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English Premier League: Predicting Winners and Losers of 2013 Relegation Battle

Dan TalintyreSenior Analyst IIJanuary 25, 2013

English Premier League: Predicting Winners and Losers of 2013 Relegation Battle

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    Whilst the race for the English Premier League title continues to heat up at the top of the table, there's another great battle that's definitely worth keeping your eyes on this season.

    The fight to avoid relegation and stay in the top class is always one filled with great drama and excitement, and it will be no different in the remainder of the 2013 season.

    With just 15 weeks remaining in the league, six teams sit within eight points of each other at the bottom of the table and will battle it out to avoid relegation.

    Who's going to come out as the winners and the losers of that battle?

    Read on to see which teams will stay in the top class this year—surviving the drop—and which teams won't be as fortunate in 2013.

Southampton

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    Current position:

    15th position, 23 points

    Key fixtures remaining: 

    Wigan Athletic (A), Newcastle United (A), Queens Park Rangers (H), Reading (A) 

    Comments:

    Southampton looked to be in some serious trouble approaching the Christmas/New Year period, but buoyed by a remarkable undefeated streak, have played their way out of trouble.

    Their defense is looking much stronger than it was earlier in the year, and Rickie Lambert continues to threaten in attack, which should keep the Saints afloat this season.

    The biggest question mark for the Saints is as to how they'll fit with new manager Mauricio Pochettino after the club sensationally dumped Nigel Adkins. His first appearance yielded a scoreless draw against Everton, which few at the club will be complaining about.

    Pochettino isn't a bad arrival for the club, but it seems strange that they disposed with Adkins after he finally started winning games this season. The decision shouldn't have too much of an impact on the club, though, and with the current form that they're showing, should survive the drop comfortably this year.

    Prediction: WINNERS

Newcastle United

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    Current position:

    16th position, 21 points

    Key fixtures remaining:

    Aston Villa (A), Southampton (H), Wigan Athletic (A), Queens Park Rangers (A)

    Comments:

    Newcastle United's fifth-place finish of last season must seem like an eternity ago, with the club in serious danger of slipping all the way out of the Premier League in 2013.

    The Magpies aren't impressive at home, or away; they can't seem to get any consistency going through the middle of the pitch, and having sold star striker Demba Ba to Chelsea, aren't finding the back of the net as regularly as they need to in order to stay alive this season.

    Having said all of that, Alan Pardew has made good inroads throughout the winter transfer window and has brought in a number of key defenders to help the club this season.

    Getting either Yann M'Vila or Loic Remy would have been huge for the club, but that was unfortunately not to be, having both signed with different clubs this winter.

    Newcastle still have a very talented squad and now a stronger-ish back line, so you'd think that they should be fine in the relegation battle this year. But, then again, few would have predicted that they'd even be in the battle at all in 2013.

    I'd say they survive, but barely, with their penultimate away to Queens Park Rangers crucial to their chances of remaining in the Premier League in 2014. 

    Verdict: WINNERS (just)

Aston Villa

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    Current position:

    17th position, 20 points

    Key fixtures remaining:

    Newcastle United (H), Reading (A), Queens Park Rangers (H), Wigan Athletic (A)

    Comments:

    After being sensationally knockout out of the Capital One Cup by Bradford City, Aston Villa just the FA Cup and the English Premier League in 2014 left to play for.

    However, unfortunately for the Villans, I can't see them winning either.

    Christian Benteke continues to be a great force in attack and Andreas Wiemann a great partner for the Belgian international, but they are simply playing on a bad team this year. They aren't getting the service or the consistency from midfield that they need to succeed this season.

    Aston Villa have won just one of their past nine and have recorded just one clean sheet in that time, with several drubbings littered throughout that time also.

    Manager Paul Lambert has already been told he'll be safe if the club are indeed relegated, so he doesn't even have that incentive to drive him (per BBC Sport). And with the club traveling in the wrong direction at the wrong time of the year, you'd have to think that without wholesale changes, Villa will be heading back to the Championship next season.

    Not that those changes were ever going to happen, anyway.

    Verdict: LOSERS

Reading

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    Current position:

    18th position, 19 points

    Key fixtures remaining:

    Wigan Athletic (H), Aston Villa (H), Southampton (H), Queens Park Rangers (H)

    Comments:

    Reading looked for all money like being relegation fodder halfway through the season, but have strung together a couple of strong performances of late in order to start making a late charge out of the bottom three and away from the drop zone.

    The Royals have only lost one of their past five matches in the league to get within one point of 17th-placed Aston Villa, and could well continue their climb in 2013.

    Perhaps the biggest key here is the fact that all four of Reading's key matches in the run home this year (against the teams around them, that is) are to be played at home. All four of their key fixtures will be played at the Madejski Stadium—a venue that the Royals have been typically far stronger at than when playing away from home this season.

    They too have made some interesting moves over the transfer window, and buoyed by the current run of self-belief, genuinely have a chance to avoid relegation this season.

    And call me crazy, but I'm buying it. Especially with that home-field advantage. 

    Verdict: WINNERS

Wigan Athletic

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    Current position:

    19th position, 19 points

    Key fixtures remaining:

    Southampton (H), Reading (A), Newcastle United (H), Queens Park Rangers (A), Aston Villa (H)

    Comments:

    Wigan Athletic somehow managed to survive relegation last season in the league, but they find themselves in the exact same position again in 2013.

    Can Roberto Martinez pull off a miracle again this time around? Probably not.

    The Latics do have an advantage over the other teams in this relegation scrap in that they are the only team to play against all five other teams close to them. But that will only be an advantage to them if they can win those matches, which they don't necessarily look like they will.

    Angelo Henriquez will be available for Wigan's attack to help their cause, but not even the Manchester United starlet will be able to benefit anybody in this team. They just aren't scoring enough goals to match up with the sheer volume that their opponents are scoring at the other end, and will pay the price because of it.

    There'll be no relegation miracle this time around for Wigan Athletic.

    Verdict: LOSERS

Queens Park Rangers

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    Current position:

    20th position, 15 points

    Key fixtures remaining:

    Southampton (H), Aston Villa (A), Wigan Athletic (H), Reading (A), Newcastle United (A)

    Comments:

    Queens Park Rangers' chance at avoiding relegation went out the window the moment they went winless through their opening 16 Premier League matches. From that point, no new manager or new signings were ever going to stop this club from being dropped in 2013.

    Don't get me wrong, what Harry Redknapp has already done at this club is tremendous, and for a while in there, he had be believing that he could actually pull off the impossible.

    But with the likes of Reading and Southampton going on strong runs of their own, Rangers still find themselves four points adrift in last place and two wins away from even getting out of the bottom three in the Premier League this season.

    The London club have pulled off some remarkable results of late—beating Chelsea, holding Tottenham Hotspur at bay—but it will have all been in vain this year if they can't avoid the drop. Which, at the moment, doesn't look like a reality for QPR.

    Even with Redknapp and Loic Remy at the club.

    Verdict: LOSERS

     

    Who do you think will and won't get relegated from the EPL in 2013?

    Comment below or hit me up on Twitter:  


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