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Fact Or Fiction Friday

Will All Of The Promoted Clubs Avoid Relegation?

“Fact Or Fiction” is a series that will be run every Friday. In this series, an assertion will be made regarding an impacting topic in the Premier League. EPL Talk writers Matt Hackenmiller and Earl Reed each offer their views on whether the statement is “Fact or Fiction.”

Fact or Fiction: None of the newly promoted clubs will face relegation this season.

MH: Fact. There are two parts to this answer. First of all, all three promoted clubs- QPR, Norwich, and Swansea-all have played well to begin the season. Norwich and Swansea in particular have shown tremendous form and already have taken points from some of the bigger clubs in the Premier League. While the other, Queens Park Rangers, have had an uneven start, they are still trying to work in a bevy of transfer signings like Joey Barton and Shaun Wright-Phillips into to the flow of the team. Secondly, while the three new clubs have played fairly well, established clubs like Wigan, Blackburn, Bolton, and Wolverhampton have performed so poorly that it appears that they will all battle each other for the three relegation spots.

ER: Fiction. We went through this last season, too. We were all thrilled to see Blackpool start out in a strong fashion, play a team like Manchester United extremely tough, and ride that underdog swell of support. Then they started losing, and as quickly as they looked safe, they were gone. I know this will probably knock me off the Gaffer’s Christmas Card List, but I think Swansea City will not escape the bottom three when it all shakes out. If there is anything that could save the Swans, it would be that there are some consistent teams that have looked utterly awful thus far. Bolton have lost some key players due to long-term injury, Blackburn have been mismanaged from above, and Wigan Athletic lacks the fan support and money to flourish long-term in the Premier League. But it seems every season these types of teams find a way to shake out of their malaise and get the results. Come May, I expect one of those three teams to right the ship, and the team that will catch the downdraft will be Swansea (sorry Gaffer!).

What do you think, is it fact or fiction that none of the newly promoted clubs will face relegation this season?

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  1. Cody

    November 5, 2011 at 12:52 am

    I think this is a fact. I’ve seen 4 QPR matches, 4 Norwich matches, and only two Swansea matches (@ Man City and vs Norwich) but from what I’ve seen from those matches and from other highlights they look alright. Also, I’m a Liverpool fan so I’ll definitely be watching my Reds host the Swans in the morning…

    To The Gaffer….I know you must hate them but wouldn’t you like to see Cardiff in the Prem next year JUST for the increased Premier League (and worldwide) exposure to the South Wales Derby? How great would that be for Welsh football!

    • The Gaffer

      November 5, 2011 at 7:27 am

      Hi Cody, no I wouldn’t like to see Cardiff in the top division 🙂 I’d rather see Southampton, Leicester and West Ham promoted.

      But yes, it would definitely add a whole new element to the Premier League with the fierce Welsh derby!

      The Gaffer

  2. James

    November 4, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    All of Swansea’s games have been available in the US, most of them on I’ve watched most of their games and while I like their fluid play I’m not sure they have what it takes to grind out results when the going gets tough.

    In another piece someone mentioned Swansea’s success rate at passing. Most of their passes go backward. They also have one of the worst tackling percentages in the league. They don’t win many 50-50 balls either. Not sure if these statistics are going to keep them up. I’d like to see them stay up but I’m not sure they will.

    • The Gaffer

      November 4, 2011 at 5:33 pm

      James, I disagree that Swansea don’t win many 50-50 balls. I looked at the stats from the game against Chelsea, and Swansea won 50% of the 50/50 balls. They do pass backwards at times, but that’s part of their strategy — to keep possession at all costs. And that’s one of the reasons why they signed goalkeeper Michel Vorm. They needed a keeper who was comfortable with the ball at his feet since most of Swansea’s attacks begin at the back and move up the pitch.

      The Gaffer

  3. Thomas

    November 4, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    As the Gaffer pointed out, Swansea haven’t been show cased much, so people likely have misinformed opinions. Their early season problem wasn’t their play, rather it was bad luck/finishing. They’re scoring now, and if they can continue to build confidence, I think it’s rather likely that they will have a shot of staying up.

