No one really wants to be contemplating a relegation battle before the new season has even started, but it’s a fact of life for many of the teams in the Premier League.
Get off to a poor start, and you’re always playing catch-up.
It’s mentally and physically draining knowing that you can’t switch off for even a moment, because that split second could, ultimately, be the difference between survival or falling through the trap door.
The situation is heightened for those teams coming up from the Championship, because the gap to even the teams that consistently finish in the lower half of the Premier League is a cavernous one.
Thomas Frank’s Brentford will almost certainly surprise a lot of people this season, and with the recent signing of Kristoffer Ajer from Celtic, the West Londoners, in their debut top-flight campaign, have already signalled their intent.
Brentford striker Ivan Toney says there is "no pressure" on the newly promoted club in the Premier League this season but that they "can't wait for the challenge" of going up against the best 👊 pic.twitter.com/9y2yLExD3l
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) July 21, 2021
A lack of experience squad-wide could be their undoing, however, and they remain at 6/5 to go straight back down to the second tier.
One player doesn’t make a team, but Billy Gilmour’s loan to Norwich City will be of huge benefit to the Carrow Road outfit.
During their previous Premier League sojourn, Daniel Farke’s side were consistently far too gung-ho in matches.
Though it may have worked initially, the opposition soon worked them out.
Despite Gilmour’s capture, they still look like a Championship team on paper, with BetVictor odds of 10/11 seemingly agreeing that they’ll be going back from whence they came by season’s end.
Time spent as interim manager of Pobla Mafumet and then at Dinamo Tblisi doesn’t really qualify him as a manager of Premier League standing.Jason Pettigrove
The case of Watford is an interesting one.
At 40 years of age, Xisco Munoz is one of the youngest in the division, not that this is necessarily a bad thing.
His lack of experience, however, could prove to be his undoing.
Time spent as interim manager of Pobla Mafumet and then at Dinamo Tblisi doesn’t really qualify him as a manager of Premier League standing.
From a more positive standpoint, a number of first-team stars remain from their last foray in the top-flight, and that’s experience that can’t be downplayed.
It might just be the difference maker when it’s time for the end of season shake-up, and that’s probably why Watford are a cautious evens bet to go down.
Who knows what Crystal Palace were thinking when they hired Patrick Vieira.
𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰 🎥
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) July 6, 2021
Though the Frenchman did well in both first seasons at New York City and Nice, his two previous managerial roles, things tailed off dramatically in both cases thereafter.
With the South London club also ridding themselves of 22 players this summer, the transition may well prove too much for Vieira, whose side are 15/8 to be relegated.
Newcastle have been teetering on the precipice for a while now, and with takeover talks no nearer to being completed, Steve Bruce has had to be content with shopping in the bargain basement for his new signings.
That hardly bodes well for a new campaign in which the Magpies will be expected to reverse the recent narrative.
At 3/1 to go down, they’re worth looking at.
It would be a huge surprise if Wolves didn’t struggle in 2021/22Jason Pettigrove
Jorge Mendes’ imprint remains all over Wolves, with the Midlands-based outfit resembling a destination for all things Portuguese.
The super-agent has an unhealthy hold over the club who have only really strengthened with the loan signing of Trincão from Barcelona.
Their other, low key, signings, will arguably take time to settle, and Bruno Lage is hardly the most inspiring of managerial appointments.
It would be a huge surprise if Wolves didn’t struggle in 2021/22, so to that end, odds of 5/1 to go down represent incredible value.