Premier League relegation battle analysed with stats
Last Updated: 08/02/19 8:33am
Which clubs will be relegated come May? We look at each team's strengths, weaknesses and upcoming schedule to analyse the risk.
There are just 13 games remaining this season and while the title race hots up, the pressure is mounting on clubs at the other end of the table.
Rock-bottom Huddersfield are some 13 points from safety - but just five points separate six clubs, from Brighton in 13th place to Cardiff in 18th.
So which teams have the form and resources to avoid relegation and which have frailties beyond repair? We check the strengths, weaknesses and upcoming schedule at each of the bottom eight clubs to find out...
Tough back-to-back defeats against Liverpool and Manchester United last month were followed by a 4-2 defeat against Fulham and a goalless stalemate with Watford last weekend.
The graphic below shows how a three-month purple patch leading into the festive schedule has bouyed the Seagulls this season, while they have only conceded more than two goals twice: at Craven Cottage and Goodison Park.
Only Burnley have taken fewer shots, but the Seagulls have scored 27 goals this term - more than six of the seven clubs below them, with Southampton having scored an equal number of goals.
At the other end of the pitch, the south coast side have conceded 36 - only fellow relegation candidates Crystal Palace and Newcastle have shipped fewer (both 33).
In terms of the players, Brighton have relied heavily on 35-year-old Glenn Murray this term and will need the veteran striker to remain fit for the remainder of this campaign to maintain their lofty position.
Pascal Gross has suffered a slight dip in form and has only recorded two assists this term - despite creating a team-topping 37 chances, with bit-part starter Solly March teeing up five league goals to date.
Hughton's men face an easier run after upcoming games against Chelsea and Leicester but face a tough run-in, with games against Tottenham, Wolves, Arsenal and Manchester City.
Palace kicked off the season with a 2-0 win over Fulham but lost eight of their following 11 games, picking up form with back-to-back wins against Leicester and Manchester City in December before dipping again, albeit against tough opposition.
The Eagles have struggled to convert chances, ranking seventh for attempts on goal but only 15th for goals scored - prompting Roy Hodgson to snap up Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi on loan on Deadline Day.
But Palace have been the joint-most watertight outfit of the relegation candidates, having conceded only 33 goals from the 25 fixtures to date - a statistic boosted by completing a league-topping 485 tackles.
Luka Milivojevic is top scorer on seven goals - six coming from the penalty spot - with Christian Benteke goalless for 412 minutes and Alexander Sorloth without a goal in 12 substitute appearances before joining Gent on loan.
The interactive graphic below suggests Andros Townsend has been the Eagles' primary creative source, with team-topping stats for crosses (124), chances (45), shots (30) and assists (five).
The Eagles' are entering their second-toughest run of remaining fixtures with back-to-back games against Leiceter and Manchester United, but will face Manchester City, Arsenal and Everton in quick succession in April.
Newcastle have lost nine of their 13 defeats by a slender one-goal margin - including a backs-to-the-wall performance against Tottenham last weekend.
The Magpies have scored 21 goals to date - only Huddersfield have fewer - but seven clean sheets and numerous stellar displays from stopper Martin Dubravka has boosted the Magpies' standing - despite the Slovakian making a costly error against Spurs.
Rafa Benitez's side have the league's second-lowest average for possession with just 38 per cent, contributing to an above-average proportion of passes going forwards (42 per cent).
A primary tactic has been firing crosses into the box, with this leading to nine headers so far - only Tottenham (13) and Bournemouth (10) have more.
Salomon Rondon has become quite a cult hero on Tyneside with six goals to date, including the decisive equaliser in Newcastle's 2-1 win against Manchester City last month.
Matt Ritchie remains the creative engine, but fans will be eager to see new club-record transfer Miguel Almiron and hope the former Atlanta United star will boost the team's attacking threat to secure top-flight status come May.
The Magpies will be looking to glean points from Huddersfield and Burnley this month before facing a sustained run of mid-table opposition - with the exception of Arsenal in April and Liverpool on the penultimate weekend.
Southampton have undergone a resurgence of form since the appointment of Ralph Hasenhuttl in early December, having gone five games without a goal leading into November before a 6-1 defeat at Manchester City.
But a 3-2 win over Arsenal proved to be the catalyst for a reversal in form, with the Saints only losing two of their nine games since beating the Gunners.
Southampton have only scored 27 goals but, remarkably, have taken the sixth-highest number of shots - behind five of the top six sides and ahead of Arsenal.
Hasenhuttl's side have lacked aerial prowess in the opposition's box, having only scored three headers - despite firing 430 crosses.
The goalscoring responsibility has primarily fallen upon Danny Ings after the club sold Manolo Gabbiadini to Sampdoria and Charlie Austin fell out of favour - but Ings has been hampered by injuries, suffering another setback last weekend.
Matt Targett has provided an abundance of attacking thrust down the left channel, while James Ward-Prowse is currently enjoying a purple patch of form, while Pierre Hojbjerg has been the hub for distribution in central midfield.
