unfavourable fixtures, Forest’s season is likely to go right down to the wire.

Leicester

Position: 15th
Current Expected Points Position: 14th
Form: WWLLL
Next Three Games: Chelsea (H), Brentford (A), Crystal Palace (A)
Relegation Odds: 6/1

With relatively good fixtures to come, Leicester will fancy their chances of survival. They had looked to be easing towards a mid-table finish when beating Villa and Spurs 4-2 and 4-1 back-to-back, but three defeats since have seen the Foxes very much dragged back into a relegation fight. A defeat away at Southampton on Saturday was something of a disaster, but the East Midlanders were unlucky there and were value for a victory. Clinical and free-scoring for most of the season, the concern for Leicester fans would be that the goals have dried up, failing to score in their last three games. Indeed, they have not had a shot on target in their last two games, a fairly remarkable statistic given they created 1.9xG worth of chances against Saints alone. James Maddison cited this display in response to criticism from a journalist, arguing that Leicester would “be absolutely fine” if they played like that in future games.

I believe that the England international is correct in his analysis, and it’d still be a surprise if Leicester were to finish in the bottom three, even allowing for their current precarious predicament.

West Ham

Position: 16th
Current Expected Points Position: 10th
Form: DDLWL
Next Three Games: Villa (H), Southampton (H), Newcastle (H)
Relegation Odds: 5/1

Top half on expected points, West Ham shouldn’t really be anywhere near a relegation battle, but find themselves just a point clear of the drop zone following a 4-0 thrashing at Brighton. With good fixtures to come and strong performance on the metrics, David Moyes’ side should have enough to get out of trouble, but with relatively few games left it’s possible that luck may not even out. The Hammers have three winnable home games up next and their position should look rather move positive following these fixtures, although the elephant in the room remains their European participation. West Ham should progress past AEK Larnaca into the quarter finals of the Europa Conference League, at which point the competition may become a distraction.

Leeds United

Position: 17th
Current Expected Points Position: 11th
Form: DLLWL
Next Three Games: Brighton (H), Wolves (A), Arsenal (A)
Relegation Odds: 8/5

Leeds are another side that shouldn’t be in a relegation battle based on their performances, but are currently only out of the relegation zone on goal difference. The big issue for Leeds is scoring, with the injury to top scorer Rodrigo leaving a huge gulf that as yet has not been filled. Patrick Bamford remains well below his best and second top scorer Crysencio Summerville hasn’t scored since November. Leeds themselves have scored just 3 times since Rodrigo’s injury, and that lack of goals could see them relegated. On the plus side, Rodrigo is making a better-than-expected recovery from injury and Leeds will hope he is back for big home fixtures against Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace. My hunch is that Leeds should have enough to stay up, but it’ll be tight.

Everton

Position: 18th
Current Expected Points Position: 17th
Form: LWLLD
Next Three Games: Brentford (H), Chelsea (A), Spurs (H)
Relegation Odds: 10/11

Doomed under Frank Lampard, the appointment of Sean Dyche has at least given Everton some hope. The Toffees are a mid-table side on actual points since Dyche was given the job and are actually as high as 7th on expected points. Their fixtures have not been great in that time, either, so that is quite the achievement. Everton’s remaining fixtures are amongst the worst in the league, but they are competitive now and are capable of grinding out results. A lack of goals remains a big issue, but if Everton can maintain their recent performance levels they have a fighting chance.

Southampton

Position: 19th
Current Expected Points Position: 15th
Form: LLWLW
Next Three Games: Man Utd (A), Brentford (H), Spurs (H)
Relegation Odds: 4/9

Southampton are back in the game having won two of two of their three games under Ruben Selles, but that doesn’t really tell the full story. Saints were losers on xG in all three games and only a wondergoal from James Ward-Prowse and profligacy from Leicester prevented those wins from being significantly worse results. Selles has at least got Saints keeping clean sheets, but the metrics suggest that is more due to luck than tactical brilliance and I expect Southampton to start conceding at a normal rate again soon. Their next five games are tough and Saints’ remaining fixtures are the hardest of any club in the league based on fixture difficulty ratings, so they are very much up against it. While Saints are not one of the worst three teams on metrics, there is probably not enough discrepancy in quality for them to overcome their fixture list, and it looks likely that they will be in the Championship next season.

Bournemouth

Position: 20th
Current Expected Points Position: 20th
Form: LDWLL
Next Three Games: Liverpool (H), Villa (A), Fulham (H)
Relegation Odds: 3/10

Following a 9-0 defeat away at Liverpool, Bournemouth looked certain to be relegated, but rallied under Gary O’Neil and were as high as 10th in the middle of October. Since then, the Cherries have only won twice and find themselves bottom of the table on both actual and expected points. Given this, it’s hard to see how Bournemouth stay up, but they do have the second best set of fixtures and have actually been playing fairly well recently. O’Neil’s side were seconds away from a point at Arsenal, have beaten Wolves and gained a deserved point against Newcastle. Ultimately, however, Bournemouth are fairly likely to end the season in the bottom three.

Predicted Bottom Three:

18: Nottingham Forest
19: Southampton
20: Bournemouth