Sunderland may be content to have finished in 17th this season to confirm their Premier League survival, but this doesn’t bode well for their hopes of avoiding relegation in the next campaign.
QPR avoided the drop by just a single place last season and were then relegated in the current campaign. In fact, the last four teams to have finished in 17th have only got worse in the following season and ended up going down.
It is 6/1 that Sunderland make it five in a row by being relegated in the 2013/14 campaign and there may be even more mileage in backing them to finish bottom at 16/1.
The last three teams to narrowly avoid the drop – QPR, Wolves and West Ham – have all propped up the Premier League in the subsequent campaign.
Where Sunderland finish next season will largely depend on the impact that Paolo Di Canio has on the squad in the close season.
He launched into a rant after the final-day defeat to Tottenham, highlighting that there is an indiscipline problem at the club that needs getting on top of.
A host of new faces are expected to arrive in the summer in a squad overhaul as Di Canio looks for players that best suit his high-tempo pressing style.
His criticism of the players in the media must surely boost his chances of being given money to spend in the summer, which may prove a productive ploy.
However, it is worth remembering that Sunderland’s last two permanent managers Steve Bruce and Martin O’Neill both failed to see out their second seasons in charge.
It is 10/11 that Di Canio is not in charge of Sunderland on the final day of next season and if he is, history suggests that the club are in grave danger if they require a positive result to beat the drop.
In their five seasons since returning to the Premier League, they have now lost on the final day on four of these occasions and these defeats have all occurred by a single-goal margin.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publication