The 2015/16 Premier League season has crept up behind us, and now we’re just a matter of days away from the start of the new campaign. For some fans there’s a mixture of excitement and anticipation in the air as new arrivals awkwardly pose for photos with club merchandise, and other high-paid flops head for the exit.
However for the other 14 clubs, the threat of relegation is a far more realistic prospect than lifting the title. The dreaded drop is a serious possibility for a lot of fans who fear a deadly cocktail of a misfiring striker and a defence that’s flimsier than soggy Corn Flakes.
But what can last season tell us about the new campaign? We’ve crunched 19 years of Premier League relegation stats to see which finishing position is most likely to get relegated the following year. And the stats aren’t looking do sweet for Tim Sherwood and co.
Statistically the most likely side to go down, somewhat unsurprisingly, are the play-off winners. In this case that means Norwich. In the last 19 seasons (basically since the Premier League went to a 38-team division) 10 play-off winners have gone down the following year, giving them a 52.6 per cent chance of heading back to the Championship.
Closely following in their doomed footsteps are the Championship victors, and the side that initially narrowly avoided relegation in 17th last year. In this case, that’s high-flying Bournemouth and Aston Villa. Both 17th position and Championship winners have suffered eight relegations in the last 19 years.
In fact since 1996/97, the only five positions that have not been relegated the following year have been first, second, third, fourth, and, strangely, tenth. Great news for the big guns, and of course Alan Pard-iola at Crystal Palace.
In 2001/02 Ipswich were relegated, despite finishing in the lofty heights of fifth the year before, while in 1998/99 Blackburn went down after ending the previous campaign in sixth. Tottenham and Liverpool fans are unlikely to have many concerns, but it’s been done before…
The best bet to go down this year may well be Aston Villa. Based on the stats, teams that finish 17th the year before are already in trouble, and that’s before you throw in Villa’s recent outgoings. Andreas Wiemann (Derby), Tom Cleverley (Everton), Fabian Delph (Man City) and more than likely Christian Benteke (Liverpool) have all jumped ship, meaning that of their measly 31 goal tally last year, 19 of them have disappeared.
The signing of Micah Richards is hardly going to fill fans with much confidence either…
Their odds of going down are 11/4, implying that there is a 26.7 per cent chance of Villa being relegated. We’d suggest those chances may be even higher, and the FA Cup finalists are well worth a punt to be playing in football’s second tier in 12 months time.