Premier League 2017/18 Battle for PL Survival: who will go down?

I have not done anything on football for a long time now. For my plans in 2018, I said I would commit to continuing to produce Match Thoughts posts when I caught up with the monthly review posts. This has not materialised due to a mix of personal circumstances and balancing other priorities. Instead, for the remainder of the season, I will turn to a series of questions to answer in the closing weeks of the season. This starts with the battle for survival in the Premier League.

As the Premier League returns this weekend following the final international break before this summers World Cup, most teams only have seven or eight games left and the bottom of the table could not be tighter. Whilst one team are well adrift in 20th, the other two teams in the bottom three are only a matter of nine points away from 10th. That means anyone of West Brom, Stoke City, Southampton, West Ham, Crystal Palace, Huddersfield Town, Swansea City, Newcastle United, Brighton & Hove Albion, Watford and Bournemouth are all in the relegation picture. But, who do I think it will be?

West Brom

Position: 20th, 20 Points
Played 31, 3 Wins, 11 Draws, 17 Defeats, 29 Goals Scored, 49 Goals Against, -25 Goal Difference
Manager: Alan Pardew
Top Scorer: Solomon Rondon 6
Remaining fixtures: Burnley (home), Swansea (home), Manchester United (away), Liverpool (away), Newcastle United (away), Tottenham Hotspur (home), Crystal Palace (away). read more

F1 2018 Season Preview

Well, 2017 was an entertaining year in Formula One and was certainly tenser in terms of the Championships. That was in no small part down to Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari who took the battle to Mercedes. However, it was Mercedes who won both titles for the fourth successive year as Lewis Hamilton won his 4th title in a record-breaking year!

2017 Australian Grand Prix Podium with Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari (centre) the race winner; Lewis Hamilton (left) in 2nd and Valtteri Bottas (right) in 3rd [Image from The Daily Mirror]

Vettel’s claim to the title began when the overcut worked well in Australia. Ferrari keeping him out longer than Hamilton allowed them to leapfrog the Mercedes to their first opening-round victory since 2010. Victories in Bahrain and Monaco left Vettel in a commanding position in the standings. Despite Grand Slam victories in China and Canada, Hamilton was still a fair way behind the German which was contributed to by the stir caused by Valtteri Bottas. The Finn took pole in Bahrain as well as victories in Russia and Austria to keep Hamilton earnest. Vettel still had the upper hand after F1’s crazy weekend in Azerbaijan. The German had steered into Hamilton behind the Safety Car prompting the stewards to give him a 10-second penalty. Hamilton though had a headboard issue to deal with meaning Vettel finished ahead as Daniel Ricciardo picked up his only win the season. It seemed luck was not on Hamilton’s side. Hamilton stormed to a fifth British Grand Prix victory at Silverstone and closed the gap down to a single point after a late puncture for Vettel saw him drop to 7th. Vettel came back with a victory in Hungary with Raikkonen either unable or not allowed to overtake his teammate. read more