    QPR has a solid squad, and I think Warnock is a pretty pragmatic manager. As much as SWP fizzled once he moved to the top level clubs, he’s the type of player that always seems to shine for a poorer side. Barton is a class player, and as controversial as he can be, he’s definitely a calming influence on a side (on the pitch). Fernades has shown a willingness to spend, so if there are any holes (such a sstrikers), it’s something that will likely be filled in January.

    Wigan, Wolves, and Blackburn all ended last season rather poorly (if I remember correctly), and did just enough to stay up. Wigan and Wolves kept themselves up on the last day, and their poor form from the close of the last term to this one has carried over. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind seeing either of those clubs go (wigan/wolves).

  4. The Gaffer

    November 4, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Earl, I’m not directing this at you, but I think a lot of people this season have formed an opinion about Swansea based on the only two live games they’ve seen them play (when it was the featured match with no other matches competing for viewing time). Those were the 4-1 loss to Man City and the 2-2 draw against Wolves.

    I think more soccer fans would have a different opinion about the Swans if they had watched the full 90 minutes of Swansea beating Bolton 3-1, beating West Brom 3-0 or defeating Stoke City 2-0.

    The two things (out of many) that Swansea have going for them are (1) they’re not losing to the sides near the bottom of the league and (2) they’re undefeated at home. If their home form continues and they keep on picking up points against teams around them, then they’ll stay up.

    The Gaffer

    • trickybrkn

      November 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm

      they may win a few, but will get battered as the season progresses and teams take a more direct approach attacking and stop giving their defenders space. The bolton game was dead even till the Bolton red card… They got battered and gave up a 2 goal lead v Wolves when Wolves pressed that ball.. Personally The best game i have seen them play is against Arsenal. It was back and forth and the ball never left the floor. But they have to stop with the back passes. The keeper can’t score. Its infuriatingly negative and boring to watch.
      I root for them when they play big clubs, but really don’t see a whole lot of difference between the Swans and say Leicester in terms of quality.

      • The Gaffer

        November 4, 2011 at 5:36 pm

        The back passes are part of their strategy. It’s not often they do it. And when they do, it’s because they’re being pressured by the opposition.

        In the Bolton game, Swansea maintained most of the possession even before the red card. Gardner getting sent off helped, but it wasn’t the reason why Swansea won that game.

        Against Wolves, they got battered when Wolves pressed the ball because Brendan Rodgers had just substituted their two best defensive midfielders — Leon Britton and Mark Gower. Poor mistake by Rodgers there.

        The Gaffer

  5. James

    November 4, 2011 at 10:52 am

    I think only 1 of the promoted sides will stay up because I think this is the season that Wigan go down. Wigan are not getting results and their poor home attendances mean they won’t get the support from the fans either.

    While I would like to see Swansea be the side that stays up because of the foorball they play I’m not sure they have what it takes to get the results on a consistent basis. Winning by 2 goals at Wolves with 10 minutes left and they end up drawing is not a good sign.

    QPR have veteran players with lots of EPL experience so they have a good chance of staying up provided their squad isn’t unsetlled by the likes of Barton and Tarabt. I’ll say they won’t stay up.

    Norwich look like they have a good chance of staying up judging by their perfromances thus far. If they can maintain the from they are in for ther rest of the seaon then I’ll pick them to stay up. So I’m going with Norwich to stay up by a whisker over QPR.

  6. trickybrkn

    November 4, 2011 at 7:03 am

    Thing is, there is no little between the 9th and 30th clubs in English football. It really is down to form and luck. As the PL Table stands, two wins or two loses for any of the clubs in the bottom half sees them fall into the relegation zone or pull out of it…. I don’t expect Bolton or Blackburn to keep losing at home. The same I don’t expect West Brom to keep getting results away. Its been in recent years, averaging a point a match keeps you up. Win 10 times and draw 8 more you normally are safe. That means a team that loses 20 matches can stay up. And why a match like West Brom v Sunderland will always be an important match. Many clubs on the bounce get early wins and start settling for draws, which is a very dangerous practice. As the PL is a lot less forgiving then the Championship where teams are even more clustered together. and 3 points could be had any week.

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