Sorry Crystal Palace and Sunderland fans, it’s over. Pack your bags. Platform six for the next train to the Championship, calling at Yeovil, Leyton Orient, Doncaster and Dirty Leeds.
Okay, you might think this is a touch premature after eight games of the Premier League season but I’m feeling bold. I’ve had my morning coffee and the toast is on the way. Talking of toast, Palace and Sunderland’s Premier League dream is over. In their last 12 games combined they have picked up just three points and Sunderland are already seven points from safety. Ian Holloway’s men are two points better off but after their 4-1 home loss against Fulham I’ve seen enough to know their fate lies in playing second-tier football next season.
Palace have always been favourites for the drop and will almost certainly finish bottom. Odds of 8/11 with Coral look a pretty solid bet on that front although we wouldn’t be overly surprised if Sunderland manage to beat them to the wooden spoon. Fulham have been one of the worst sides this season in pure performance terms and for Holloway’s side to be so convincingly beaten by them at home is damning indeed.
As for Sunderland, they have a little class but no team spirit, no confidence and little hope. The “new manager effect” helped them somewhat at the weekend when instead of losing 8-0 they managed a respectable 4-0 loss at Swansea but we just don’t see them turning it around.
So, then, who will be the lucky team joining these two no-hopers on platform six? There are clearly several candidates, with Cardiff the current bookies’ favourite (i.e. third favourites for relegation) at 9/4 with Betfred. Hull, Norwich, Stoke, Fulham and maybe even West Ham will all flirt like drunken teenagers with the drop but we have to make a call and based on performances so far and the ability within the squad we have to say Fulham look decent value at 5/1 with BetVictor.
Eagles, Black Cats, Cottagers – sorted. Anyone want the next week’s lottery numbers?