The Fight For Survival

It’s really starting to heat up at the bottom of the Premier League table. Just two points separate the bottom six going into the weekend and making a call on the favourites to go down is certainly getting harder at the moment.

Hull appeared to be a team on the brink of relegation before the turn of the new year, having only won two games out of 18 since August. They brought in Marco Silva from Olympiakos, and many fans and pundits were sceptical, but it seems they have their fighting spirit back and look capable of getting a good run going.

The surprise party at the bottom for me is Crystal Palace. Who doesn’t believe in Big Sam? Relegation battles are his forte and for years this man has pulled off some miracles by taking teams out of trouble at the bottom. When he went to Crystal Palace I was thinking he’s going to get them fit and give them all a wake-up call, and then we’ll start seeing an improvement.

It slowly started to work and the win against Bournemouth was a great boost, but then came Sunderland and Defoe – who I still think is one of the best strikers in and around the box. He scores consistently at every club he plays for, every season, and age doesn’t seem to be slowing him down.

Sunderland look like a great team on paper and have enough quality to survive, but they keep being punished because of their organisation most of the time. They sometimes attack with the whole team and when they lose the ball they’ve committed too many players forward so it’s easy to run right through their defence.

Leicester City have come out with a statement that shows a lot of confidence in Claudio Ranieri, and his ability to resolve their current situation.
It must be mentally challenging going from a team that would beat everyone with a 10 out of 10 performance. That’s no longer the case and you can see how hard it is when you have a great team but lack the spirit and belief. The individuals that were doing so well last season need to stand up.

I know there’s quality in that team even though their key player Kante went to Chelsea. Yes he is a big loss for Leicester but they could have fixed it because it was a move they could see coming. The energy and work rate and understanding of the game he has would of course be noticed by any top team. He’s now heading for a second title and his old teammates are battling to stay in the league.

Let me tell you relegation is still the only thing I regret happening to myself. Now the pressure is on the likes of Morgan, Vardy and Mahrez. the question is now can they carry the team in these crucial remainder of the season? They were a joy to watch but now they need to help the rest. I know it is bad to say but the captain and any other experienced players are where the squad start looking for help when times are tough, and that’s the case now at Leicester. Ranieri needs to start asking more of the stars of last season.

I don’t think all three teams currently in the relegation zone will go down – at least one, and with better organisation and fitness maybe two will be safe. At this point I still think Big Sam has a great chance but he needs to get back to his old ways and transform Palace into a team that no one wants to play against.

Let’s see what changes this week because I think the bottom is as exciting as the top and that’s why I love the Premier League.