Premier League: Relegation Battle and the 3 Teams Most Likely to Go Down

Stephen FennellCorrespondent IFebruary 23, 2012

It's been heavily documented that the Championship playoff game is one of the richest in football.

Given the spoils on offer to the victor, it's hard to disagree.

If that logic can be applied to the division below the Premier League, then the cost of being relegated from the top flight is utterly catastrophic.

Not only is it expensive in terms of reduced revenue streams, but the relegated clubs in question find themselves with players on their books who are in receipt of a Premiership wage.

This ultimately results in the club having to sell their best players for sustainability purposes.

Once a club's top starters are removed from their books, their ability to secure automatic promotion diminishes. The club becomes one of a number of other teams who are battling for a shot at the big-time and the coinage that accompanies it.

Trips to Old Trafford and Anfield become a distant memory. A glamour tie away in the FA Cup becomes a must.

It is understandable that top players will not want to ply their trade in the lower leagues. It takes a certain kind of individual akin to Kevin Nolan or Scott Parker who are willing to make this sacrifice.

With 13 games left to play by each team in the Premier League, there are five clubs who are fully engrossed in the relegation battle.

Take a look at the league table and you'll see that two points separate 20th place from 16th.

From the five in question, the three most likely to go down at this point in time are Wigan, QPR and Wolves.

Wigan have only won one game at home this year, QPR have the lowest amount of points of any team in the last 10 games and Wolves currently don't have a manager.

Over the course of any given season, you generally get what you deserve. The way the three teams mentioned above have performed, this is a fair assessment.

Robert Martinez tries to play an attractive, Spanish-based type of passing football with Wigan. While it is admirable, it doesn't seem to be reaping the requisite rewards.

Brendan Rodgers plays a similar type of passing football at Swansea, but the Swans are 11th in the table in what is their debut Premier League season.

Martinez needs to do what is necessary to survive.

This means implementing as system that caters to the limited ability on Wigan's books. It's commendable to play fluent football. It won't be if they are attempting it in the Championship.

The club most in free fall at the moment are Wolves. Not only are they managerless at present, they have also only won once in their last 10 games. 

Success stories like Martin O'Neill at Sunderland are rare.

It's not often a manger can come into a club and have such an impact. That's evident at QPR where Mark Hughes is in charge.

After the sacking of Mick McCarthy, the players said they take the blame for the demise that led to his dismissal. If this is the case, what is to suggest that a new manger will have the necessary impact on a group of unmotivated players?

If the squad of players at Molineux can't motivate themselves for survival in the Premier League, they probably don't deserve to be there.

Of the all the clubs, Wolves are the team who need survival most.

QPR are backed by millionaire owner Tony Fernandes while Wigan have the comfort of Dave Whelan being in control.

Wolves are in the process of redeveloping the Steve Bull Stand, but this has been postponed. If they drop to the second tier of English football, there will be less funds to complete it.

If the construction remains stagnant, they will lose potential gate receipts also.

The last of the three clubs who look in serious danger of relegation are QPR. While Blackburn are in close contention for this spot, there are some alarming issues at Loftus Road.

The first of these is the sacking of Neil Warnock. While Mark Hughes is a competent manager, Warnock was the man responsible for their promotion to the Premier League.

He seemed to have the respect of the players, Joey Barton aside. To ask a manager to step into a relegation battle such as this is a questionable decision.

Worryingly for QPR fans, the current squad is made up mostly of individuals. This can be interpreted in every sense of the word.

While they have shown a battling spirit, such as their attempted comeback away to Blackburn, I'm not sure there's enough of it in the squad.

It takes time to build a team and an understanding, and with only 13 games to go, time is of a premium.

To put in context the importance of staying in the Premier League, think about this fact...

Of the 34 teams who have been relegated in Premier League history, 14 have never made a return to the top flight.

Given the financial difference has never been greater between the Premier League and Championship, it won't make good reading for some extremely nervous chairman.


    Klopp Doesn't Feel Like an Underdog

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Klopp Doesn't Feel Like an Underdog

    BBC Sport
    via BBC Sport

    Chelsea Owner 'Effectively Banned' from UK

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Chelsea Owner 'Effectively Banned' from UK

    Sam Greenhill
    via Mail Online

    Report: Arsenal Will Hire Ex-PSG Coach Emery

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Report: Arsenal Will Hire Ex-PSG Coach Emery

    Tom Sunderland
    via Bleacher Report

    New Arsenal Boss: Demanding, Studious and Brave

    World Football logo
    World Football

    New Arsenal Boss: Demanding, Studious and Brave

    Adam Crafton
    via Mail Online