They've suffered 12 losses after 20 games
The Premier League 22/23 season is gearing up to be one of the most competitive seasons in recent times.
Since Manchester City’s acquisition of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp going to Liverpool, the two teams have been battling at the top since 2018.
And, with City’s successful pursuit of goal machine Erling Haaland in the summer of 2022, many football fans thought it would be their title to lose.
However, it is Arsenal that have been the surprising front runners of the 22/23 campaign. As of January 27, 2023, they have created a five-point gap between themselves and Manchester City.
But, the shocks aren’t just coming at the top of the table.
The relegation places have been heating up with normal top-half clubs like West Ham, Everton and Wolves all fighting to survive the drop into the Championship.
The level of the Premier League is always high, but it seems to have turned up a notch in this current installment.
Teams like Newcastle, newly promoted Fulham and Brentford have been climbing the table.
Their success has not only made it tougher for similar teams but also for elite clubs like Liverpool and Chelsea who are finding it tough to gather momentum.
Therefore, it’s made the relegation battle much more challenging and closer than ever before. Some teams are level on points and others are only separated by a point or two.
So, we take a look at the clubs in trouble, seeing who can revive their performances and who will face an inevitable drop.
If statistics are anything to go by then Southampton have been the worst team in the Premier League 22/23 campaign (thus far).
Whilst their four wins (as of January 27, 2023) is similar to that of Wolves and Leeds, their 13 losses puts them in last position.
Whilst they had significant wins over Chelsea and Leicester, their performances have been lackluster.
The lack of energy from Ralph Hasenhüttl’s team meant the board didn’t wait too long to fire him and he was out the door in November 2022 after serving as manager for four years.
However, things have not improved since his departure.
Southampton’s main striker in Che Adams has not been firing and they’ve often relied on their captain, James Ward-Prowse to bail them out of situations.
The Englishman has been their most consistent player and is considered the best free-kick taker in the world.
But, this hasn’t been enough against other teams who seem more well-drilled and united.
It seems Southampton need a boost of confidence.
Fans thought their season was turning around after getting one of the shocking victories of the season against Manchester City in the EFL Cup.
However, they came up against a tough and much-improved Newcastle side who defeated them 1-0 in the first leg of their semi-final clash.
If Southampton can get a victory over Newcastle in the reverse fixture, they’ll find themselves in a cup final. That would surely motivate the players to get out of the relegation zone.
Luckily, they still have to play teams who are also fighting to survive like Wolves and Leeds.
It must also be stated that Southampton have shown some resilience in games and are slowly getting better as their new manager starts implementing his tactics.
If they can avoid defeat, then they’ll find themselves slowly creeping out of the bottom three.
The team with the least wins and perhaps the most underwhelming performances in the Premier League 22/23 campaign have been Everton.
Frank Lampard helped them narrowly escape the drop at the end of the 2022 season and they finished that year with a 1-1 draw against Manchester City.
However, that result didn’t mask the problems that have existed at the club for years. The nature of Everton has been aggression, grit and passion.
But, the Merseyside team have lost all of those characteristics and the players look deflated.
Ultimately, after two defeats in a row against relegation rivals Southampton and West Ham, Frank Lampard was sacked in January 2023. He was in the role for less than a year.
Fans have grown impatient at the board’s lack of football knowledge and it has led to protests.
There have also been reports of threats towards the board which has forced them to stay away from attending matches.
Former Liverpool player and football pundit, Jamie Carragher has stated that “Everton is the worst-run football club in the country”.
The togetherness that Everton teams have displayed in former years is nowhere to be seen. But, can they somehow revive their season?
It will all depend on their new manager and they have appointed former Burnley manager, Sean Dyche to take over.
Given his experience in relegation battles and no-nonsense tactics that stop teams from scoring, he seems like a good fit.
However, will a new manager bring a new lease of life to Goodison Park?
Bearing in mind that they’ve had prolific managers in Ronald Koeman Carlo Ancelotti, Rafa Benitez prior and all have failed in succeeding at the club.
But it is important to note that after 20 games of the Premier League season, Everton sit in 19th place.
They only need one win to get out of the bottom three (as long as the surrounding teams lose or draw).
So, we could see another scramble from Everton, but in truth, fans and pundits believe they are the most likely to face the drop.
Bournemouth have had a rollercoaster relationship with the Premier League as they can’t seem to sustain a place within football’s top-flight campaign.
Although they got promoted from the Championship in the 21/22 season, they’re examples of how different the quality of football is in the Premier League.
Whilst they find themselves in the bottom three of the table, consecutive wins will see them skyrocket up the table.