The Saints face Cardiff and Fulham this month before a run of tough fixtures, including Manchester United, Tottenham, Watford, Liverpool and Wolves - but primarily face bottom-half opposition in their final four games.
Burnley exceeded all expectations last season with a seventh-place finish but have struggled this time out, shipping five against Manchester City and Everton - but the Clarets have moved out of the relegation zone following a run of three wins and three draws.
That reversal in form coincided with the return of goalkeeper Tom Heaton, who has only leaked five goals since reclaiming his starting place from Joe Hart in the 2-0 win against West Ham in December.
The Clarets rank bottom with their 238 attempts on goal and 18th for shots on target and passes attempted - while also receiving more yellow cards than any other club so far.
Burnley's success last term was built upon defensive solidity, which has collapsed this season, shipping a staggering 42 goals to date - only Huddersfield have conceded more.
Ashley Barnes has emerged as Sean Dyche's favoured frontman, netting a team-topping six goals from 33 attempts, while Chris Wood ranks second with four goals from limited game time.
Sam Vokes provided an aerial threat with all three of his goals coming from headers - but left the club last month in an exchange deal with 6ft 7in veteran striker Peter Crouch.
The Clarets appear to be missing a creative midfielder, with centre-back Ashley Westwood leading the charts for assists and chances, followed by Johann Berg Gudmundsson.
Burnley face one of the toughest run-ins, ending this campaign with games against Chelsea, Manchester City, Everton and Arsenal
Cardiff have suffered numerous heavy defeats this term, shipping three goals or more in nine of their 25 games to date - including five against both Manchester clubs.
But a recent three-game goal drought ended with a late consolation goal at Arsenal and was followed by an impressive 2-0 victory against Bournemouth.
Despite conceding the second-highest number of goals this term, Neil Warnock's side have kept seven clean sheets - primarily against bottom-half clubs, with the exception of Bournemouth and Leicester.
But the Bluebirds rank bottom for shots on target with fewer than three per game, and a league-low 273 passes per game - with a league-low average possession of 35 per cent.
The club's top scorers Bobby Reid and Callum Paterson each have four goals, the second-lowest return of all top scorers at the bottom eight clubs.
Victor Camarasa has made an impact during his season-long loan from Real Betis, topping his team for chances (36), crosses (93), while contributing three goals, two assists and behind only Bruno Ecuele Manga for passes among outfield players.
The Bluebirds have a tough rough run leading into April, facing Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool, while Warnock will want to have guaranteed top-flight status before facing Manchester United on the final weekend.
Fulham fans were brimming with confidence in August after the club injected more than £100m on signing the likes of Jean Michael Seri, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Alfie Mawson and Andre Schurrle on loan.
While the signings boosted attacking potency, defensive frailties have led to the club shipping two or more goals in 19 out of 25 games.
The club axed Slavisa Jokanovic in November after six successive defeats and appointed former Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri, with the club experiencing a slight upturn in form under the Italian.
The team's possession style of play is a stark contrast to Cardiff, ranking seventh in the league with 451 passes per game, but their league-high 55 goals conceded have led to their current standing, seven points adrift in the drop zone.
Mitrovic has proven to be a huge success at Craven Cottage, reaching double figures for goals with his double against the Seagulls, while also contributing in other areas such as winning duels and distribution.
Seri has helped contribute to the club's average possession of 48 per cent with a team-high 1,363 passes and created 51 chances, of which only two resulted in goals - but the Ivorian has also fired 95 crosses.
Fulham host Manchester United on Saturday and face only top-half opposition in six out of seven fixtures from early March, kicking off against Chelsea at the Cottage - but a final weekend meeting with Newcastle could prove decisive.
Things looked bleak from the get-go for Huddersfield this term, losing 3-0 to Chelsea on the opening day before being smashed 6-0 by Manchester City the following weekend.
Back-to-back draws offered glimpses of hope following those heavy defeats, but the Terriers failed to maintain that form and have won only two games to date - against Fulham and Wolves.
David Wagner left the club last month after a goalless stalemate with Cardiff followed a run of eight defeats, but things have only got worse since, failing to score and shipping nine goals in just three games.
In fact, scoring goals has been Huddersfield's biggest problem all season, finding the back of the net just 13 times - eight fewer than any other club.
That lack of potency in front of goal is emphasised by their current top scorer: centre-back Zanka with three.
Steve Mounie has only hit the back of the net on one occasion from a team-topping 39 shots - contributing to a league-low conversion rate of just seven per cent.
Huddersfield's easiest run comes after hosting Arsenal this weekend, but Jan Siewert's side face a tough April and May against Leicester, Spurs, Liverpool and Manchester United before ending their campaign at Southampton.
Burnley could be under pressure if Cardiff capitalise on an favourable run of games in the upcoming weeks, while the Clarets also face one of the toughest run-ins.
Southampton should secure top-flight survival if they can salvage points during a tricky run of fixtures from early March, while Fulham appear to be in difficulties with an unfavourable schedule.
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