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We are 8 games into the Premier League and there already seems to be an interesting relegation battle forming.
Teams that were predicted to finish in the top half are lingering around the relegation zone, while teams that were predicted to go down have had a cracking start to the season.
So, at this early stage in the season, who will be relegated to the Championship this season?
The Cherries have done well to consolidate themselves in the Premier League for two seasons, achieving their highest league position ever last season, but this season, I believe, is the season where they will get relegated.
Though showing signs this season that they are good enough to stay up, in particular their performances at home to Manchester City and away to Tottenham, Bournemouth have only picked up four points from a possible twenty-four.
Though it’s much of the same squad as last season, as Eddie Howe has said in recent interviews, Bournemouth have ‘lost their spark’, and there are a few reasons for this.
First of all, Josh King has been playing out wide or behind the main striker.
The Norwegian thrived last season as a lone striker for Bournemouth and scored a remarkable 16 goals last season, but this season, he’s not been playing in his preferred position.
The return of Jermain Defoe to the south coast puts him as first choice striker, and if Defoe isn’t playing, it’s Benik Afobe who gets the nod up front, and it seems Howe just needs to play King somewhere in the forward line, and he certainly isn’t anywhere near top form for Bournemouth.
Secondly, I think that Premier League sides know now how to play against Bournemouth.
We all know Bournemouth’s strength, which is utilising the full-backs in attacking positions and play quick passing football, and teams now know how to counter this.
Everyone has been saying that Eddie Howe is destined for great things. Managing a top four team and eventually become England manager.
Yet, if he wants to live up to expectations, he needs to change his playing style and ask questions of Premier League teams, and if he doesn’t change the set-up of his side soon, this could be the end of Bournemouth’s Premier League adventure.
Although Huddersfield have had a good start to the season, I still believe that Huddersfield will go down this season.
The Terriers had a great start to the season, picking up seven points out of nine. Since then, Huddersfield have dropped off in form.
They suffered a disappointing defeat away to West Ham and then drew at home to Leicester, two games Huddersfield should have won.
One of the issues in the Huddersfield team is the fact that they lack creativity.
Don’t get me wrong, the likes of Aaron Mooy and Tom Ince on their day can undo any defence in the league, but those days seem to be few and far between.
The likes of Billing, Kachunga and van La Parra were all in imperious form for Huddersfield in the Championship but can’t seem to find their feet in the Premier League.
Maybe another factor is the fact that David Wagner’s style of football is very easy to counter against.
As we all know, Wagner is a student of the Dortmund school of managing along with the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Daniel Farke, who’s manager of Norwich City, and all three teams seem to play in the same way.
Liverpool find themselves 8th in the Premier League, Huddersfield are 12th in the Premier League, while Norwich find themselves 8th in the Championship.
With the exception of Huddersfield, Liverpool and Norwich are underachieving this season, and this could be down to the fact that teams know how to counter against the high pressing style of play that they play.
Though Wagner won’t change his style of play, I don’t think the Terriers have enough quality to compete in the Premier League this season, and although they will fight until the bitter end, Huddersfield will be going back down to the Championship.
West Ham United
West Ham have been flirting with relegation for many seasons now, and Slaven Bilic has always managed to steer them away from the drop, but I firmly believe that this is the season where West Ham will go down.
There are so many problems with West Ham at the moment.
Firstly, Joe Hart isn’t good enough to be first choice goalkeeper for West Ham. Yes, he’s somehow still England’s number one, and apparently therefore by right, he should be an automatic starter for a Premier League team, but he isn’t good enough!
Last season’s performances while on loan at Torino exposed Hart’s weaknesses and he still hasn’t seemed to have recovered from his time in Italy.
I was incredibly surprised to see West Ham sell Darren Randolph. Randolph was one of West Ham’s best performers last season, and kept them in many games, and the fact that they have sold Randolph for £5 million is simply not good enough.
Secondly, West Ham are still lacking something up front.
We all thought that the signing of Javier Hernandez would propel the Irons into one of the top teams in the Premier League, but Hernandez’s start to the season has been quite underwhelming, only scoring 3 goals so far this season, which makes him West Ham’s top scorer so far this season.
Andy Carroll, meanwhile, hasn’t been the same striker since his move away from Newcastle, and with injuries marring his stint at West Ham, he isn’t a reliable option for West Ham.
Marko Arnautovic has been poor since his move from Stoke, while the once problematic for Diafra Sakho has been sporadic at best for West Ham this season.
All these players are showing nothing to give hope to West Ham supporters this season, and if they don’t click soon, relegation will almost be a certainty to be relegated this season.
In terms of the rest, I believe that Crystal Palace’s result against Chelsea will spark them into life, as long as Wilfried Zaha stays fit.
The organisation that Chris Hughton has brought to Brighton has made them a very difficult team to break down, which is always something you need in the Premier League.
The likes of Everton, Leicester and Stoke have all had bad starts to the season, but I fully expect them to find their top form soon and will pull away from the relegation zone.
Therefore, the three teams that I believe will be relegated to the Championship this season will be Bournemouth, Huddersfield and West Ham.
Written by Sion Misra
Follow Sion on Twitter @sionmisra
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