Established Premier League clubs needing to avoid the drop – again

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While many are predicting newly promoted West Brom and Fulham to struggle, most expect Leeds to stay up – so which other Premier League sides will be watching over their shoulder this season?

Bournemouth and Watford were the established teams to make the drop last season, with Aston Villa surviving by the skin of their teeth.

Villa will be one of those in the relegation mix again this season and you can expect some other familiar faces to be down there with them.

West Ham appear to be in complete turmoil (again) and there’s talk of huge issues behind the scenes after the sale of Grady Diangana to West Brom.

Burnley, despite a top 10 finish last season, appear to be going stale under Sean Dyche and talk of unrest there stems back to during lockdown.

Roy Hodgson has attempted to add some youth to his very ageing and one-dimensional Crystal Palace squad, while Steve Bruce has gone on a spending spree of sorts by signing two players from relegated Bournemouth.

Finally, Brighton improved under Graham Potter last season but will they have enough to avoid being in the relegation scrap this season – led by Adam Lallana?

We spoke to fans of these clubs ahead of the new season.

BURNLEY

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 31, 2019: Burnley's manager Sean Dyche reacts during the FA Premier League match between Burnley FC and Liverpool FC at Turf Moor. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

FAN: No Nay Never Podcast – @NoNayNever

Where do you think Burnley will finish?

I’d like to think that Burnley have settled into the kind of mid-table team we know they can be. After the dizzy heights of seventh and then a poorer season that followed, finishing 10th this time felt about right. Crucial to this, though, is keeping Sean Dyche and continuing to add to the squad to maintain competition for places and stop complacency creeping in.

Advice for visiting supporters to your stadium…

Well, who knows when away fans will be back, but when they are, regular visitors will remember that the cricket club, which backs onto the away end, always welcomes travelling supporters and offers them a base to have a drink and gather safely. It is right next door to where they need to be.

Anything new at your club?

New signings are quite rare at Burnley – so far this summer we’ve just added goalkeeper Will Norris from Wolves as probably third-choice, following the departure of Joe Hart and Adam Legzdins.

We’ve been linked with a few names but have learnt to not get excited, as business is quite often done towards the end of the transfer window. By the time you visit in January, I’d like to think we will look very similar to the team you faced last year.


BRIGHTON

FAN: Kieran Maguire – @KieranMaguire

Where do you think Brighton will finish?

Thirteenth. After a season of Potterball where performances in the main exceeded results, we are hoping to make some progress in terms of scoring a few more goals.

Advice for visiting supporters:

Have a great weekend, if matches can take place before a paying audience. Brighton is a lively city and something for everyone.

Anything new at your club?

Blue kit…and Ben White, Virgil van Dijk‘s partner in a year.


CRYSTAL PALACE

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, June 24, 2020: Crystal Palace's Andros Townsend (L) and Liverpool’s Andy Robertson during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

FAN: Robbie Scotcher – @RobbieScotcher

Where do you think Palace will finish?

We’re a basket case, so who knows. We have strengthened with two young exciting players in Nathan Ferguson and Eberechi Eze, and there will be more.

But will we lose any? You have to think Wilfried Zaha will go this summer – at this point I’d rather he’d leave and not goalkeeper Vicente Guaita, who has been exceptional.

Advice for visiting supporters:

Check the trains first because Southern rail can be a joke.

The Wetherspoons is your best bet pub-wise, while Tasty Jerk, a Jamaican chicken restaurant outside the stadium, is fantastic.

And know that if an eight-year-old scores a penalty at half-time he will knee-slide in front of you.

Anything new at your club?

We’ve actually signed two players before deadline day.

Ferguson from West Brom and Eze from QPR were players we had been looking at for a while – Eze is a South London lad.

The Zaha saga continues, as is the case every year, and we need another striker.

I would take Rhian Brewster on loan, but other than that, it’s all the same for now.


ASTON VILLA

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 8, 2019: Aston Villa's captain Jack Grealish, wearing a rainbow coloured captain's armband, during the FA Premier League match between Aston Villa FC and Leicester City FC at Villa Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

MEDIA VIEW: Sam Tighe – @stighefootball

Where do you think Aston Villa will finish?

Aston Villa are low-key rich. Their owners have deep pockets and are backing Johan Lange, Christian Purslow and Dean Smith, so by the end of the window I expect the club to have spent £100 million or more on three to five signings.

It all depends on the calibre of those signings, of course, but Villa’s defensive tune-up post-lockdown only left one issue to solve: how to stick the ball in the net.

Bring in a striker or two, and a goalscoring winger or two, and Villa will survive the drop. Don’t and they won’t.

Advice for visiting supporters to Villa Park:

Get to Villa Park in good time, because boy do those surrounding roads lock up on a bad day.

Anything new at Villa?

A new sporting director (Lange) is in and, remarkably, Villa now have three first-team assistant coaches – Richard O’Kelly (Smith’s man), John Terry (who Smith was given) and now Craig Shakespeare (Smith’s choice).

Why does a club need three assistants? Guess we’ll find out soon.


WEST HAM

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, February 24, 2020: West Ham United supporters protest against their owners during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

FAN: Hammers Chat – @hammers_chat

Where do you think West Ham will finish?

Fifteenth. We have some good players, but I am still not convinced by the manager and around the good players are others who need to be upgraded.

Advice for visiting supporters to your stadium…

Don’t come! But if you insist, you will probably file it under ‘do not return’.

Anything new at your club?

There’s nothing new at West Ham and that’s the issue.

We were joking about how Grady Diangana returning from his loan at West Brom would be a ‘new signing’ due to how skint we are, but it turns out he is getting sold and we can’t even have that.


NEWCASTLE

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 14, 2019: Newcastle United's manager Steve Bruce during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

FAN: Harry Bartlett – @HarryBartlett92

Where do you think Newcastle will finish?

Somewhere between 15th and 18th. The optimist in me thinks there are sides in the league who should be comfortably worse than us, and we should have more goal threat if the rumoured signings do happen then that’s a huge step in the right direction. That said, we still don’t have a fit-for-purpose manager.

Offering Callum Wilson a five-year contract at his age really isn’t the ‘normal’ Mike Ashley way, so my hunch/hope is that the ownership saga might not be quite complete yet. I heard someone say something about Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe firing us into the Champions League spots…

Advice for visiting supporters to your stadium…

You are tucked away in the heavens in the ground, so get yourselves in early as it’s a long way up.

Anything new at your club?

Unfortunately not. Same owner…you might have heard.

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