At the beginning of the season, there were a number of candidates looking to be relegated from the Premier League. Promoted sides Reading and Southampton were among these candidates, along with the likes of QPR, Wigan, and even Aston Villa.
Even at this stage of the season, it is yet to be known who the hot favorites for relegation are. With just 9 games remaining, the bottom 6 are separated by just 8 points, meaning no teams are safe. All of the teams threatened with relegation didn’t get their seasons off to the best of starts, with all of them dropping points in the opening few weeks.
Queens Park Rangers
QPR’s season probably started the worst, as they fell to a 5-0 home defeat to Swansea on the opening day, which spelled the beginning of a 16 game winless run in the league. They weren’t able to beat the teams around them in the table, nor were they able to get any points off ‘bigger’ teams in the league.
This could quite possibly have come from the fact they made more than 10 signings in the summer window, which didn’t allow the players to gel together and develop understandings before the season began. In the last few months though, they have started to play much better and pick up the important results they need as they were rooted at the bottom of the table.
Then came the 17th game of the season; QPR beat Fulham at home to give them their first win. This is when their fortunes began to change. January signings Jermaine Jenas and Andros Townsend have had a huge impact on the squad and have since started to pick up draws and wins. They have also closed the gap on their nearest rivals, which will have given them more confidence and belief that they can escape the drop zone. Whether this means they have higher chances of surviving is debatable, but one thing is for sure, the Rangers won’t go down without an almighty fight.
Aston Villa are another team who are in the massive scrap for survival. Paul Lambert came in as new manager last summer and rung the changes by bringing in young, British players. Many Villa fans were unhappy with the signings made by Lambert, but it is easy to see what he is trying to do at the club. Most of the players were very inexperienced when it comes to playing at the Premier League level, and that is the main reason why they haven’t managed to pick up results.
But one player who has been a revelation for them this season is Christian Benteke. Brought in from Belgian side Genk, he was very little known, but having scored more than 15 goals this term, he could be the reason Villa stay up this season. Things haven’t really gone their way so far, with vital decisions going against them to deny them a point or even all 3. They have also been rather unlucky in games, as they have seen themselves dominate games yet not get any points for it.
This just shows you that their attacking side of their game just isn’t really up to scratch. Most recently, they lost 1-0 to defending champions Manchester City, and anyone that had watched the game would’ve seen that Villa had the majority of play. But one mistake from Ciaran Clarke cost them the points when he slipped to allow Carlos Tevez to slot home for what was the only goal of the game.
But coming off the back off of two wins against Reading and QPR, you just wonder if the momentum is swinging Villa’s way. Benteke, Gabby Agbonlahor, and Andreas Weimann will certainly be crucial and will need to be influential in the young Villa side if they are to tighten their grip on a place out of the bottom 3.
Despite being in the bottom 3 for more-or-less the whole season, Reading have done really well. There are one of the 3 promoted teams this season and have surprised many people with the football they’ve played and the results they have managed to pick up. This season, they have become the late goal specialists, having scored late on in games against West Brom, Chelsea, and Sunderland. Adam Le Fondre has been the man for the late goals, scoring the majority of them for Reading despite coming off the bench.
They did that well, because in January, Le Fondre won Player of the Month, and then manager Brian McDermott won Manager of the Month. But with the Royals out of form and without a win in the last 5 games, as well as having sacked Brian McDermott, these can be considered as worrying times for Reading, and you wonder if they will recover from this.
With their strikers out of form and with them being unable to find any real consistency, is the Premier League journey for Reading over before it has really started? Some would argue that it is the end, but others would argue that they have seen enough fight and belief from the players have a strong enough feeling that their club will survive. If anything is to happen, it is truly now or never for them with time no longer on their side.
Written by OneFutbol