Premier League: Which three clubs could go down?

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Norwich head coach Daniel Farke, Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder and Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith
Norwich head coach Daniel Farke (left), Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder (centre) and Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith (right) will be looking to make their mark in the Premier League

Over the past 10 seasons, two of the three promoted sides on average have survived, with 19 of the 30 teams finishing above the bottom three.

Only three times in Premier League history have all the promoted sides stayed up – in 2001-02, 2011-12 and 2017-18 – while only in 1997-98 have all three been relegated – Bolton, Barnsley and Crystal Palace.

With it likely then that a mix of promoted and current sides will go down, we take a look at the three clubs that came up and three whose place in the Premier League could be under threat.

When all three promoted teams stayed up (final position in brackets)
2001-02 Blackburn (10th) Fulham (13th) Bolton (16th)
2011-12 Swansea (11th) Norwich (12th) QPR (17th)
2017-18 Newcastle (10th) Brighton (15th) Huddersfield (16th)

Norwich: Goals galore

Last season: Championship winners

Norwich scored an impressive 93 goals in the Championship last season, with only Bournemouth in 2014-15 scoring more on their way to the top flight since 2006.

However, such an attacking approach saw them concede 57 goals in return, meaning that their games involved the most goals of any promoted side since Kevin Keegan’s Manchester City in 2001-02.

Most goal-filled Championship/First Division promotion seasons
Club Season Scored Conceded Combined Survived?
Man City 2001-02 108 52 160 Yes
Bolton 1996-97 100 53 153 No
Norwich 2018-19 93 57 150 ?
Bournemouth 2014-15 98 45 143 Yes
West Brom 2007-08 88 55 143 No
Aston Villa 2018-19 82 61 143 ?

Head coach Daniel Farke made the fewest changes to his starting XI in the Championship last season and with the lack of spending this summer, will continue to trust the side that won promotion in such daring style.

After his 29 league goals saw him crowned Championship Player of the Season, much will depend on 29-year-old striker Teemu Pukki. The former Celtic striker has limited experience in Europe’s top five leagues, with a single game for Sevilla and a few seasons as a substitute at Schalke.

Sheffield United: More than they seem

Last season: Championship runners-up

After conceding the joint-fewest goals and keeping the most clean sheets in the Championship last season, Sheffield United are the most impressive defensively of the promoted sides.

But that’s not to say they’re predictable or dour. Their 3-4-1-2 formation and use of overlapping centre-backs last season – with Jack O’Connell and Chris Basham running beyond the wing-backs – suggests manager Chris Wilder’s tactics could catch a few Premier League teams out this season.

Sheffield United's first XI in 2018-19

Going forward, the club focuses on quality over quantity. While 13 sides had more shots in the Championship last season, the Blades created the best chances according to expected goals, scoring the fourth-most goals overall.

As with Pukki at Norwich, the club’s goalscoring hopes will rest on captain and boyhood fan Billy Sharp. The 33-year-old striker scored 23 league goals last season, although his only Premier League experience is two substitute appearances for Southampton in August 2012.

Aston Villa: Are they ‘doing a Fulham’?

Last season: Championship play-off winners

With their spending spree this summer, the club have been compared to previous play-off winners Fulham and as the table below shows, there are similarities to what the London club did last summer before being relegated back to the Championship.

Are Aston Villa ‘doing a Fulham’?
Fulham 2018-19 Aston Villa 2019-20
% minutes ‘lost’ by players leaving 36% 35%
Money spent £103m £120m+
Summer signings 12 12
On loan the previous season 1 3
% minutes played by new signings 53% ?

However, considering that three of Aston Villa’s signings were at the club last season and five of Fulham’s signings had yet to join this time last year, Villa’s business does seem less chaotic, although the proof will ultimately come at the end of the season.

While Norwich and Sheffield United head into the season with their star scorers, the loss of 25-goal striker Tammy Abraham is a blow for Dean Smith’s side and puts a lot of pressure on club record signing Wesley, who scored 13 league goals for Club Bruges last season.

One player who will be key to Villa’s survival hopes is 23-year-old captain and boyhood fan Jack Grealish. After missing three months through injury, his return to the side in March coincided with the start of the club’s incredible 10-game winning run that took them to the play-offs and the Premier League.

Brighton: Flight risk

Last season: 17th in Premier League

After finishing just two points above the bottom three last season, Brighton will be hoping new manager Graham Potter can get the club flying again.

For while the club’s poor form last season began in December – winning just three of their final 23 games – their earlier results masked a side that struggled throughout the season, with their form eventually catching up to their performances by the final game.

A major problem is the club’s reliance on striker Glenn Murray, who scored the highest percentage of goals for a Premier League club last season (37%) and who turns 36 next month. The club’s signing of Neal Maupay could solve that, as the striker scored 25 goals in the Championship for Brentford last season.

Since only three Championship teams had more possession than Potter’s Swansea last season and only three Premier League teams had less than Brighton, it’s clear that the Seagulls will look to spread their wings with a more expansive approach this season, but there is little room in which to manoeuvre.

Burnley: A siege mentality

Last season: 15th in Premier League

Burnley survived in the Premier League last season despite taking the fewest shots and conceding the most.

In fact, since Opta records began in 2003-04, only Reading in 2012-13 were more heavily out-shot by the opposition than the Clarets last season.

Worst Premier League shot differences since 2003-04
Club Season Shot difference Relegated?
Reading 2012-13 -312 Yes
Burnley 2018-19 -292 No
Norwich 2004-05 -292 Yes
Sunderland 2016-17 -289 Yes
Birmingham 2010-11 -286 Yes
Burnley 2016-17 -280 No
Leeds 2003-04 -279 Yes
Cardiff 2013-14 -274 Yes

Yet Burnley avoided a similar fate to other teams under siege due to the quality of the chances they created and conceded. According to expected goals, only Arsenal and Liverpool created better chances on average last season, while only Wolves and Liverpool conceded more difficult ones at the other end.

