Singing the Blues: Is This Finally the Season We Lose a Premier League Ever-Present?
Will a former Premier League champion or one of the six ever-presents find themselves relegated this season? We turn to the form book and history to find out.
There are three teams in the bottom half of the table who wear blue kits and all three are in a difficult run of form. Two of them are former Premier League champions and two are Premier League ever-presents. Leicester City and Everton are fighting hard for their survival – even Chelsea might be starting to nervously look over their shoulders…
It would certainly create an unwanted record for Frank Lampard who, if results go spectacularly wrong, could have been in charge of two teams who go down in the same season. A quick look at Chelsea’s fixture list might make some Blues’ fans nervous as four of their last six Premier League games are against the top four, including three of those away from home.
But, in reality, most of the teams below Chelsea would have to go on incredibly good runs to really drag the Blues into the mire. How likely is that? Not very. After all, the Opta supercomputer gives them an infinitesimally small chance of going down, and one more win would take them to 42 points, a figure only one team in Premier League history has ever been relegated with.
Furthermore, only one previous Premier League title winner has ever been relegated in the years after their success. Blackburn Rovers won the title in 1994-95 but just four seasons later found themselves in the bottom three and heading back to the Football League.
It’s just seven seasons since Leicester City won the title, and only six for Chelsea, if you were wondering… But as you can see from the table below, it’s not unprecedented for champions to be relegated within this period. Of the last five top-flight champions to be relegated, three of them went down within six seasons.
The 2-2 draw between Leicester City and Everton on Monday night left the two sides still staring at the possibility of relegation. The Foxes moved out of the relegation zone but are level on 30 points with both Leeds United and Nottingham Forest below them. The Foxes have won just one of their last 12 Premier League games, and with Liverpool and Newcastle United to come, it’s hard to see them reaching the 40 points that usually means safety.
Dean Smith’s side will rue a missed penalty that could have put them 3-1 up before seeing the Toffees peg them back to earn what might be a crucial point.
Leicester were 13th going into the World Cup, but only bottom club Southampton have earned fewer points since the restart. Everton were already in deep trouble and endured a run of eight games without a victory, which led to the departure of Frank Lampard and arrival of Sean Dyche. This saw them enjoy a new manager bounce as they beat league leaders Arsenal and pick up a few points to give encouragement that they might avoid the drop, but form has deserted them again in recent weeks and they’re now seven games without a victory. With tough games against Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester City on the horizon, they may have to rely on victories in their last two games against Wolves and Bournemouth to make a dramatic escape.
Chelsea are in the bottom six in terms of points earned since the World Cup and following defeat at Arsenal they have won none of their last seven in the league and lost six on the bounce in all competitions since Frank Lampard took over, scoring just two goals in those games since his return.
Of course, the likelihood of them ultimately succumbing is minuscule given talent and experience at their disposal – but such a demise would be so astonishing it’s worth considering the wider significance given Chelsea are one of six ever-presents in the Premier League.
Yet, of those six clubs, Everton are surely the most under threat of reducing that number to five. It would also end the second longest current tenure of teams in the top-flight of English football.
Chelsea are presumably already looking ahead to another lavish spending spree and plotting their return to the Champions League next year.
But Leicester will be fighting to avoid joining Blackburn as Premier League champions to be relegated, while Everton seek to extend their record of 120 seasons in the top-flight of English football, the most of any team.
But it will take something special for the Toffees to avoid being chewed up and spat out by the brutal Premier League.
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