Soccer Saturday pundits' tips for Premier League relegation
Last Updated: 16/12/17 9:34am
We challenged the Soccer Saturday pundits to pick three sides to face relegation from the Premier League this season.
Just six points separate the bottom 10 ahead of the 18th round of Premier League fixtures, which will see strugglers Crystal Palace, West Brom, Bournemouth and Swansea all in action live on Sky Sports Premier League.
Sky Bet find it difficult to decipher those likely to face the drop, as nine teams are 4/1 or shorter to go down, with Swansea the only side odds-on to face the drop.
Here's who the Soccer Saturday pundits, Paul Merson, Matt Le Tissier, Phil Thompson and Charlie Nicholas are backing to go down...
I would be worried about Newcastle's form more than anybody's at the moment. They are on a terrible run, but their situation might change if they have investment from new owners in January.
Football changes. Who would have said seven weeks ago that Newcastle would be where they are now? If you can get results like West Ham have got recently you would think they will get away from it. Palace will get out of it, they are scoring too many goals.
I think Stoke will just have too much to get out of it with their experience, West Ham will have too much, but I worry for West Brom, who are not scoring enough goals, as well as Huddersfield and Swansea.
Will teams see Sam Allardyce's impact at Everton and think about change? Big Sam is different to anybody else. You go with him and it's completely different. He can do that at any club, nobody else could. Paul Clement is a manager and a very good coach as well. That's what they need. You don't need just a manager, you need someone to coach the players like he does.
You have to be careful with Swansea. They have a style of playing which they have developed under the likes of Roberto Martinez, Brendan Rodgers and Michael Laudrup. I hope they don't change and think 'we have to lump the ball forward to get out of trouble'.
Merse predicts: Swansea, Huddersfield and West Brom to go down (16/1 with Sky Bet)
Matt Le Tissier
There are 10 teams in the relegation battle and I include Southampton in that. Anyone outside of the top half is looking over their shoulders.
My first tip would be Swansea. I've not seen enough from them to suggest they can stay up and their horrific run of eight losses in 10, even though one was in the cup, is troubling to say the least.
Yes Huddersfield are on the same points as Southampton at the moment but I feel they will just run out of steam. It is difficult to maintain that early-season enthusiasm when you're losing heavily on a regular basis, although they did beat Manchester United and push Manchester City hard.
My third side are Newcastle, but that is based on the squad they have at the moment. If they get some investment in January and can get a new goalkeeper, somebody who is more of a threat than Joselu and maybe a centre-back then that would change.
Le Tiss predicts: Swansea, Huddersfield and Newcastle to go down (22/1 with Sky Bet)
Things change from month to month and we get asked these questions and managers get the hump, but it should drive them on. You look at Spurs and two weeks ago everyone was writing them off and now they're back in the top four.
Swansea have been poor and they don't look as though their forward men are going to give them anything to hold on to.
As the season pans out Huddersfield will come into the equation and I would also think Brighton will get drawn into it because they lack the strength. They've got a lot of numbers but they don't have it in the same quality in numbers as other sides, and you worry their energy levels will drain.
I think Palace and West Ham are on an upward trend so you would assume they will be safe. Newcastle have dropped like a stone, but you imagine they will be okay with Rafael Benitez's experience.
Thommo predicts: Swansea, Huddersfield and Brighton to go down (20/1 with Sky Bet)
This is tougher than trying to pick the top four right now, or should I say 'three, plus Manchester City'. From Southampton in 11th to Swansea in 20th they are all in the mix.
Palace are improving, working until the final whistle, and they would be sat closer to mid-table had they got another win last Saturday.
Huddersfield's goal difference concerns me and Brighton have the same problem, but I'm leaning toward the Terriers to face the drop because Chris Hughton has the experience of a relegation battle.
I think Swansea are going down despite watching them win last week, and if Newcastle don't get this takeover done and get Benitez some funds in January they are going down because of their lack of goals. We could suggest there's a few clubs in that bracket, but I do expect West Ham and West Brom to improve.
Charlie predicts: Swansea, Newcastle and Huddersfield to go down (22/1 with Sky Bet)
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