As the new premiership season kicks off, dblockanny takes a peep into the worst outcomes each club might face during their 2019-20 campaigns.
Last season: fifth place, 70 points
WORST: The Gunners are at a crossroads and if they don’t kick on quickly, they could be vulnerable to being overtaken by the likes of Wolves, Everton and Leicester. It’s unlikely this season, but the worst-case scenario is the Gunners finish out of the top six.
WORST: Villa might face a difficult challenge as new teams promoted through the Championship playoff often struggle to survive the first year in the Premier League. If the new signings fail to succeed, Villa could go back to where they came from.
WORST: Bournemouth only takes Liverpool’s Harry Wilson on loan and this feels like the most exciting incoming player on paper. But if Howe gets an offer he can’t refuse from a bigger club, Bournemouth could hit the skids and find themselves relegated.
WORST: Brighton have no rivals within a 50-mile radius, but this feels like a crucial season at the Amex and the worst-case scenario is that if, Potter’s appointment doesn’t work out and they go back.
WORST: If Burnley can survive injury crisis, then they might end up maintaining and qualifying form next season and if not, the worst outcome for the Clarets, might be a relegation tag.
WORST: Frank Lampard’s return to Chelsea as manager has been well received by everyone at the club, but if he fails to perform at top level with his depth as a coach, failure to finish in the top four could cost him his job.
WORST: Palace have kept Wilfried Zaha for now but remain vulnerable to a fight for survival, especially if clubs come calling again in January. Keep Zaha and Palace stay up. Lose him and they face a long season.
WORST: Everton can finish as high as sixth and probably no lower than ninth, but ninth would be a bad season considering their ambitions. Finishing the bottom team in the Everton-Wolves-Leicester race would be a disappointing season, but probably as bad as it can get given the amount of investment in squad improvement.
WORST: Like Everton and Wolves, Leicester are knocking on the door of the top six, so anything outside the top 10 would be well below expectations and probably cost Rodgers his job.
WORST: Finishing second would be a blow, but with Mo Salah and Sadio Mane missing preseason because of the Africa Cup of Nations and Roberto Firmino and Alisson also playing catch-up following the Copa America, the fatigue factor this season could see the chasing pack deny them a top-two spot.
WORST: Finishing the season empty-handed is the worst scenario for City, but that seems like an outlandish proposition right now. Winning nothing and losing Guardiola at the end of the season would be as bad it could get.
WORST: There is now a fear among United supporters that rather than focusing on keeping pace with their top-six rivals, the real task will be to stay ahead of Leicester, Everton and Wolves. Failing to acquire a proven striker while letting Romelu Lukaku go will make it a genuine challenge. Could United finish outside the top six? It’s not outside the realm of possibility
WORST: Newcastle look to be a club close to a meltdown, with an owner (Mike Ashley) seemingly uninterested in spending enough to push his team up the table, which leaves their passionate fans on the brink of revolt. Relegation would be bad, but the worst outcome for Newcastle would be a repeat of what has happened to neighbours Sunderland: successive relegations and no sign of a route back to the top.
WORST: Norwich won promotion with ease but there are no guarantees in the Premier League and it can be an unforgiving competition. They might also regret taking the less popular road of retaining the squad that got them up and making no significant summer additions to account for the extra quality in the top flight. Norwich’s nightmare scenario is a struggle that sees them relegated again.
WORST: Manager Chris Wilder has built a committed, unified team at Bramall Lane, but if they don’t have enough quality, United could find it tough. Eclipsing Derby’s record low top-flight points total of 11, set in 2007-08, would be the worst end result.
WORST: If this squad doesn’t fully embrace Hasenhuttl’s style of play — he was once described as the “anti Guardiola” for his preference of pressing, counter-attacking football — and if Ings and Adams don’t mesh well up front, they will be a relegation contender again in 2019-20.
WORST: With their new stadium now up and running, anything outside the top four will be a major disappointment even if they were to win silverware elsewhere.
WORST: If the FA Cup final results in a hangover that affects this season, Watford can forget about the top 10, but Javi Gracia’s team are too good to go down. The worst they can expect is a season on the fringes of the relegation zone.
WORST: West Ham should be a top-10 club at least but they need to get their home form working properly having won only nine of 19 league fixtures last season at London Stadium. Otherwise, they will be risking another bottom-half finish.
WORST: The Europa League could become a problem for Wolves, who must play six games before the end of August if they are to even reach the group stages. If they become weighed down by Europe, it could see them crash out of the top 10.
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