The Premier League 16/17 has been full of surprises and goals. As the top 6 start to shape more evenly, the opposite is happening at the other end, with teams such as Sunderland, Hull and Crystal Palace struggling to keep up with the talent of the Premier League. Here is a quick evaluation of each team, transfers, key players and opinion on if they will manage to live another season or not…
Hull have been the bookies favourites to finish 20th since the start of the season and have not shown many surprises against this. Currently sitting in 18th place, the Tigers look to find a run of good form sooner rather than later, and with key midfielder Ryan Mason out for a while with a head injury, this may be difficult despite a recent 2-0 win against a sloppy Liverpool. Loanee Lazar Markovic may prove to be important over the coming months…
David Moyes has been challenged with keeping Sunderland in the PL for yet another season and this is proving to be difficult. Moyes has brought in previous players Bryan Oviedo and Darren Gibson to the team in an attempt to win a few more points. The light in the dark, Jermaine Defoe however, has proved to be a key player in the squad, finding the back of the net on 14 times this season, and is the leading English scorer in the league. After fending off interest in January from West Ham for the striker, Sunderland will look to grab points where they can and survive yet another season in the Premier League.
Perhaps the most surprising in this relegation scrap, Crystal Palace have been at the centre of some excellent transfer business, from the likes of Benteke, Townsend and Sakho. With this squad surely you would think they should be finishing mid-table? Big Sam has found it hard to accomplish of late, and with a thumping home defeat to his old club Sunderland, things aren’t looking good. Currently sitting in 19th place, I believe the Eagles will slowly make their way up the table and should have enough to survive this year.
Star Striker Fernando Llorente has not disappointed at the Liberty Stadium this season, and has shown that he fits the criteria. However, Swansea are yet again struggling to pick up to points and are conceding huge amounts of goals, with 54 conceded this year, the most of all teams. This may be due to the departure of captain Ashley Williams to Everton last summer, and young boy Alfie Mawson stepping in, he has done well, but is being let down in other areas. Having just signed Tom Carroll from Spurs, I think that Swansea will survive, but must make some key signings to protect their goal for next season.
Last years Champions Leicester City were not expecting to win again, but definitely were not expecting a relegation battle on their hands. Players from last year such as Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez have dissapointed in the league, and without an away win All season, Leicester look in trouble. The likes of Ahmed Musa, Danny Drinkwater and captain Wes Morgan need to step up and get back on track is they want to consolidate in the Premier League. With Ranieri setting his 40 point target again this season, for the first time it looks as if his side may not reach that goal.
Boro have been pretty consistent in the league, and are safe in 15th, but just 1 point away from relegation. After big name signings in the summer such as Victor Valdés and Alvaro Negredo, Boro have seen some good football being played at the Riverside, with Adam Clayton and Adam Forshaw in the centre of most moves, both on the fringes of an England call up. However, the lack of goals scored have forced Boro into re-signing former striker Patrick Bamford who was their top scorer in the 14/15 Championship campaign, and is sure to help the goals flow in from now onwards. Aitor Karanka will hope that his side can keep the goals out and get them in the back of the net too, to ensure they consolidate in the league and built for the next.