QPR, Reading and Norwich set for Premier League relegation
Southampton, Wigan and Aston Villa also in battle to fight the drop
The Premier League season is just eight games old, but already the likely relegation candidates are taking up residence at the bottom end of the table.
Propping up the division is Mark Hughes’ struggling QPR side, and with odds of 9/5 to get relegated, many punters are sure to be betting against Sparky this year.
Rangers have taken just two points from their opening seven clashes, and pressure has ramped up on Hughes to be the league’s first managerial casualty.
QPR will hope to turnaround their woeful start to the season in the months to come as their new-look side begins to gel.
If Hughes does get the axe from owner Tony Fernandes then ex-Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp is waiting in the wings to take over.
Undoubtedly individual talents like Esteban Granero, Adel Taarabt and Júlio César are a factor in QPR’s long odds for relegation, but until their stars start working as a team the 2010/11 Champions winners look set for the drop.
Just a point ahead of the West London club lie Reading, and the newly-promoted Royals side join QPR in being the only teams in the league not to have won so far this season following Norwich’s shock win over Arsenal.
Brian McDermott’s side suffered their fourth defeat of the campaign away to Liverpool, and despite showing signs of optimism are odds-on at 4/6 to get the chop.
Reading have scored more goals than Sunderland, Aston Villa, Norwich and QPR in the league, but have struggled to convert their good performances into three points.
Draws against Swansea, Newcastle and Stoke will give supporters faith in what looks set to be a testing season for the Berkshire club, and their home form at the Madjeski Stadium will be key to their survival hopes.
Reading have a game in hand over many of their relegation-battling rivals, and don’t face any of last season’s top six clubs in the league until they host Manchester United in December.
Although the Royals possess a genuine goal-threat in Pavel Pogrebnyak, the squad is lacking in Premier League experience, and a return to the Championship wouldn’t be a great surprise.
Despite their well-deserved first victory of the campaign against Arsenal, Chris Hughton’s Norwich are also odds-on at 8/11 to suffer relegation from the top flight.
Southampton have just four points so far in the league, but a testing early fixture list and a tendency to ship goals have left them short at 3/4 to line up in England’s second tier next year.
Given the Saints impressive attacking displays against the bigger teams, they should begin to pick up points against easier opposition, although a 4-1 loss to West Ham failed to address their defensive deficiencies.
Great escape specialists Wigan can be backed at 6/4 to finally fall through the Premier League trap door, while Aston Villa are priced at 11/4.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.