There was not much drama in the relegation battle last season with Fulham, West Brom and Sheffield United all succumbing to their fate and putting up very little fight between them. In the end there was a gaping nine-point chasm between Burnley in 17th and the drop zone, but the scrap to avoid falling into the Championship should be a lot more competitive this time, with the 2021/22 relegation battle set to be close.

As always, the three promoted teams will be aiming to survive first and foremost, with Norwich City rewarded for sticking by Daniel Farke, while Watford also bounced back. Joining them in the top-flight will be Premier League debutants Brentford, who also have a shiny new home.

Most fans will expect those three sides to struggle but there is a clutch of established Premier League sides who might have relegation concerns this season too. Here are five of them.

 

5 sides in danger of relegation in the 2021/22 Premier League season

 

Newcastle United

Newcastle ended up in 12th, which was a substantial achievement for Steve Bruce given the overwhelming pressure he worked under for most of last season amid continued takeover talk.

That continues to rumble away in the background with the assumption that Bruce will be quickly replaced as soon as new owners can complete a buyout of Mike Ashley’s shares. A lack of clarity over the club’s future could act as a distraction and, with fans returning to St James’ Park this term, there is the potential for the atmosphere to turn toxic if their early results are poor.

Bruce’s appointment of Graeme Jones to the club’s coaching staff was credited with an improvement in Newcastle’s results over the second half of the season, but they also relied heavily on the impact made by loan star Joe Willock, who scored in seven successive games.

Newcastle are working on a deal to bring the Arsenal man back to the club but, if they cannot land Willock again, goals will likely again be an issue for the Magpies. They could struggle.

 

Crystal Palace

Palace considered a variety of successors to Roy Hodgson before eventually alighting on Patrick Vieira, the former Arsenal captain who has coached New York City FC and Nice. Prior to Hodgson, Palace’s previous appointment was a disaster with Frank de Boer lasting just five games before being sacked, with the Eagles having failed to score in four league games.

Vieira will surely do no worse than that but a summer of upheaval for Palace could go either way. A commitment to lowering the average age of one of the league’s oldest squads is very admirable, but the experience of departed players like Gary Cahill and Andros Townsend could be missed. It also remains to be seen whether Vieira can keep key player Wilfried Zaha focused on life at Selhurst Park after the Ivory Coast international again failed to secure a move away. If the new signings don’t gel, Palace could be a contender for relegation at the end of the 2021/22 season.

 

Burnley

It is five years since Burnley returned to the Premier League yet Sean Dyche has his work cut out if the Clarets are to survive again. They finished 17th last season after losing seven of their last nine Premier League games, a run of good spring form having done enough to save them.

Burnley are under new ownership after a takeover was completed late in 2020 but it has been a similar story of frustration for Dyche in the transfer market this summer. They have completed a deal to sign defender Nathan Collins from Stoke City and brought in Wales’ Wayne Hennessey as goalkeeping cover for Nick Pope but a lack of squad depth is a serious issue for the Clarets.

They have two wingers in their squad after Robbie Brady left at the end of his contract. One of those, Johann Gudmundsson, is injury prone and the other, the club’s star Dwight McNeil, has been linked with Everton and Aston Villa. Losing him would be a hammer blow to their hopes.

 

Brighton

Last season’s expected goals darlings, Brighton’s actual goal tally was just 40 and they have not brought in any significant improvements to boost their attacking talent for this term either.

The return to fitness of right-back Tariq Lamptey is a boost for Graham Potter – still in charge despite speculation linking him to Spurs – but the loss of Ben White to Arsenal will be significant.

A £50m fee for a relatively inexperienced defender represents good business for Brighton but they need some reinforcements if they are to improve on last season’s 16th-place finish and steer of a potential 2021/22 season relegation fight.

 

Southampton

Sitting pretty at the top of the league last November, Southampton seem a lot likelier to be near the bottom this term. After beating Liverpool 1-0 at home in their first game of 2021, they then lost six in a row in the Premier League including a 9-0 humiliation away to Manchester United.

It was the second time the Saints have shipped nine goals in a game under Ralph Hasenhuttl after their infamous thrashing at the hands of Leicester City. To lose in such a fashion once might be considered unfortunate, but to do it twice is sure to leave scars on their squad.

Southampton have had a quiet window with left-back Romain Perraud brought in from Ligue 1 side Brest to replace the departed Ryan Bertrand and there are question marks surrounding the futures captain James Ward-Prowse with Danny Ings having now been sold to Aston Villa. The Saints were awful without him last year and could be right among the 2021/22 relegation mix.

 


 

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