Tony Hanna's Musings
Statistically, there is still 21% of the season remaining for West Ham. In real terms, eight matches with five at home and three away. We only leave London once for a game at Leicester and in addition we have difficult away games at Arsenal and Chelsea where any points will be a bonus. We also have both Manchester clubs to play at the OS. For weeks now we have all been looking for the results of the other teams around us and hoping results go our way. If you are like me I have even been cheering on Spurs when they have played the likes of Palace and Huddersfield recently. Every little bit helps. Our destiny is in our own hands at the moment and we can only hope it stays that way. A loss against Southampton and it will not be. Every time one of the bottom half teams gets a couple of wins or a win and a draw, the points gained shoot them up the table and the feeling of impending safety sets in. When a few losses occur they are back in the mire again. That is the effect of so many teams being in the same scrap. Since that brilliant win at Huddersfield in mid-January we have taken five points from an available twenty one and we have slipped from 11th to 17th. So what is the relegation landscape looking like for the others? Here are the bookies odds and the run home for each of the clubs involved.
West Brom are now dead and buried. With 20 points and seven games left they could mathematically still avoid the drop but they have only won three PL games all season and incredibly two of them were the first two games of the season!
Stoke City on 27 points are priced at 4/11 (73% chance) for the drop. They have played one more game than most now due to playing and getting beaten by Everton on the weekend. Their remaining fixtures are Arsenal (a), Spurs (h), West Ham (a), Burnley (h), Liverpool (a), Palace (h) and Swansea (a). I have watched them a few times recently and they are playing better than what their results are showing. Going down to ten men so early in the weekend game at home to Everton was a real blow for them.
Southampton on 28 points are priced at 9/4 (30%). Because of our reversed fixture with them at the start of the season, giving us the imbalance of three away games to start the campaign and the Saints three home games, that comes home to roost right now. It means West Ham now play five of their remaining eight at home but Southampton only have three of their remaining eight at home. Their run in is West Ham (a), Arsenal (a), Chelsea (h), Leicester (a), Bournemouth (h), Everton (a) and on the final day of the season they host Manchester City (h). They also have a fixture at Swansea (a) where no date has been determined as yet. They have taken the gamble to change manager at a late stage of the season, so whether Mark Hughes can orchestrate a “new manager bounce” will be crucial to their chances. They looked poor at Wigan on the weekend but did get a win there – something we and Man City failed to do in recent months. Taking away the two wins against bottom club West Brom, they have only won three other PL games this season which includes that 3-2 win against 10 man West Ham. Despite only recording 5 wins they can be difficult to beat as indicated by the fact they have drawn 13 matches this season – the highest amount in the League.
Crystal Palace won on the weekend and move to 30 points which is the same as us but they are one place ahead due to a superior goal difference. The bookies make them a 7/1 chance (12.5%) for relegation. They are rated more than twice as likely to stay up than us, despite them being on the same points and having played one more game. This is obviously down to their remaining fixtures where they only have to play one more top six side. Their remaining seven fixtures are Liverpool (h), Bournemouth (a), Brighton (h), Watford (a), Leicester (h), Stoke (a) and West Brom (h). This really is the easiest run in of all the teams involved in the relegation battle. Theoretically, at least four of the teams they are yet to play should have very little to play for in terms of Europe or relegation. If Brighton win either of their next two games, both at home, you can make that five. They still have the very influential Zaha to return and for me they are the most unlikely side in the bottom six to get relegated despite being 19th in the form table (the table using only the past eight fixtures and designed to evaluate current form).
Huddersfield lost again on the weekend and are just one point ahead of us on 31 points having played one more game. The bookies rate them a 6/4 chance (40%) to bounce straight back to the Championship. Their remaining fixtures are Newcastle (a), Brighton (a), Watford (h), Chelsea (a), Everton (h), Man City (a) and Arsenal (h). Since the turn of the year the Terriors have beaten Bournemouth and West Brom and drawn with Swansea. They have lost every other PL game in 2018 and are 18th on the form table.
Swansea are on 31 points just one ahead of us but are 5th on the form table. Fifteen points and just one loss in the last eight has taken them from long odds on to go down to a current price of 9/2 (18%). They finish the season with Man Utd (a), West Brom (a), Everton (h), Man City (a), Chelsea (h), Bournemouth (a) and Stoke (h). They also have that to be arranged fixture with Southampton (h) to be determined. It is hard to fathom where Swansea are at the moment. Will their recent good run of form falter or continue? They face three of the big five in the run in but also have a couple of very winnable games.
Newcastle are on 32 points and sit in 13th position in the Premier League. They are 20/1 (4.76%) to do the yoyo. Whilst they look safe you can never say never but their remaining fixtures are Huddersfield (h), Leicester (a), Arsenal (h), Everton (a), West Brom (h), Watford (a), and Chelsea (h). They also have an away game at Spurs where a date is to be arranged. I fancied Newcastle to go down at the start of the season but it looks like they will prove me wrong. The form of Shelvey and Diame in recent weeks has really turned their fortunes around. This pair of in-form midfielders have really given them a good balance.
Brighton are four points above us on 34 points and are rated a 25/1 chance (3.85%) to be relegated. They are 8th in the form table with 11 points from the past eight matches. Their run in is Leicester (h), Huddersfield (h), Palace (a), Spurs (h), Burnley (a), Man Utd (h) and they play Liverpool (a) on the final day of the season. They have one fixture with no date set as well which is Man City (a).
Watford and Bournemouth (both on 36 points) look to have done enough to keep them safe now and both are priced at 100/1 for the drop. So what of us then?
West Ham are on 30 points and we are priced at 5/2 (28%) to be relegated. Our remaining fixtures are Southampton (h), Chelsea (a), Stoke (h), Arsenal (a), Man City (h), Leicester (a) and Everton (h). We also have Man Utd (h) where a date is to be determined. I still think 37 points will be safe this season and it is possible 36 may be enough too. Most seasons we see one or two teams surge and play themselves out of the relegation battle with a handful of games to go. Swansea’s run has come early but at present the bottom six in the PL are also the bottom six of the “form table”. I think it is anyone’s guess at the moment. If you want another go at predicting what will happen click here