- The gap between first and second in the EPL is equal to the gap between seventh and last.
- Five teams have a very real shot of ending the year in the relegation zone.
- Can last-place West Brom possibly work their way out of the bottom three?
Manchester United’s surprise loss to Newcastle last weekend increased Man City’s lead over the league to a seemingly insurmountable 16 points. Pep Guardiola’s side now only need six more wins to guarantee the title. Their opponent in six games’ time is Man United, so the season could ultimately be decided by a Manchester Derby. That would be an interesting end to an otherwise dull title race.
There’s a lot more action at the other end of the table. The gap between first and second is equal to the gap between last and seventh, and there are five teams within three points of the relegation zone. We have eight clubs shaking in their boots at the moment. Who will be sent packing at the end of the season?
West Brom: 4/11
Let’s start at the very bottom. West Brom are three games deep into a losing streak and have only collected one win in their last 25 league games. They’re firmly at the bottom of the table and there’s little reason to be hopeful for a turnaround.
Following their 3-0 loss to Chelsea, West Brom have sacked their chairman and chief exec, but interestingly manager Alan Pardew still has his job. In Pardew’s defense, he hasn’t had much time to repair the damage left by Tony Pulis and is operating on a shoestring budget. Still, the controversial manager has only managed one win since taking over in late November.
Betting Advice: The outlook is grim for the Albion. They’re seven points below the dotted line and five points below their nearest competitor. Even with a late-season resurgence, it’s going to be extremely difficult for West Brom to stay in the Premier League. Pick them to finish within the bottom three.
Stoke City: 4/5
A missed penalty in the final minute of play denied Stoke the full three points against Brighton last weekend. A win would have taken them to the edge of the relegation zone, placing them alongside Huddersfield, Swansea, and Crystal Palace with 27 points. The disappointing draw has thrown them deeper into the relegation zone.
Stoke have the roster to remain in the Premier League, however. With players like Joe Allen, English national team keeper Jack Butland, and PSG recruit Jese in the squad, they definitely have the talent to claw their way out of the bottom three.
Betting Advice: They’re second from the bottom, but just one win away from escaping the relegation zone. Compared to other teams in turmoil at the moment, Stoke actually have a pretty good chance of survival.
After gaining promotion last season, Huddersfield went all out to rebuild their roster. Their squad is lined top to bottom with new recruits, including Montpellier’s Steve Mounie Monaco’s Terence Kongolo. It’s the best line-up the club has ever had, but it’s still pretty poor by Premier League standards. The team ended a five-game losing streak in spectacular fashion last weekend with a 4-1 win against Bournemouth. The three points was enough to lift them out of the relegation zone, for now. Yet, the Terriers only have one win in their last nine league games, so don’t expect them to parlay the victory into a win streak.
Betting Advice: It would be amazing to see Huddersfield Town survive their first ever Premier League season, but the deck is heavily stacked against them. They’re already punching far above their weight as it is. Pick them to return to the Championship.
Swansea have orchestrated a miraculous turnaround this season. The Welsh side seemed destined for certain relegation at the end of the 2017 calendar year, but now they sit in sixteenth place. All the credit has to go to manager Carlos Carvalhal, who took over at the very end of 2017. Under the Portuguese manager, the Swans are undefeated in their last nine games in all competitions, with wins over heavy hitters like Arsenal and Liverpool.
Betting Advice: This is a completely different Swansea than we saw earlier this season. If they can hold onto even a fraction of their current form, they’ll end the season in the clear.
Crystal Palace: 10/3
Palace opened the season by losing their first seven league games. They’ve since experienced a marked improvement, but the poor start leaves no room for error. With only three losses in the last 16 league fixtures, Palace have floated out of the relegation zone by a single point.
A recent spate of injuries could derail all their progress. Wilfried Zaha, the stand-out star of the season, has been ruled out for at least a month due to a knee injury, and a handful of other players — Jeffrey Schlupp, Bakary Sako, Jason Puncheon to name a few — are also nursing injuries.
Betting Advice: Palace cannot afford another dip. They’ve done so well to repair the damage from their early-season trainwreck, and another slip-up would be too much to come back from. Their injury list is a huge burden; I have a feeling they’re heading back down, and their 10/3 odds provide a nice payout.