5 Teams Most Likely to Be Relegated from Barclays Premier League This Season

Tyler WolinContributor ISeptember 13, 2011

5 Teams Most Likely to Be Relegated from Barclays Premier League This Season

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    With the first month of the season over, teams are already starting to stake their claim to spots in the league table. Yet, the Premier League is a fickle beast and nearly impossible to predict this early in the season. However, there are already a few teams that would do well to be around next year.

    Here are the five teams that will be fighting to avoid the three relegation spots at the end of the year.

5. Bolton Wanderers

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    Bolton is now in their 11th straight year in the top flight, but coming off of a 14th-place finish last year they are hardly a sure thing to stay up.

    They have a defense that is shaky at best, and without Stuart Holden or Chung-Yong Lee to start the season Bolton has struggled getting forward as well. With Holden back and David N’Gog finally starting to show decent form, Bolton should stay up by the skin of their teeth.

    It will not be easy, though, and there will be many restless nights for supporters of the Wanderers.

    Prediction: safe in 16th place

4. Queens Park Rangers

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    QPR is on paper one of the top eight or nine teams in the Premier League. On the field they have shown they could live up to that billing. However, they have also shown that they could be inept and barely good enough to hang around.

    They have two huge problems. The first is that Paddy Kenny is not a good enough goalkeeper for the Premier League and they don’t have a legitimate No. 2. The second problem is they struggle to get the ball forward and get clean shots off.

    Combine these two and QPR is certainly in danger of relegation; however, if Shaun Wright-Phillips, Heidar Helguson and Adel Taarabt play up to their skill level they should be able to compete with most teams in the league.

    Prediction: safe in 17th position, but could be as high as 12th

3. Wigan Athletic

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    The Manchester based club has started well and posted two shutouts in their first four matches. However, Wigan has been a beneficiary of a soft schedule and luckily from them it remains fairly straightforward for their next few matches.

    They will still have to make sure they get those results against the mid-table teams they play in their next 10 matches before they have to run the gauntlet of Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Stoke City, Sunderland and Manchester City all in a row. That’s five of the current top six in the table.

    Wigan need Franco Di Santo to continue scoring goals, which he has struggled to do in his two previous Premier League stints, if they are to extend their Premier League run to eight years. 

    Prediction: relegated in 18th position 

2. Norwich City

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    Norwich is another strange team to decipher. They can hang around with everybody, but they cannot close the deal. They either give up a lead and draw or give up a draw and lose. They have to close out matches better, however, they do not have a great team for holding leads.

    They have two excellent outside backs on loan Ritchie De Laet (from Manchester United) and Kyle Naughton (from Tottenham), but both De Laet and Naughton are better going forward than defending. Their midfield is in shambles and they have no reliable goal scorers, but they have shown the ability to compete.

    I don’t think that Norwich has enough to stay up though and look for them to go right back down to the championship.

    Prediction: relegated in 19th position

1. Swansea City

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    The first Welsh club ever in the Premier League, Swansea is a great story of a small-market team that went up three divisions in five years to get to the Premier League. However, the fairytale will be short-lived, as they just don’t have enough talent to stay in the top flight.

    Hopefully, Wayne Routledge and Leon Britton will get more time to play in the midfield together as they could be a bright spot in an other wise bleak future for the Swans.    

    Prediction: relegated in 20th position