EPL's Bottom: Who Will Drown at the End of the Season?

Nicolas AnilContributor IIIMarch 10, 2011

EPL's Bottom: Who Will Drown at the End of the Season?

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    11 May 1997:  Craig Hignett (left), Juninho and Curtis Fleming (right) of Middlesbrough face relegation after the FA Carling Premier League  match against Leeds United at Elland Road in Leeds, England. The game was drawn 1-1. \ Mandatory Credit: Clive Bru
    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    As the EPL season draws to a close, all eyes are drawn to the top of the table, as Manchester United and Arsenal battle it out for supremacy this season.

    If you focus those corneas a little lower, you will see that there are at least eight teams who are struggling in their bid to stay on the surface and not get sucked into the nadir of lower league football, which is the Championship.  

    A measly six points separates 13th-place Aston Villa and rock-bottom Wigan.  With only nine games left to play this season, even three wins would guarantee safety.

    The magical 40 points wouldn’t be a requirement; it would be considered a luxury.  We take a look at the potential 5 teams who look good bets to be relegated this season.

1. Wigan

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    MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 05:   Ali Al Habsi of Wigan Athletic reacts after David Silva of Manchester City scored the first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at the City of Manchester Stadium
    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    The first candidate would certainly be bottom-place Wigan.

    The Latics are in this predicament because of the lack of quality in the squad and a terrible backline, as displayed by Al-Habsi against Man City during the weekend when he let David Silva’s daisy cutter slip through his legs, ala Massimo Taibi.

    Five wins and 27 goals; the least wins and goals scored of all the EPL clubs, tells you barring any miracles, we will certainly see Wigan relegated this season

2. Wolves

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    WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 26:  Kevin Doyle of Wolves (L) in action with Alex Baptiste of Blackpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Blackpool at Molineux on February 26, 2011 in Wolverhampton, England.
    Scott Heavey/Getty Images

    How does a team that have claimed the scalp of Man United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City end up second from bottom?

    Wolves and the word INCONSISTENT go hand in hand. They seem to reserve their best performances for the top teams, then play like a bunch of school kids with teams on par with them.

    They also have the worst away record in the league, winning just once and losing 11.

    With five of their remaining nine fixtures being played away, the odds don’t look very good for this talented but…you guessed right, inconsistent outfit. 

3. West Brom

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    WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 20:  Roy Hodgson, manager of West Bromwich Albion looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers at The Hawthorns on February 20, 2011 in West Bromwich, England.
    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    West Brom’s exciting, quick movement, swift passing football were very easy on the eyes at first. Arsenal, Man United and Everton were caught off guard and embarrassed in the process.

    Former manager Roberto Di Matteo was lauded for his work with the team, even picking his first honor as Manager of the Month in September.

    Things spiraled badly for the Baggies ever since. Matteo was sacked and replaced by Roy Hodgson.

    They may be out of the drop zone for now, but with the defense leaking goals more often than a drunkard’s piss and with games against Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea yet to come, it looks as if Hodgson may be facing his worst spell as a manager.

    West Brom look certain to head for the drop. 

4. Blackpool

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    LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05:  Blackpool manager Ian Holloway shouts instructions to his team during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Blackpool at Goodison Park on February 5, 2011 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill
    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Blackpool’s season has been as colorful as Ian Holloway’s interviews. They have been bold, upfront and stylish, and their attacking style of football has put Chelsea and Liverpool to shame at times. 

    They took the EPL by storm after some scintillating displays, the Kop End applauding them off the field after the defeat of Liverpool being the highlight of their season.

    But their defense is far from decent; they have the worst defensive record in the league, conceding a mind-blogging 58 goals.

    Manager Ian Holloway will not change his tactics, true to his style, but if he doesn’t do anything to plug the gap, we may lose this tiny, exciting club to the Championship come next season.

5. West Ham

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27:  Scott Parker (L) of West Ham celebrates with teammate Thomas Hitzlsperger as he scores the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Liverpool at the Boleyn Ground on February 27, 201
    Scott Heavey/Getty Images

    West Ham were always too good to be considered relegation material, but after being stuck in the drop zone for much of the season, every pundit took aim at the Hammers, saying they will go down with a month to spare.

    They weren't wrong, West Ham look disheveled and extremely disorganized at times, many individual errors costing them precious points.

    Avram Grant was on the brink of getting the sack after the loss to Arsenal in January; a lot of bookies lost millions when the owners decided to give the Israeli a second life.

    Now they seem to be clicking in gear, thanks to the excellence of Demba Ba, Thomas Hitzlsperger and Scotty Parker, who single-handedly won them back-to-back matches against Liverpool and Stoke.

    Their season hinges on their consistency; if they can keep winning and reduce the individual errors, they should stay afloat.

    If the Hammers of two months ago show up again, they’re doomed.