Premier League relegation, the ultimate nightmare for any top tier club.
At the minute the bottom 10 clubs are separated by only six points and leaving aside bottom side Swansea, the other nine only have four points dividing them.
Jamaal Lascelles may say Newcastle are not in a relegation battle as yet but the table shows them only one point off second bottom and on a run of only one point in the last eight matches.
Safe to say Rafa’s players are indeed in a relegation battle and four Sky Sports ‘experts’ agree.
Paul Merson, Phil Thompson, Charlie Nicholas and Matt le Tissier have all given their three Premier League relegation predictions and their reasoning as to why.
Two tip Newcastle for the drop and two say survival.
Interestingly, the two who have chosen Newcastle for relegation do also say that if the Newcastle takeover happens and players are brought in during January, then it could persuade them otherwise.
Everything is finely balanced but as it stands we still have Mike Ashley in charge..
I would be worried about Newcastle’s form more than anybody’s at the moment. They are on a terrible run, but their situation might change if they have investment from new owners in January.
Football changes. Who would have said seven weeks ago that Newcastle would be where they are now? If you can get results like West Ham have got recently you would think they will get away from it. Palace will get out of it, they are scoring too many goals.
I think Stoke will just have too much to get out of it with their experience, West Ham will have too much, but I worry for West Brom, who are not scoring enough goals, as well as Huddersfield and Swansea.
Will teams see Sam Allardyce’s impact at Everton and think about change? Big Sam is different to anybody else. You go with him and it’s completely different. He can do that at any club, nobody else could.
Paul Merson relegation predictions:
Swansea, Huddersfield and West Brom.
Matt Le Tissier
There are 10 teams in the relegation battle and I include Southampton in that. Anyone outside of the top half is looking over their shoulders.
My first tip would be Swansea. I’ve not seen enough from them to suggest they can stay up and their horrific run of eight losses in 10, even though one was in the cup, is troubling to say the least.
Yes Huddersfield are on the same points as Southampton at the moment but I feel they will just run out of steam. It is difficult to maintain that early-season enthusiasm when you’re losing heavily on a regular basis, although they did beat Manchester United and push Manchester City hard.
My third side are Newcastle, but that is based on the squad they have at the moment. If they get some investment in January and can get a new goalkeeper, somebody who is more of a threat than Joselu and maybe a centre-back then that would change.
Matt le Tissier relegation predictions:
Swansea, Huddersfield and Newcastle
Swansea have been poor and they don’t look as though their forward men are going to give them anything to hold on to.
As the season pans out Huddersfield will come into the equation and I would also think Brighton will get drawn into it because they lack the strength. They’ve got a lot of numbers but they don’t have it in the same quality in numbers as other sides, and you worry their energy levels will drain.
I think Palace and West Ham are on an upward trend so you would assume they will be safe. Newcastle have dropped like a stone, but you imagine they will be okay with Rafael Benitez’s experience.
Phil Thompson relegation predictions:
Swansea, Huddersfield and Brighton
This is tougher than trying to pick the top four right now, or should I say ‘three, plus Manchester City’. From Southampton in 11th to Swansea in 20th they are all in the mix.
Palace are improving, working until the final whistle, and they would be sat closer to mid-table had they got another win last Saturday.
Huddersfield’s goal difference concerns me and Brighton have the same problem, but I’m leaning toward the Terriers to face the drop because Chris Hughton has the experience of a relegation battle.
I think Swansea are going down despite watching them win last week, and if Newcastle don’t get this takeover done and get Benitez some funds in January they are going down because of their lack of goals. We could suggest there’s a few clubs in that bracket, but I do expect West Ham and West Brom to improve.
Charlie Nicholas relegation predictions:
Swansea, Newcastle and Huddersfield
The final count up sees Swansea and Huddersfield will four votes each, Newcastle with two, then Brighton and West Brom with one each.
Let’s hope when the question is asked again (which it will be) in a month or two’s time, Newcastle will be missing from their thinking.