Often at the start of the Premier League season, much of the talk centres on who is going to go on and win the title as opposed to who is going to consolidate their Premier League status for another season. The battle against the drop has at times been as equally enthralling and unpredictable as the title race itself, drawing in the interest of football fans all over the country. Last season, saw Blackburn Rovers, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Bolton Wanderers take the plunge into the Championship, a notoriously difficult league to get out of, so here we look at seven sides that could face the same fate come May.
Lets kick off with a newly promoted side! Last season they found themselves promoted behind Reading in second place, and return to the top flight following a seven year absence which saw the Saints enter administration and enter League One. However all those troubles appear to be behind them now, and with manager Nigel Adkins steering the club to back to back promotions, the biggest challenge now comes for the 47 year old, as he aims to keep Southampton up at the first time of asking.
Whether they like it or not, Southampton are not predicted to pull up any trees this season, and will have Premier League Status as their season aim when they kick off away at Manchester City. It will be a difficult start for the Saints, without doubt, but it remains to be seen whether kicking off the season at the Champions is the ideal start to the season. On the one hand they will have the opportunity to play the most difficult game of the season without any pressure, (think back to the pressure QPR were under when they travelled to the Etihad on the last game of the season), but on the other hand there is a real possibility Southampton could finish the opening weekend of the season at the bottom of the table.
Their opening fixtures of both Manchester clubs away as well as Arsenal at home in the first four games means that their fixture against Wigan at home is definitely a must win, if they believe they can stay in this division. Looking at their signings, the most high profile of which is Jay Rodriguez from Burnley it is fair to say Southampton will be looking at both him, Billy Sharp and Ricky Lambert as the men to fire the goals to keep them up. However these players have no experience in the top flight and will have to try and replicate their lower league form when it matters. Not only this but the main concern for the Saints will be, is their squad, the bulk of which saw them promoted from League One, good enough to cut Premier League survival.
Safety/Relegation Verdict: SAFETY
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