With the start of the new Premier League season comes the question of which teams find themselves in a precarious situation. The favourites for the drop in the betting typically revolve around the teams that have recently come up from the Championship, but a strong case can be made for all that they could stay up.
Aston Villa have spent wisely, while Sheffield United have added experience in the form of Phil Jagielka to their ranks and Norwich City have the goals all around their team. This means there could be a real chance that at least one of the teams relegated this season are a Premier League outfit that have slowly fallen off the pace. There isn’t a team that has endured a worse summer than Crystal Palace, and that’s why they could find themselves in a dog fight to stay in the division this season.
The loss of Aaron Wan-Bissaka would have undoubtedly been a blow to Roy Hodgson, but the prospect of losing Wilfried Zaha in the same window could be the hammer blow to their chances. Palace are a worse side without Zaha in it, and that was evident in the fact that their win over Leicester City in December 2018 was the first time they had won without the Ivorian in nearly three years.
Of course, there is still a chance that Zaha may stay at Selhurst Park, but if they were to lose him, they would need to substantially invest in somebody that can bring the same quality as their creative spark.
This would have been a massive area for concern last season for Eagles fans. For a long time, they had been a team that have been difficult to beat at home and that had been their blueprint to Premier League survival. However, last season, they endured a difficult campaign at Selhurst Park. They only won on five occasions in front of their home fans, which was down on their tallies from the previous four seasons.
Not only that, but fans had to wait until the 1st December for the first win at Selhurst Park, and that is something that Hodgson will need to alter should they have aspirations of staying in the division this season.
No team in the Premier League has spent less than Crystal Palace over the off-season, and that’s concerning. There is a clear weak area for the Eagles, and they have failed to address it. They have needed a striker for seasons now, and the loss of Michy Batshuayi will be a blow. Of course, Christian Benteke is still at the club, and he could be the man to lead them forward should he get into form. But, his total of four goals in 46 appearances over the last two seasons fails to add weight to the argument that he has the skill-set to keep them in the division.
Luka Milivojevic was the top scorer for the club last season with 12 goals, but it isn’t a safe position to be in to have your holding midfielder as the main goalscorer at the club. The permanent central strikers at the club only managed to score a combined total of two goals between the four of them last season, and that is worrying. To stay in the Premier League, you need a player that can score the goals to keep you there. Villa have Wesley, Norwich have Teemu Pukki, and Sheffield United have Billy Sharp. The fact that the Eagles don’t have a natural goalscorer is an alarming factor.