While Arsenal start to create some space for themselves at the top of the Premier League, at the other end of the table things are getting tighter with just four points separating the bottom seven teams.
Nottingham Forest were the surprise package at the weekend holding Chelsea to a 1-1 draw and earning a valuable point while the four teams around them were all defeated. Every point is so valuable when you are fighting for survival and Forest went into the game knowing a win would move them out of the relegation zone. They couldn’t claim all three points, but would be happy with the single point, especially after their 3-0 defeat to Man Utd earlier in the week.
West Ham have lost five games in a row which puts them level on points with Forest, but outside the relegation zone with superior goal difference. Relegation is a real threat and fear for David Moyes’ team who need to turn things around quickly and start the rebuild to where they were recently, after a handful of successful seasons that has seen them battle for Europe.
Wolves are in a similar situation, but are starting to show improvement under new manager Julen Lopetegui. After a series of successful seasons that saw them reach high places in the Premier League, they are now second from bottom and battling for safety but as when any team gets a new manager they get a new sense of energy versus ho they played under the old manager.
That is why you can’t judge a team fairly before they played three to four games under a manager. The reason for that is because we need the players to get over the honeymoon period of knowing if they are able to play like that every week, or is it just because you want to impress the new manager while knowing you won’t be able to keep up with being the player you normally never show. Trust me, I have seen enough players do that, where they could be the best at training but in the game they go hiding.
Those are the last players you need in the team when you need to do whatever it takes on the pitch.
Southampton are currently bottom of the pile and also have a new manager in Nathan Jones who is aiming to turn things around with a huge game against Nottingham Forest coming up this week.
With the managerial changes we’d expect to see some impact at Wolves and Southampton, making this battle for safety an interesting one as we close in on the second half of the season.