Although this highlights how close the 22/23 relegation battle is, it also gives hope to Bournemouth fans and players that they can stay up.
Struggling clubs have suffered from a lack of leadership, unity and quite frankly, class.
And even though Bournemouth have found it difficult to come up against Premier League competition, their problems are solvable.
Perhaps the biggest issue for the coastal side has been recruitment.
A lack of fresh, experienced and quality players has meant that the team haven’t been able to adapt properly.
However, they did buy Antoine Semenyo, a striker from Bristol City in the 2023 winter transfer window.
But, with only seven goals in 25 matches for his former club, will he really be able to ignite his new team?
It’s fair to say that it’ll take a lot to compete with Dominic Solanke for a starting place unless the manager Gary O’Neil decides to play both in a more attacking formation.
Although, Solanke only has three goals to his name after 20 matches so his form in front of goal has been poor.
With the likes of Southampton, Wolves, West Ham and Leeds to still play against, it’s not far-fetched to think they could pick up vital points.
Let’s remember, after 20 matches, Wolves are only above Bournemouth due to goal difference and West Ham are only one point ahead.
Therefore, it’s entirely possible that Bournemouth could shock everyone and stay up, causing a massive upset that many wouldn’t have seen coming.
When Wolves acquired experienced striker Diego Costa in the 22/23 summer transfer window, many fans thought they would reach new heights in the Premier League campaign.
However, in his first nine matches for the squad, he had no goals or assists.
The Midlands team were without their main target man, Raul Jiminez, for the majority of the 21/22 season with a serious head injury.
However, his return has also been underwhelming and he’s yet to score in the six games he’s appeared for the club.
The team’s poor transfer business was highlighted further by the purchase of the forward player Goncalo Guedes.
Paying £27.5 million for him to only make 309 touches in 13 appearances is baffling and he got loaned out in the 2023 winter transfer window for the remainder of the season.
Even though this highlights the club’s determination to make progress, it’s not quite clicking for them.
Although, they have acquired the signature of Joao Gomes, a talented Brazilian midfielder from Flamengo. So, could this help a somewhat predictable squad?
After 20 games, they only sit above the relegation zone due to goal difference.
But, they are only one point behind Leicester who as of January 27, 2022, sit in 14th place.
There are growing concerns from fans who think their team don’t have the determination or squad to prevail in the 22/23 season.
Similar to Southampton, Wolves have heavily relied on their captain Reuben Neves to motivate and steer the team in towards winning.
But as a midfielder, he cannot do this job alone and he seems to be carrying the weight of the club on his shoulders.
Without a lethal strike force and lack of squad depth, could the pressure of avoiding relegation prove too much for the team in orange?
In the 21/22 season, West Ham finished in seventh place, securing a spot in European competition.
However, in the Premier League 22/23 competition, they’ve suffered 12 losses after 20 games. That’s two less than they suffered throughout the whole of the previous campaign.
Whilst they arguably have the best squad on paper with the likes of Jared Bowen, Michael Antonio and England regular, Declan Rice, the London club are suffering.
It could be argued that the added European matches of this season, as well as the World Cup, have impacted the squad’s recovery time.
This is the problem for “smaller” teams who reach European competition.
It is a massive achievement but they find it hard to deal with the added fixtures in an already busy schedule.
Whilst West Ham couldn’t reach the latter stages of the Europa Conference League, this could reignite their focus on the league.
After 20 games, they are level on points with Leeds and Leicester but are only two points ahead of the relegation zone.
With Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United still left to play, West Ham could find themselves in a world of trouble.
If the surrounding teams manage to pick up results, then it will impact the Hammers’ progress even more.
But, they also have games left against fellow suffering teams where they will need to capitalise.
The Premier League 22/23 relegation battle is going to be one of the closest battles in recent times.
With surprising teams in the fragile zone, it makes the lower end of the table that much more exciting.
It’s important to mention that whilst the teams outlined are in the most trouble, teams like Leicester, Leeds and Nottingham Forrest are not safe.
They are on the borderline of trouble and things can change quickly when it comes to top-flight football.
It’s also crucial to note that the 22/23 Premier League season is different as the schedule of games has been impacted by the 2022 World Cup.
Regardless, there are media companies and pundits speculating about who will end up getting relegated.
Interestingly, FiveThirtyEight, a sports analysis website using data and algorithms has predicted the teams that will get relegated.
The FiveThirtyEight Prediction Table:
Their model has Southampton, Bournemouth and Everton being relegated, in that order from 18th to 20th.
Time will only tell if the Premier League 22/23 will deliver one of the best survival races of all time.