Which of This Season’s Stragglers Stand a Chance of Survival?

Aston Villa(Credit: Elliot Brown -- Flickr Creative Commons)
Aston Villa(Credit: Elliot Brown -- Flickr Creative Commons) /

One of the main reasons the EPL is hailed as one of the world’s best divisions of football is the unpredictability of it’s fight for the summit in the annual quest to crown a champion.

However, today we’re going to turn our attention to the business end of the Premier League’s saw; namely, we’re going to ponder which of the current bottom three – Newcastle, Sunderland and Aston Villa – stand a realistic chance of survival.

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For the Magpies, every season of late seems to have a distinctly similar routine – appoint a manager that rouses mild skepticism amongst fans, improve on a formidable-on-paper looking squad, and then inevitably struggle.

This season hasn’t exactly broke the mold, and whilst there are signs of improvement on Tyneside, as far as attacking options are concerned, dire performances at the back have left Newcastle marred with a poor yield of results.

Having your first choice ‘keeper ruled out for the season doesn’t help either.

It’s largely up to Mitrovic and Wijnaldum to add venom to the fangs when going forward, as any defensive maladies the squad endures might just have to be resolved by simply bombarding the opposition and hopefully outscoring them. Their singular win of this season, a 6-2 hiding at home to Norwich, is a testament to that.

Expect plenty of end-to-end games involving Newcastle this season as they attempt to dig their way out of the Premier League’s pitfall, but for all intents and purposes such an excursion shouldn’t be insurmountable given the quality of their side.


Fellow north-eastern outfit Sunderland are renowned for an annual routine of their own in the top flight: start badly, sack manager, appoint manager, survive.

Well, if this managerial cycle is to remain consistent, then Sunderland only have the surviving part left to do – but they haven’t made it easy for themselves.

The key issue with the Black Cats at the moment is confidence, or rather a lack of. An absence of composure and fluency of the side has often lead to individual errors and highly defeatist defending once Sunderland fall behind in a game.

New helmsman Sam Allardyce was arguably the best of the potential candidates to take over from Dick Advocaat due to his reputation for tightening up at the back, but even so he has quite a job on his hands amending it.

The January transfer window should see Big Sam haul in one or two center-backs to strengthen up. 36-year-old Wes Brown clearly showed last week his abilities to compete at such a high standard of football are on a downward trajectory.

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  • Aston Villa

    Won one, drew one, lost the rest, bottom.

    A brief synopsis of Villa, who have recently appointed Frenchman Remi Garde in the hopes of halting the abysmal run started by Tim Sherwood.

    Villa are bottom for a very prominent reason, their squad is devoid of any real quality, especially after the loss of Christian Benteke, who many would agree was by far the Villians’ greatest threat to opposition.

    Garde faces what is most likely the hardest task of any of the bottom three to lift his team from the top flight trapdoor, but a change in philosophy might just be exactly what Villa need for a subsequent change in fortunes.

    The Premier League wouldn’t be the critically acclaimed best league in the world if it’s relegation candidates were set in stone after just 3 months – anything could happen.

    Just sit back and watch the annual drama unfold.

    Next: Has Jamaal Charles Lost a Step?