With over half the Premier League season gone, the fight to avoid the drop down to the Championship is becoming more intense by the week.
As teams look to avoid being sucked down into the bottom three, it will take some effort for any of the sides currently in the relegation zone to retain their top-flight status for next term.
The Curse of Christmas
Teams down at the bottom of the Premier League standings on December 25 are rarely able to turn things around in time to avoid the drop.
Sheffield United, after a tremendous first campaign back in the top flight last term, have been blighted by a bad case of ‘second season syndrome’.
Sat rock-bottom of the standings, with 18 defeats from their first 23 games, the Blades are in an unenviable position.
A solid defence was key to United’s success under boss Chris Wilder last season as they conceded just 39 goals through the course of the campaign to finish ninth.
The Blades, who are
7/1 to avoid the drop, have already conceded 37 this term and it looks like they won’t be able to join the likes of West Brom, Sunderland and Leicester City as teams to survive after being bottom at Christmas.
Baggies Out of Their Depth
West Brom are another side finding life back in the Premier League a struggle this season.
After finishing as runners-up to Leeds United in the Championship last term, the Baggies have been heavily beaten on far too many occasions this season.
Having parted company with boss Slaven Bilic, the club turned to experienced manager Sam Allardyce to turn things around at The Hawthorns.
Apart from a thrilling 3-2 win against Wolves and a stalemate with Liverpool, there has been not much to cheer about for the Baggies, who are
9/1 to avoid relegation this season.
It would be hard to see them avoiding the drop this term, and the hierarchy at The Hawthorns will have to make sure this yo-yo club can bounce back again from a disappointing season in the top flight.
Goals in Short Supply at Fulham
Out of the three sides currently in the relegation zone, Fulham look to be the ones most capable of getting themselves out of trouble.
That is reflected in the betting market, with Scott Parker’s side at
11/4 to avoid the drop this term.
However, goals have been the real issue for this side, with just 17 goals scored in their first 22 games.
Much was expected of Serbia striker Aleksandar Mitrovic to provide the firepower needed to stay up, but the former Newcastle United forward has only found the back of the net three times this term.
Bobby De Cordova-Reid has led the way with seven goals so far, and Parker will need Mitrovic to up his goal rate, if the Cottagers are going to be playing Premier League football next season.
*All odds correct at time of writing