Wednesday, June 29, 2022

From Liverpool to West Brom – Who are the Premier League’s New Year strugglers?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, English Premier League 9 Feb 2021

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While Manchester City’s 4-1 romp away at Anfield last weekend might have highlighted their continued New Year charge, some Premier League sides have really started to struggle since opening 2021.

As we break into the second-half of the 2020/21 campaign, injuries and the current climate have wreaked havoc on teams battling it out across the country.

With the January transfer window slamming shut last week and managers having to do their best with what is at their disposal, we have taken a look at three Premier League teams enduring a New Year’s nightmare.

Liverpool

While Liverpool might have managed to land themselves those back-to-back 3-1 victories against Tottenham and West Ham last month, it doesn’t cover what has been a real blip for Jurgen Klopp’s men.

Despite opening the 2020/21 campaign back in September as the leading pick to reclaim their Premier League crown, the former Borussia Dortmund boss saw his side blown away over the weekend and their title ambitions appear to have taken another major dent.

With Alisson’s Anfield horror show handing Manchester City a 4-1 romp on their travels, the Reds now find themselves sat 10 points adrift of the league leaders and shockingly priced as high as 40/1 with 888sport to recapture their title this year.

With Klopp confirming that his side are now simply focused on securing a top-four finish, their continued issues since opening the New Year have come down to their stunning collapse on home soil.

Recording just a pair of victories in their seven Premier League matchups since opening 2021, Liverpool have remarkably failed to win any of their last five straight top-flight contests at Anfield, a run that has also seen them lose three home fixtures on the spin.

A torrid run that is highlighted by those shock back-to-back 1-0 losses at home against Burnley and Brighton, few would have expected such a remarkable collapse by the defending champions.

Southampton

While that shock 1-0 win against Liverpool at St. Mary’s back on January 4th might have got Southampton believing a fruitful 2021 was on the cards, there is no doubt that the Saints have come crashing back down to earth in a worrying fashion.

Eventually hit with what was an action-packed 3-2 defeat away at an inconsistent Newcastle over the weekend, Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men were undoubtedly feeling a hangover from that stunning Old Trafford hammering last week.

Despite appearing to have put that 9-0 drumming against Leicester last season behind them, the former RB Leipzig boss saw his side suffer an identical outcome when they traveled to Manchester United on February 2nd.

Becoming the first side in top-flight history to have a pair of 9-0 defeats to their name, let alone in back-to-back campaigns, Southampton have unsurprisingly found themselves freefalling down the standings.

With their outside European ambitions taking a major dent, the Saints have lost their last five Premier League matchups on the bounce, losing those five appearances by an aggregate score of 18-4.

Welcoming Wolves to the South Coast on Thursday evening when they turn their attention back to FA Cup duties, Hasenhüttl’s men should be glad to get a brief break from their New Year’s Premier League nightmare.

West Brom

Although West Brom might have seen Sheffield United break a string of unwanted top-flight records this season, the Baggies suddenly find themselves sat in a perilous position at the foot of the table.

Throwing away the lead at Bramall Lane last week in what was billed as a must-win encounter for Sam Allardyce’s new squad, they were hit with a 2-1 loss on their travels and find themselves now holding just a one-point buffer from slipping to 20th spot.

Already priced as low as 1/20 with Betfair to make an immediate Championship return this year, the one-time England boss almost appears destined to be hit with his first-ever Premier League relegation with the Baggies.

While West Brom might have managed to find themselves a brief bounce thanks to that dramatic 3-2 win against bitter rivals Wolves on the road last month, that was just a minor New Year’s bounce for the top-flight strugglers.

Suffering what was a routine 2-0 defeat away at Tottenham on Sunday lunchtime, Allardyce’s side have collected just a single Premier League point from their last five appearances, with that sole point coming in a 2-2 draw against fellow scrappers Fulham on January 30th.

Facing a stern test to Old Trafford this weekend, West Brom’s 2021 nightmare doesn’t appear to be coming to an end anytime soon.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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