Burnley head into the new season as the runaway favourite for relegation from the Premier League but with odds of 3/5 offered through Ladbrokes, those seeking a bet with a bit more value could do worse than back Hull City to fall through the trap door.
Priced at a distant 16/5 to go down next term, there will be some pointing to the signings of Robert Snodgrass and Tom Ince as evidence that the Tigers will have more than enough attacking bite for the season ahead yet, as so many before them can attest, that may not be enough.
Fresh from successfully navigating that tricky first season in the Premier League, Hull will be all too aware of the danger of the dreaded ‘second season syndrome’ because they have already experienced it for themselves.
Favourites to go down in 2008/09 a battling Hull side defied the critics to avoid the drop, with Newcastle United going down in their place.
But despite a summer of big signings that included £5m on Jimmy Bullard, Hull barely got going the following year with manager Phil Brown dismissed midway through the campaign and relegation confirmed by May 3rd.
And it could be a similar story for Steve Bruce – a man with previous for premature departures as fans of Sheffield United, Huddersfield Town, Crystal Palace and Wigan Athletic will attest.
Sunderland should have been added to that list, but a famous 3-0 win over Chelsea helped pull the wool over many people’s eyes in the final six months of Bruce’s spell in charge, during which the Black Cats racked up only a couple of wins.
The reality is that a similar story may already be being played out at Hull with the Tigers winning just three of their final 13 Premier League fixtures last term. In truth, the bleak nature of that poor run was only compensated by an appearance in the FA Cup final coupled with the fact the team had already racked up just enough points to be safe from the drop.
Bruce and Hull may not be so lucky this term though, with the Tigers set to compete in the Europa League – something that has proven the undoing of many a team facing a second season in the Premier League.
Ipswich Town are the most obvious example, going from fifth place in 2001 to a relegation battle the following season, in a campaign that saw them stretched even further by UEFA Cup games.
Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long may have arrived in January and delivered the goals required to keep the team in the division but the truth is that neither has found the net consistently during their Premier League careers – hence their respective departures from Everton and West Brom.
With Hull starting the season away at Queens Park Rangers, defeat there could spell disaster for the campaign to come.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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