8 Relegation fodder, St Nightmar
15. Newcastle United
Bobby Robson's enthusiasm will be tested to the limit this season. An expensive winger and a free from Bolton aren't the most inspiring signings ever made. Newcastle need wholesale surgery and I'm not talking about Dyer. Dyer is a star player but seems to have tired of waiting for the rebuilding to start in earnest. His fitness and retention as much as the return of Shearer will be essential to keep Newcastle clear of the drop.
16. Leicester City
With their squad being lured one by one up to Glasgow, this is a crunch season for Peter Taylor. Last season they were unbeatable until they reached the forty-point barrier and then went into freefall, Gary Lineker was right to be grateful when forty points were reached, because no one had a worse record afterwards. Ian Walker should keep Leicester up, but I think that Matt Elliott is worth 3 places to Leicester - so paying him what he thinks he's worth is a real no-brainer. Pay the man.
17. West Ham United
Glen Roeder may be a nice man but he may well be pushed back into coaching before Christmas. Divisions in the squad and the recent losses of Lampard and Ferdinand may mean disaster for the less than happy hammers. Cash is likely to be tight again and Roeder may not have a ready-made transfer network to discover bargains. For survival West Ham will need a brilliant home record.
In many ways Southampton and West Ham have had a similar past few months, both have lost good managers and both have had key players tempted away, with, in Southampton's case, Kachloul and possibly Richards going. The difference between the two is that Southampton has moved from the Dell to a new stadium, which will probably never be dubbed St. Nightmary's (apart from in squarefootball towers). The atmosphere and support at the Dell has kept Southampton in the top flight on several occasions and its closure may well curtail the Saint's premiership party.
19. Bolton Wanderers
Losing Robbie Elliot on a Bosman, and with no real influx of talent, Bolton will struggle. Sam Allardyce is a very good manager who really should have been given a chance at a big club by now. His inspiration may keep Bolton off the bottom but unless he makes some inspired signings very quickly Bolton's stay in the top flight will be short.
Only Arsenal have been longer in the top flight, but Everton have now finished in the bottom half of the table nine seasons out of ten. Something must give sooner or later. The sale of the best young players every year (Jeffers, Ball, Barmby) and their replacement by the likes of Campbell and Gascoigne will eventually tell. This is a squad that is top heavy with 'seasoned pros' and although this is good for a relegation scrap, the legs will get heavy when the weather worsens. Without the money to buy their way out of trouble this is an accident waiting to happen.