With almost a third of the season gone already, is it time for the clubs at the bottom of the table to look at some games as a “6 pointer”?
Well for the six teams at the bottom of the table, it may be too soon, but with the Christmas programme getting closer, is it coming to a point where any point is invaluable.
The age old saying is: “Look at the table after 10 games, and that could be where you finish come May!”
Now for North East football fans and one half of Birmingham that could be a worrying thought, as both Newcastle and Sunderland, as well as Aston Villa occupy the bottom 3.
But who will be there come the end of the season?
The Black Cats in recent years have managed to avoid the drop, but could ‘Big Sam’ Allardyce be the first manager to fail to save the Wearsiders. Yes they are coming off a sixth consecutive derby win, but celebrated that by conceding 6 against Everton the following week. Ok they have bought in new players, and another new manager, and it can take time for things to gel for the team, but having seen them play against Newcastle and Everton, they look poor. Their defending would look bad in a pub league, they look ok going forward at times, but have too many liabilities at the back, and club captain Lee Catermole is a red card waiting to happen.
Big Sam has turned clubs around before, he done a brilliant job at Bolton, and got a raw deal at West Ham, but unless SAFC Chairman Ellis Short can bring in some quality in January, I personally cannot see Sunderland as a top flight team next season, unless there are drastic changes to the way they defend.
What is going on at Villa? They have lost their manager who gave them such promise, lost their star striker to Liverpool, and brought in a host of players who seem to be struggling. Now French manager has come in to steady the ship of a team who sit rock bottom of the league, but even he probably didn’t realise how big a job he had on his hands until he saw the performance against Spurs on Monday night. Villa are a team who seem to be struggling, and are now entering a difficult run of games, which could seem the still at the bottom come Christmas.
And like Sunderland, they go into the busiest period on the footballing calendar with a new manager, but after the performance against Spurs it didn’t take long for some Villa fans to start the hashtag #PrayforRemi. But is the job of saving one of the original teams still left in the Premier League too big for new boss Remi Garde, only time will tell.
Another season, and a what looks like could be another relegation dog-fight for the other North East team to make the list. But could the tide be turning for Steve McClaren’s men, in his rebuilding programme at St James’ Park? I do think so, in their last few games they have been unlucky, tie that in with the performance against Norwich in the 6-2 victory, the teams first of the season, they could have enough to stay up. But like Villa and Sunderland, Newcastle look too frail at the back, luckily captain Colocini’s red card against Sunderland was rescinded by the FA, but the team are in a goal keeper crisis, with Tim Krul, Karl Darlow and Rob Elliott all injured. And with what could be classed as an early season 6 pointer against Bournemouth on Saturday, the team only have young keeper Freddie Woodman fit, with the possibility of an 7 day emergency loan.
On the upside for Newcastle fans, they do look likely to score, and if not for the heroics of Jack Butland may have come away from the Stoke game with 3 points, but things are changing for Newcastle, but for the sake of their premier League survival, need to change quicker.
The last 3 games have been a wake up call for the newly promoted South Coast side, after shipping in 12 goals, and scoring only 2. The honeymoon period for the Cherries seems to have worn off, and they are slowly realising there is a massive difference in quality between the Premiership and the Championship. Eddie Howe has done an amazing job getting the club to where they are, and have shown some promise, especially in the win over West Ham, but have they got enough to get the results when they need them, I’m not sure, but from what I’ve seen of Howe, he isn’t going to let them lay down and die. After all they have earned the right to be in the Premier League, but now its about fighting to retain that right come May.
With the team conceding as many as they have, and a tough game at home to Newcastle this weekend, they will need to be strong and heroic to stop the Newcastle front four of scoring, with failure to do so, could see them in the bottom 3.
The Canaries are back in the Prem, and seem to be making life hard for themselves again. But they have shown promise, and enough to grind out the results they need. In games against teams to look like they could get a result. In the first half of the Newcastle game, they played nice attacking football, and could have gone into half time at 3-3, but collapsed second half, against City, again played some nice stuff, but Man City were just too strong for them. I think Norwich play some nice attacking football, and in Nathan Redmond have a gem of a player, but injuries to key players could slow down their progress and drag them further towards the bottom.
But with Swansea as their next match, they have to go in believing that they can win, which could happen, and one good win, could give them a much needed lift, after 3 straight defeats.
Yes this may be a shock, but on current form and league position, Chelsea and the ‘Special One’ have to be included in this list. When it comes to ‘How not to defend your Title’ Chelsea are showing us all how its done. With only 1 win in the last four games, and that was against a sub standard Aston Villa side, Chelsea are slipping down the table. The club seems to be imploding in full public view, what with the whole issue of the medical staff and Mourinho, Mourinho himself getting fined left, right and centre by the FA, rumours of a player revolt, and Mourinho losing the dressing room.
But I don’t think Mourinho is too blame, for me it’s the players! Most of them just don’t’ seem to care, and reports in papers this week saying one player would rather ‘Lose than win for Mourinho!’ For a player to say this is ridiculous, at the end of the day, he is the boss, he loves that club, but it all seems to be getting too much. I do think they have enough quality to stay up, but like Norwich, they need a couple of wins to get that feel good feeling back!
So yes at this point of the season it is too early to use the term ‘6 pointer’ but it isn’t far of for some, and if results don’t go their way, Sunderland, Aston Villa and Bournemouth will occupy the bottom 3 after the weekend is over.
And I apologise to their respective fans now, but I can see it still being that way at the end of the season, I just think Newcastle, Norwich and definitely Chelsea have enough to stay up.