As the final quarter of the season looms into view, teams in the lower half of the Premier League will be desperately fighting for survival. Many think that the likes of Aston Villa, Sunderland, and Norwich are already doomed, but with a good few games to go, there could be some shocks and upsets along the way.
Two teams that looked to be on track to safety a while ago have stuttered badly in 2016. Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion have both suffered a drastic dip in form and have both experienced dire goal droughts. Could they be dragged into a battle with other relegation candidates towards the end of the campaign?
In the league clash against relegation-threatened Swansea, Palace managed to finally register their first point since before Christmas. They also managed to bury a significant period without goals. However, they are still lacking that incisiveness in front of goal to win games, and are missing some key players in midfield. The injury to Yannick Bolasie signified their downturn in form and the Eagles desperately miss his ferocious attacking instinct.
At the time of writing, Palace are 40/1 with 32red, Unibet, and Betway to be relegated at the end of the season, and many think they will end the season strongly. Their main weakness during this campaign has been putting the goals away and they have been seriously missing a deadly finisher. It could be that the signing of Emmanuel Adebayor could solve this problem, but since his return the once prolific striker has looked fairly rusty. The imminent return of Bolasie and Adebayor recapturing his goal scoring form could be key to pulling Palace out of a potentially bad situation.
West Brom have generally been a solid side under the stewardship of Tony Pulis, but at 5/1 with 32red and others, they find themselves in deep among the relegation contenders. This season clearly hasn’t gone to plan. Pulis’ sides are renowned for their solidity in defence but the team this season have only managed a fraction of the shut-outs they managed last time out. Things are going badly at both ends of the pitch and they are looking weak in attack as well.
They would have been wise to get the money for the out-of-sorts striker, Saido Berahino, as he clearly doesn’t want to play at West Brom anymore. The promising striker may have a bright future ahead of him elsewhere, but he doesn’t seem pivotal to the manager’s plans and has only picked up three league goals all season. It is clear that West Brom need goals, but where those goals are going to come from is a mystery at the moment. As Sunderland and Villa have begun to show some fighting spirit and attempt to claw their way back up the league, West Brom could find themselves going the other way.
The battle for Premier League survival has started, and as it stands, none of the teams lurking in the final half of the table are safe.