Are we in a relegation fight?

You better believe it. 

Our current league position leads to a false sense of security, there are plenty of teams between us and the bottom. But we are now just 3 points away from the relegation zone. 

So let’s look at the main arguments  

 

Too Good to go down 

Our first 11 is too good, I have heard. 

But how often have we had our first 11 available this season? 

Taking just, Arnautovic, Lanzini, Antonio & Carroll. 

Under Bilic on average 1.3 were not available each game. 

Under Moyes it has been 1.5. 

Based on this, generally we will hardly ever have our best 11 available. 

 

I hear you say that Carroll if not in our first 11? And Antoni has not been that important this season. 

Ok, Arnautovic & Lanzini have only both been available together for 14 out of our 26 Premiership games this season. And some of these were as subs. 

So how many games will they both be available for in our run in? 

It seems our lack of spending in January was based on players coming back from injury, a big gamble based on our history on injuries. 

Even just taking Lanzini, he has missed 2 big spells already this season so no guarantee he will come back fully fit and not get injured again. 

Warning on this point of too good to go down – The 2002-03 team that were relegated. 

 

There are worse teams in the League 

I would like to agree with this but looking at the facts. 

Of the teams we have played twice, we have only taken more points from 

Huddersfield – 6 points 

West Brom – 4 points 

 

We do have Stoke & Swansea to play who we beat and some teams that we drew against. 

And even if we did take something from Chelsea away then I won’t claim we are better than them. 

Also take into account the other teams we have played twice and given them more points than we have taken 

Bournemouth – 2 points 

Crystal Palace – 2 points 

Newcastle – 0 points 

Brighton – 0 points 

 

Add to this, it’s debatable whether we improved or worsened our squad during January. We brought in Mario but we took goals out of squad which we may need in the run in. 

We are reliant on goals from Arnautovic & Lanzini who are both injured or Hernandez who we struggle to supply. 

Other sides at the bottom have improved their teams/squads. 

West Brom, Swansea who we helped, Stoke, Huddersfield & Brighton have all had a net spend in January. 

 

Games remaining 

We have 12 games remaining, 

5 against top 6 teams who we shouldn’t expect to get much from. 

 

4 key games, 

Watford at Home, our next game 

Swansea, Away 

Southampton, Home  

Stoke, Home 

We need to be taking 8-9 points from these games to give us points and stop them adding to their total. 

 

Leaving 3 games, Burnley at home in March and then our final 2 games of Leicester away and Everton at home. 

I really do not want to be going to the last game needing something from Fat Sam because how he would like to send us down. 

 

In Summary just based on the 3 areas above then we are very much in a relegation dog fight. 

This makes the decision not to bring extra players to the club in January, ridiculous and a big gamble. 

For me we needed a holding midfielder and striker with proven record and probably a true winger. 

 

We can ease the pressure by winning 2 out of the next 3 games but if we lose all 3 or only take 1 point then the pressure will really grow. 

Watford at home next is key to starting a run as we follow that with Liverpool away. 

By Darren Pumfrett

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