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Wednesday, 06 February 2013

QPR, Wigan, Villa, Reading or Southampton - who are going down?

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The battle to beat the drop is really hotting up. With the promise of extra millions for clubs in the Premier League next season due to the new TV deals coming into play everyone is desperate to stay in the top flight.

QPR, Wigan, Aston Villa, Reading and Southampton all picked up vital points at the weekend as all five sides battled to beat the drop. But with 13 games left to play, who will relinquish their grip on their place at the top table?

Here is what our experts think.

Tony Ratton, Sunderland fan

"I think QPR, Reading and Aston Villa will go down. While QPR have spent big and have had some impressive results they are drawing too many games. Again Reading have done well lately but their squad is not big enough and once injuries kick in I see them slipping down the table again. Aston Villa have too many young players and while they can score goalsls their defence is too vulnerable."

Villa celebrateDave Blackburn, Bolton fan

"This a tough one as it is close down there but on current form the three will be QPR, Villa and Wigan. QPR can't buy a win at the moment, drawing too many games and have got too much to do. Villa's confidence is shot and they didn't strengthen in the window or have enough experience, while Wigan's lives have run out, although their form isn't the worse; again too many draws!

"Southampton will just survive, although what they did to Adkins was absolutely shocking and Reading are playing on he crest of the wave at the moment! Anyone above these five are too far away and I don't think they will be dragged into it."

Matthew Beeby, West Ham fan

"It's hard to look past the current bottom three when it comes to picking relegation candidates. Even after their big spending January QPR still probably need to pick up 20 points from their remaining 13 games, and that's just too much. They may be unbeaten in five, but only one of those was a win - too many draws will cost them. Villa are free falling and everything about the club screams that they have given up and almost accepted their fate. No doubt I'll be eating those words after them spank West Ham on Sunday, but the squad looks too inexperienced and they've done nothing to change that...

"After those two, I think Wigan may finally fail at their Great Escape routine.  Reading seem to have worked out how to play in the league (a bit like Wigan have been doing each year at this time) and are now picking up points from losing positions."

Terry Kennedy, Blackburn fan

"This is a real tough one. It's getting tighter every year and will probably go to the last day again. My selections are Villa, not scoring enough goals - only 23 in 25 games. Wigan, they've got to go some time - I think the've used up all their lives - and Southampton. There's always one that goes down, that's just come up."

Dave Disciascio, Liverpool fan

"Wigan – Martinez has masterminded several late season escapes from the relegation zone before, but with a squad hit with injuries, it catches up to him and the Latics go down. Aston Villa – Worst goal difference in the league, and it shows. With the squad they have really should do better. Perhaps if they replace Lambert the players will show some desire. QPR – Under Redknapp the Rangers have drawn seven times in 12 games. Harry has produced a competitive side but with little fire power; eight home league goals all season. Not enough to keep them up."

Reading fcSoohwan Trass, Manchester United fan

"My first pick is Reading. They have done well of late, especially at home, but going away to Stoke next will be tough. Then going to Manchester United and Arsenal back-to-back in March will knock the air out of their final push. Looking at their final three matches, Fulham away is difficult for the best teams, but Manchester City at home could be made easier if the title isn't in the equation anymore and an away match against West Ham is a good chance against a team who could have nothing left to play for except pride. So there is reason for Reading fans to hope. But over the next 13 matches, I don't see them getting enough points.

"Next, I'm going with Aston Villa. After a good start to the season, they've plummeted down the table. It's not just results, but performance too. They threw it away against Everton and with Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea still to come, it might prove very costly in the end. Yes, they are a big club. But no club is too big for the drop - just ask Newcastle fans. But a match against fellow strugglers Wigan could be a chance to survive on the very last day. 

"The last one is tricky. I have picked Wigan because I do believe QPR can stay up as they have bought - or gambled - well in January and they have an experienced manager in Harry Redknapp. Wigan are experienced at beating the drop but there are only so many times you can flirt with relegation before it finally gets you. As things stand, I see QPR leapfrogging Aston Villa, Wigan and Reading - my three picks for the drop."

