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Premier League Return: The Relegation Breakdown and Odds

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The frantic relegation battle

The title race and the battle for Europe usually dominate the headlines, with both often filled with memorable moments and intense matches that cement a team or players heroic status. However, there is an equal amount of high octane action and drama at the opposite end of the table, with the threat of relegation and the fight to stay up.

There will be enormous consequences, both financial and professional, for the clubs unable to maintain their top-flight status. Their revenue will be greatly affected, as well as their reputation and attractiveness to prospective signings. This added pressure makes relegation battles exciting, intense and emotional affairs.

As it stands, Norwich City are the favourites to go down at 1/16, whilst Aston Villa and Bournemouth sit at 2/5 and 4/5 respectively as they occupy the current relegation places.

Can any of them pull off a desperate escape?

Relegation Treble

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Aston Villa, West Ham & Norwich all to be relegated @ 6/1

The Candidates and their seasons so far

Does anyone remember when ‘Pukki fever’ was taking over the Premier League? It feels so long ago. In fact, Norwich’s 3-2 win over Manchester City back in mid-September was their first win of the league season and a brief highlight in a torrid campaign in which the Canaries have compiled just four victories since.

They beat Champions League-chasing Leicester City in February – a 1-0 win courtesy of Jamal Lewis – but find themselves bottom of the table on 21 points. This leaves Norwich four points from Aston Villa and six from safety. Norwich would need to nearly double their current points total in the remaining nine games to reach the mythical safety of 40 points, but even a reasonable total of 35 points looks a bridge too far for Daniel Farke’s side.

Aston Villa may historically be a Premier League staple, but they have not experienced a welcoming return to top-flight football in 2019-20, and are sitting two points from safety with a game in hand. Their game with fellow newly-promoted Sheffield, who have surpassed all expectations under Chris Wilder, may define their run-in.

Villa have conceded the most goals in the Premier League, and their loss total is bettered – or worsened – only by Norwich City, which suggests that an instant return to the Championship is on the cards. Aston Villa will be hoping their talisman Jack Grealish can pull them to safety – and his future at his boyhood club may well depend on it.

Bournemouth have been a welcome addition to the Premier League ever since earning top-flight status ahead of the 2015-16 season, earning plaudits for their attractive style of play under Eddie Howe. However, Bournemouth haven’t quite clicked into gear this season as they find themselves in 18th position, occupying the final relegation spot due to their poor goal difference of -18. They have 27 points, tied with Watford (9/4) and West Ham United (15/8).

The Hammers have certainly had a year to forget after making big-money signings, such as the £24 million move for Pablo Fornals and the undisclosed deal for striker Sebastien Haller. Haller has had an underwhelming season thus far, scoring seven goals in 24 appearances, but West Ham fans will be desperate for the Frenchman to find his form when the action resumes. West Ham, who still have to play Wolves, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United, are under serious threat of relegation.

Just two points ahead of the struggling trio, Brighton and Hove Albion (11/4) are the final team in this relegation battle. The Seagulls are five points behind Southampton, and whilst the Saints (33/1) are by no means safe, it appears likely that three of the aforementioned teams will be sent down to the Championship for next season.

Do they face each other?

Just as it feels hugely important when two massive, title-chasing clubs face-off, the same can be said about matches between relegation candidates. These are true six-pointers and can make or break a season.

Norwich City have a momentous run of games over the span of a week, as the Canaries face Brighton at home on July 4 before a mid-week clash against Watford. After those two enormous games, Norwich host West Ham United on July 11th. This run could prove pivotal to Norwich’s hopes of survival; if they have any hopes of staying up, they will need points on the board before they face Chelsea and City in their final three games of the season.

The other key clashes involving relegation candidates include West Ham on both occasions. The Hammers face Watford at home on the 15th of July, before facing Aston Villa at the London Stadium 11 days later – a game that could have massive implications given it is the final day of the season.

Relegation Straight Treble

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Norwich Bottom, Aston Villa 2nd, Bournemouth 3rd @ 6/1

The Run-in

Outside of those relegation battles, it appears Newcastle – who sit at 20/1 to go down themselves – will have a huge say in who suffers relegation come the end of the season. The Magpies play Aston Villa, Bournemouth, Watford, West Ham and Brighton – and Steve Bruce’s side will be desperate to avoid being dragged into the relegation conversation.

Brighton have a particularly difficult run-in. The Seagulls must face Arsenal and Manchester United as well as taking on the top three in Leicester, Liverpool and the blue half of Manchester. That slate of games appears to be the toughest, although Bournemouth don’t exactly have an easy end to the season either. The Cherries will play European hopefuls in Manchester United, Wolves, Leicester, City and Spurs - who will have Harry Kane and Son Heung-min back from injury.

The Premier League kicks off again on June 17th, with the final day of the season currently scheduled to be the 26th of July. Which of these teams are going to celebrating survival six weeks from now – and which three will be preparing for Championship football next season?

By Andrew Gamble