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JD—Swansea seem favourite. They simply cannot score goals, which is a shame, because their approach play is excellent. Swansea's passing achieves the sought after double of being pleasing on the eye and executed with real purpose. They must fashion a strikeforce to reward their style.
As difficult as it is to admit, this could be one season too many for Wigan. It is difficult to place them in a 'most likely' category, given that they have looked in considerable danger for the last few seasons, but somehow always manage to escape. But they have failed to upgrade in any real way since last season and suffer from their own ineptitude in front of goal.There is a plethora of candidates for the third spot.
None of Blackburn, Bolton Sunderland or West Brom can be easily ruled out. But Norwich take the last spot. They have enjoyed some recent success and there have been similar surprise teams in the past, namely Reading and Hull. Norwich will be much tougher opposition than anticipated, especially at home. But it is difficult to see them maintaining consistent enough form over the course of the season. Unlike QPR, they seem to lack the necessary firepower to help them pick up tough points.
RR—Norwich, West Brom and Wigan. I have not been necessarily impressed with these teams, and I don't think they have what it takes to stay up again.
MC—Blackburn, Swansea and Norwich. Swansea and Norwich have impressed, but still seem short of firepower as well as a few marquee names. They play attractive brands of football, but will surely need further supplementing in January to survive. For me, the whole Blackburn situation reeks of disarray. Steve Kean made some crafty last minute purchases, yet surely lacks the required pedigree or credentials to lead a top flight side. Supporters have already begun protesting against him although he is not even the biggest issue at the club. That would be the new owners.
999—Swansea, Blackburn and Wigan!
Swansea—While they will certainly score a lot of goals, unfortunately for them they concede just as many. Unless they strengthen significantly in the winter, which I don't think they will, I cannot see them defending well enough to avoid the drop.
Blackburn—They are just a generally poor team with a poor manager. Their biggest mistake was getting rid of Big Sam and I'm sure the Indian chicken farmers are regretting that decision. They expressed their desire to watch good football, hence the Big Sam dismissal but they have made next to no effort in bringing in the players capable of playing good football. They made their expectations and ambitions pretty clear, which are the dizzying heights of 12th position. So average players, poor manager and bad owners, it would seem Blackburn are all set for wretched season.
Wigan—This was a tough one. Between them, West Brom, Norwich and Wolves, that last relegation spot is going down to the wire. They've got decent players, a good manager and a great owner but unfortunately for them, after surviving by the skin of their teeth on the last day last season, I cannot see lightening striking twice.
SB—It's way too early to tell at this point. I'm just thinking back to the last match day of 2010-11, and how the relegation picture changed about eight times just in the time that I was watching Spurs vs. Birmingham City. The only one that I'm tempted to call right now is Bolton, and not just because they're currently at the bottom of the table, either. Their transfer window was less than spectacular, the injury woes have been dreadful, and now Stuart Holden is said to be expected out for an estimated further six months. Things are looking a bit bleak for the Trotters.
DH—Blackburn are my favourites to anchor the division this season. I think the lack quality in all areas of the pitch and they lack a manager. I'm sure Steve Kean is a nice guy, but he's a terrible manager.
I think Norwich will go down, because I feel they lack quality in midfield and that's a key area in the Premier League. I wouldn't be overly optimistic about them scoring many, or keeping a lot of clean sheets either.
And I'm hoping West Brom go down, purely because I dislike Roy Hodgson. If he gets the sack, then I want them to stay up.
Conclusion—Blackburn, Swansea and Wigan are the panels favoured three for a trip to the Championship!