Sue Read, Norwich City fan

"I guess anyone in the bottom half could be sucked in to the relegation spots over the remaining 13 games. Realistically, if you look not just at points but goal difference, then we are talking about Norwich and below. Of those, I don't see Newcastle, with Sissoko and compatriots, going down, and think they will pull away into the top half. I'm biased, but I don't see Norwich continuing in their poor form. They had a dreadful Xmas, but, with the addition of Becchio, and goalkeeper Bunn acquiring Ruddy-esque form, and a lot of winnable games coming up, I think they will stay around where they are. The interesting teams are Reading and Southampton. They've won and drawn some really tough games recently, and Reading's resolve is becoming legendary. Not sure they can keep this up, though.

"Of the current bottom three, I really can't see 'Arrys All Stars being able to make up the difference. They are still drawing games when they need to win. Wigan's luck and end of season form may desert them this season, which leaves Villa. I can see Lambert's management and Culverhouse's coaching just making enough impact to keep these largely untested players out of relegation. So I'm going for QPR, Wigan and Southampton going down, with Villa and Reading getting clear by a whisker."

Southampton celebrateHugh Larkin, Squarefootball writer

"It's a very tight race this year with no-one tailed off. I'd have to take QPR to come up a bit short and Aston Villa have just too little experience. The third spot is a real toss-up between Reading, Southampton and Wigan. The Latics keep finding enough wins to survive and I take them to manufacture another escape but I can't split the other two- expect it to go to the last day."

Mitch Waddon, Squarefootball writer

"Due to their poor start to the season I think QPR are going to be relegated, although not necessarily will they finish bottom of the table. Harry Redknapp is a fantastic manager and he has made some outstanding players but at the moment the other teams at the bottom are picking up points as well, which I feel will mean it will just be one step too far for QPR to remain in the Premier League.

"I fancy Aston Villa to join QPR in the Championship next season. Paul Lambert did not reinforce his side with experience in the transfer window, and although the scored three goals against Everton at the weekend, they still couldn’t win the match and I believe their inconsistent defending will see Villa unfortunately leave the top flight.

"The last spot is between Reading and Southampton for me. Wigan have proved time and time again that just when you think they are down they come back fighting and stay in the Premier League again, and I fancy them to do that again this season. If you’d asked me three weeks ago I would have said Reading to be relegated but after Southampton controversially changed managers I think Reading’s consistency will see them stay up and the Saints  will join Aston Villa and QPR."

QPR missChris Goodwin, Everton fan.

"QPR almost certainly. It doesn't matter who Redknapp has brought in to reverse their fortunes. Unfamiliar faces in the dressing room, moreover, players are unfamiliar with such scrappy battles. QPR I am afraid, cannot change history . . . bottom at Christmas means Championship football next season.

"Aston Villa. The once European challangers perennials are almost certain to drop. The humiliation of their cup runs have drove the final nails into their Premiership coffin. With fixtures against the top three still to come Villa Park will be hosting Championship matches next season.
"And Southampton. Despite probably having the easiest of runs into the season's end. Their shocking treatment of Nigel Adkins should be punished. The honeymoon period under Pochettino will soon come to a crashing end. And a quick return to Championship will come as no surprise."

Andy Wakeman, West Brom fan

"I think the bottom three will be Villa, QPR and Wigan. Villa because they can't defend and there is no evidence that this will improve. QPR because they can't score goals, it is obvious they are aware of this as shown by deadline day moves for Crouch and Odemwingie. Wigan simply on the law of averages. Surely they must go this year too many average players and not enough fire power."

So the general consesus seems to be QPR and Aston Villa's time in the top flight is over, but Reading, Southampton and Wigan all have a fighting chance of beating the drop.

We've been known to be wrong before though, so who do you think will be relegated? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.

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