With the Premier League season only weeks away, our tipster Hugh Wilson looks at who might be in danger of the drop, with a 11/4 shot standing out
With the wait almost over until the new Premier League season begins, teams have only a handful of weeks to strengthen their sides to attempt to avoid the drop, challenge for Europe or the title. With the top flight one of the richest leagues in the game, it’s not a surprise some sides spend vast amounts of money to stay in the division.
Burnley, QPR and Leicester all gained promotion from the Championship last season, with a strong league producing three teams with past experience of the top flight. Bar the run-away leaders, Leicester and Burnley, the play-offs were very tight, with Derby County and Wigan Athletic both pushing QPR right to the end, with both disappointed not to gain promotion, especially after two excellent seasons.
The Champions, Leicester City, return to the Premier League for the first time since the 2003-04 season. Nigel Pearson's men, who are priced at 9/4 (3.25) with William Hill for the drop, stormed the Championship last season, but have only added a handful of players this summer, the most noteable being Leonardo Ulloa from Brighton for £8 million.
Burnley unsurprisingly are favourites for relegation at 4/7 (1.57). The fact they gained promotion was remarkable, considering their budget is nowhere near the likes of Leicester and QPR. Sean Dyche created miracles last season, and will need to pull a few more tricks out of the book this campaign. The Clarets were last in the Premier League in 2009-10 and, despite starting well, could not maintain their form and were relegated that same season.
The third promoted team, QPR, have the most recent experience of the Premier League. They were relegated last season before gaining promotion immediately. With the wage bill and budget they have, staying in the Championship simply wasn't an option. Harry Redknapp's men are 2/1 (3.00) to go down once again. This summer they have brought in two defenders: Rio Ferdinand and Steven Caulker. Two good signings that could prove the difference come May.
West Brom and Crystal Palace both sit at 11/4 (3.75) for the drop with William Hill. Tony Pulis brought Palace from the brink of relegation last season, with the south Londoners seemingly all but down. He will have another tough job on his hands, but with a full pre-season, Pulis will surely make the most of it and he knows how to create a team to avoid being beaten.
West Brom on the other hand could struggle. Alan Irvine was brought in at the helm this summer, with his last full-time senior managers job being back in 2011 with Sheffield Wednesday. The appointment by the Baggies board was a left-field decision, and with only one marque signing this summer, Ideye Brown for £10m, the Baggies could be in trouble this campaign.
It's worth mentioning Southampton in the market, with the Saints currently 4/1 (5.00) to end up in the bottom three. After a fire-sale of players this summer, their spine has been removed. However, with Ronald Koeman appointed in the summer, the Saints should be fine this season.
With Burnley likely to struggle once again, it will be tough for Sean Dyche to defy the odds once again. However, with their price a little short, it's worth avoiding them and looking elsewhere. With the inexperience of Alan Irvine in the Premier League, West Brom at 11/4 (3.75) looks like a fantastic price, especially when you consider they finished 17th last season, avoiding the drop by three points after a woeful second half to the season. It's worth noting Irvine suffered relegation whilst in charge of Sheffield Wednesday, which doesn't bode well for Baggies fans. With not enough done to strengthen the squad, they could really struggle this season.
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