Yesterday I looked at which teams I thought would be vying for places in the top six of the Premier League this season.
Today I will turn my attention to the other end of the table.
This was far more difficult for me to predict. Here are the three teams that I think will be relegated:
18th: Wigan Athletic
Every season pundits and fans alike tip Wigan to go down and every season they seem to beat the drop.
The Latics played some fantastic football towards the end of last season under Roberto Martinez, but the Spaniard will have his work cut-out repeating the trick this season.
Wigan have lost some players who have been the fabric of their first team in recent seasons. The likes of Hugo Rodallega, Henry Thomas and Mohamed Diame have played a crucial part in Wigan’s success over the last few seasons, if not last season.
The potential departure of one of their star players from last season Victor Moses could be the biggest loss. The exciting Nigerian international is entering the last year of his contract and big spending Chelsea seem determined to sign the young forward.
Martinez raided the SPL this summer for Aberdeen’s young midfielder Fraser Fyvie. The Spaniard also brought in promising Japanese winger Ryo Miyaichi on a season-long loan deal from Arsenal. Wigan’s only other arrival is Spanish defender Ivan Ramis, who joined the club on a free transfer from Spanish side Mallorca.
Martinez really has worked miracles in recent seasons on a budget smaller than a lot of Championship clubs. He has kept them in the top flight for the last three seasons, but with the league getting even tougher this season I think this could be one season too many for the Latics and Martinez.
The Canaries were superb last season on their return to the English top flight. However, they suffered a big loss this summer as inspirational boss Paul Lambert departed for Aston Villa. I feel the Scot’s loss will be a big one at Carrow Road.
Lambert had inspired the Canaries to two consecutive promotions and helped the club survive the drop from the Premier League pretty comfortably last season. At times they also played some really good football.
Lambert replacement is former-Newcastle and Birmingham boss Chris Hughton. I am a big admirer of the former-Tottenham midfielder, but I think that Norwich could really suffer from second season syndrome this season.
Hughton goes about his job in a quiet but effective manner and nobody in the game seems to have a bad word to say about him. However, I believe that the Canaries overachieved with the team available to Lambert last season.
They have managed to bring in Steven Whittaker on a free, Michael Turner from Sunderland for an undisclosed fee and Robert Snodgrass from Leeds for £3million. None of those players are proven in the Premier League. Turner may have played in the top flight before, but he didn’t always impress.
I hope for their managers sake that they prove me wrong and survive, but I just have a terrible feeling that their second season in the Premier League will be too much for the Canaries.
This is a completely off-the-wall prediction really. I was struggling to come up with a bottom place team and then just had a gut feeling about Reading. Brian McDermott’s team went on a superb run of form towards the end of last season and surprisingly clinched the Championship title.
McDermott has done such an incredible job at Reading with such meagre resources. A look at the Reading squad suggests that they did well to win promotion. The Royals have however strengthen their squad this summer.
They have brought in Chris Gunter from Nottingham Forest, Pavel Pogrebnyak on a free transfer and Watford centre-back Adrian Mariappa. They also signed former-Newcastle midfielder Danny Guthrie on a free transfer.
I would say that all four players are good additions to the squad and will improve the Reading starting line-up. Brian McDermott has his work cut out keeping the Royals in the Premier League though. However, promoted teams are so unpredictable that they could be the surprise package this season.
Two of the teams under new management this season West Brom and Swansea could struggle. The two men in charge of the respective clubs are experienced football men though. Baggies boss Steve Clarke has been a first team coach at two of the biggest clubs in England, in Chelsea and Liverpool.
The Swans new boss Michael Laudrup has worked with some of the biggest players and managers in the world game in his career. The Dane will just have to make sure that the Swans don’t suffer from that dreaded second season syndrome.
Fellow new boys West Ham and Southampton could also be involved in the scrap. It all depends on how they start the season. I do believe that the pair has made some good signings this summer though and will probably have enough to stay up.
I think this seasons battle to avoid the drop is the most difficult to predict for a while. Last season all the promoted teams stayed up. This season I think all three teams have it in them to survive the top flight, but in equal measure could all struggle.
The bottom of the Premier League is far more unpredictable than the top. The race to stay in the Premier League this season could be just as interesting as the race for the Premier League title.
Who will be relegated from the Premier League this season?