With the World Cup having come to a close attention turns back to the Premier League with pre-season already in full swing. It was a dramatic term last year with a host of sides fearing the dreaded drop heading into the last few weeks of the season and this year’s relegation battle is sure to be just as enthralling.
Tom’s recommended relegation bets:
#1 Burnley @ 3/5 – BET NOW
Last season’s Championship runners-up are the bookmakers favourites to make a swift return to the Championship and a best price 3/5 (as short as 9/20) looks a more than fair price. In fact the bookmakers are offering odds as short as 6/4 on Burnley finishing bottom of the pile.
Sean Dyche was always unlikely to have a huge budget to play with when it came to summer transfers and the signings he’s made so far have been fairly uninspiring. Michael Kightly, Matthew Taylor, Marvin Sordell, Matt Gilks and Steven Reid have all been added to the Turf Moor squad with only two commanding a transfer fee though none are likely to strike fear into Premier League opposition. Of those who were already playing in claret and blue very few look likely to be quality suited to this league with a lot expected of last season’s 21 goal man Danny Ings though he previously hadn’t managed more than seven goals in a league campaign.
Burnley lasted just one season when they were in this league back in 2009/10 and if they can better that this time around then I’ll be very surprised.
#2 West Brom @ 3/1 – BET NOW
The Baggies have made some strange moves already this summer with the acquisition of Alan Irvine to replace Pepe Mel seen as a peculiar appointment in many people’s eyes. Irvine has been out of full-time management for three years and has never been in charge of a top flight club so he has a big task in keeping West Brom up.
Journeyman Craig Gardner has completed his tour of Birmingham clubs by joining on a free while the ageing Joleon Lescott has made the step down from Man City and Chris Baird (who couldn’t get into relegated Fulham’s side last year) complete West Brom’s transfer dealings so far. That’s far from enough to turn West Brom into a team who warrant being as short as 1/5 to stay up.
The Baggies managed just 43 goals last season while only two teams outside the bottom three conceded more and so I fancy West Brom will be in major danger of returning to the Championship for the first time since 2009/10.
#3 Leicester @ 13/5 – BET NOW
Leicester are another side whose signings simply haven’t been good enough so far this summer with Championship quality players making their way to the King Power Stadium. Matthew Upson is too old while Ben Hamer and Jack Barmby lack experience at the top level though Villa’s Marc Albrighton should do OK.
Leicester’s Championship win last season was built around a solid defence with less than a goal conceded per game but against Premier League opposition they’ll struggle. They’ll need to share the goals out as well with David Nugent (who has proven before he can’t cut it in this league) getting the bulk of their goals last term while Jamie Vardy’s 20 in 63 at Championship level is hardly good enough for the big step up.
Another factor that will work against them is their expansive King Power Stadium pitch. Established Premier League teams will prefer playing there as opposed to smaller, compact grounds such as Turf Moor and Loftus Road making it harder for Leicester to turn their home ground into a fortress. Nigel Pearson had an easy ride in the Championship but things are set to get a lot tougher next season.
Tom’s verdict on the rest of the relegation contenders…
QPR (2/1) – Harry Redknapp knows what it takes to stay up and has the nous when it comes to transfer dealings to build a squad capable of doing just that.
Crystal Palace (9/4) – I think they’ll be closer to the drop zone than they were last season but Selhurst Park will remain a tough place to go and Tony Pulis is the perfect boss to lead them to safety.
Hull (13/5) – Europa League duties will have a huge impact on their league form but Steve Bruce has made some astute signings so they should have enough to survive.
Aston Villa (7/2) – Struggled last season and with the club up for sale they look in upheaval but they have enough decent players (plus a handful returning to the fold) to retain their Premier League status.
Sunderland (5/1) – Gus Poyet performed miracles in keeping the Black Cats safe last season though they are yet to spend this summer and could be dragged into it again if they are not careful. Fortunately, there are three worse teams in the division.
For all the best Premier League odds for the 2014/15 campaign, visit our dedicated centre where all match and outright betting is available.