With only nine weeks left, the relegation battle is starting to pick up in the Premier League. Ten points separate six teams between fifteenth and twentieth place. It should be another roller coaster battle for each team. A surprise usually occurs in the final phase of the season. Based on recent form, it’s difficult to see things dramatically changing at the bottom. Crystal Palace looks more composed under Sam Allardyce. The same applies to Leicester City, as they have won four consecutive games since controversially sacking Claudio Ranieri. Swansea City has enough attacking talent to maintain their place.

The current relegation zone isn’t going to be different on the final match day. Here are the overwhelming issues surrounding each disappointing club.

Hull City

Marco Silva is a bright manager, but the lack of overall talent will ultimately doom him. No club had smaller expectations going into the season than Hull. Every analyst pinned them as the most likely team to get relegated. They were struggling to put together a squad of professional players at one point. Losing key players such as Robert Snodgrass and Jake Livermore left gaping holes in the midfield.

There is no denying Silva’s positive impact on the club. Hull is playing harder, creating more chances, and look slightly more solidified defensively.

Harry Maguire has emerged as a potential star. Adding Lazar Markovic gives them some spark on the wing. They are still missing quality players in several different areas. There aren’t any proven goal scorers or promising central midfielders. Relying on playing deep and counter attacking is difficult without any real goal scoring threat.

That will force Hull into another brief Premier League stint.


When you score 20 goals in 28 games, someone is going to be held accountable. Aitor Karanka’s conservative tactics didn’t inspire any optimism. Despite going numerous games without scoring, he refused to play more than one striker. Forcing Alvaro Negredo to chase long balls proved to be unsuccessful.

Middlesbrough desperately needed a new refreshing philosophy.

Nobody knows what to expect from Steve Agnew. As negative as Karanka’s approach was, the former Real Madrid assistant didn’t have much talent up front. Negredo is their leading scorer at six goals. Besides Adama Traore, nobody stands out as a potential difference maker. Middlesbrough’s defense is capable of keeping clean sheets. That isn’t good enough for a team with only four wins on their record. Not having enough attacking firepower will send them back to the EFL Championship.


Unlike their adversaries, the Premier League’s last place team has a proven goal scorer. Jermain Defoe’s resurgence is one of the true feel good stories over the past two seasons.

Unfortunately for Sunderland, he doesn’t have any support. Defoe has scored 14 of their 24 goals. No club can rely on one goal scorer and expect to be successful. It doesn’t help that Sunderland has conceded 50 goals in 28 games.

They didn’t make any effective signings over the summer. Financial trouble has derailed David Moyes’ plans. Some expected Moyes to elevate an inexperienced squad. That hasn’t been the case, as bringing in highly touted players from big clubs hasn’t worked. Adnan Januzaj has been a major disappointment. With a shaky back four and no midfield presence, Sunderland’s outlook isn’t promising. They didn’t bring in any winter signings unlike last year. Can last year’s heroes Lamine Kone and Wahbi Khazri save them again? It’s difficult to see that happening.