Whether Burnley can maintain such quality this season remains to be seen, although the club’s improved form after Christmas meant the Clarets didn’t need to rely on it as much as in the first half of last season.

Newcastle: Where are the goals?

Last season: 13th in Premier League

Despite finishing 11 points clear of the relegation zone last season, the departures of manager Rafael Benitez, top scorer Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon could see Newcastle in trouble this season.

Those two players scored 23 of the club’s 42 goals in the Premier League last season, meaning that, along with the exits of Joselu and Kenedy, the club has lost almost two-thirds of its goals over the summer.

League goals in 2018-19 scored by players no longer at the club
Rank Club Goals gone Departed scorers (goals)
1 Newcastle 62% Perez (12), Rondon (11), Joselu (2), Kenedy (1)
2 Aston Villa 44% Abraham (25), Adomah (4), Bolasie (2), Hutton (2), 3 players (1)
3 Chelsea 41% Hazard (16), Higuain (5), Morata (5)
4 West Ham 25% Arnautovic (10), Perez (3)
5 Crystal Palace 10% Batshuayi (5)

The signings of £40m striker Joelinton and £16.5m winger Allan Saint-Maximin – who scored seven and six league goals last season respectively – will need to fill that goalscoring void, as will the returning Dwight Gayle, who scored 23 goals in the Championship on loan at West Brom last season.

With two top-half finishes and two relegations, Steve Bruce’s record in the Premier League averages out to around 43 points a season, slightly worse than Benitez’s record at Newcastle of 45 points a season.

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino
Tottenham have lost 17 away games in all competitions in 2019 – more than any other top-flight side.

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino says he is not worried about the sack despite his side’s poor form.

Speaking at a news conference after Saturday’s game at Amex Stadium, Pochettino said: “Football is a game that sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. The problem for us – it was win, win, win and it was praise for everyone.

“Now in the last two games it was a tough situation to accept. But I don’t want to be a philosopher or talk in a way that is not good.”

‘We will face the negativity’

This latest defeat means Tottenham, who were in the Champions League final just four months ago, have taken 11 points from 24 so far this season and have failed to win in their last 10 away games in the Premier League, stretching back to a 2-1 victory at Fulham on 20 January.

In total the club have lost 17 matches on the road in all competitions in 2019 – more than any other top-flight side.

The situation has not been helped by continued uncertainty over the future of a number of first-team players, with midfielder Christian Eriksen and Belgian defensive duo Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen in the final year of the contracts.

Pochettino says he takes full responsibility for recent results, but also insists he and the squad are determined to turn the situation around.

“Football is [about being] strong and brave and taking decisions; and to show your face when things are not good,” added the Argentine, who took charge of Spurs in the summer of 2014.

“That is what we are going to do, face the negative things and try to work hard to change this dynamic. In my position I need to accept all the criticism. The same when you praise me or the team.

“I’m going to accept it in the same way and it’s not going to change my vision, from you or the pundit because you’re criticising me or describing a situation differently to what you expect.”

Davis Cup: Andy Murray & LTA make ticket offer for Great Britain fans

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Andy Murray (centre)
Andy Murray was not selected to compete for the second successive tie but was a vocal supporter courtside
2019 Davis Cup finals
Venue: Caja Magica, Madrid Dates: 18-24 November
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra from Wednesday, 20 November; Live text coverage on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app. Click here or Live Guide.

Great Britain fans have been offered free tickets to cheer on their team in Saturday’s Davis Cup semi-final against Spain.

After Andy Murray pledged to “sort out as many tickets as possible”, the Lawn Tennis Association said fans could email the governing body to get up to four free tickets for the Madrid tie.

Dan Evans and Kyle Edmund booked Britain’s place in the last four with victory over Germany on Friday.

“We want you here!” the LTA tweeted.

On Saturday, the LTA said 800 people had requested tickets.

Great Britain, who will be appearing in their third semi-final in five years at the revamped Davis Cup, begin their best-of-three tie at 16:30 GMT.

The LTA, British tennis’ governing body, said it was talking to tournament organisers about how many tickets would be available for British fans in the 12,500-capacity Manolo Santana Court at the Caja Magica.

Britain were backed by about 1,000 fans in their opening two group matches against the Netherlands and Kazakhstan, with that number thought to be slightly lower for the quarter-final against the Germans.

Shortly after Britain completed their win, and before hosts Spain’s victory Argentina in their quarter-final, the ticket portal on the Davis Cup finals website was showing about 300 were still available for the general public to buy.

“I don’t know how many Brits are in Madrid. There could be quite a few,” captain Leon Smith said.

“If we do have an allocation that isn’t sold out, then obviously we’d like as many people to come and watch.

“One, for the atmosphere; and two, to keep supporting the event.”

LTA tweet
Andy Murray post

‘We need to keep monitoring Andy’

Murray, 32, did not feature in the quarter-final after captain Smith decided not to recall the former world number one, who also missed the match against Kazakhstan after a laboured performance in the opening win over the Netherlands.

In the Scot’s absence, 24-year-old Edmund has won both of his matches, while Evans dug deep to earn his first victory in Madrid against Germany.

Smith had said before the quarter-final that it would be one of his toughest decisions whether to name Murray in the team or not and he was giving little away about his selection for the semi-final.

“He [Murray] wasn’t feeling great on the court. It was tough for him and if we have players like Kyle and Dan playing at a really good level then they are ready to play. We need to keep monitoring Andy,” Smith told BBC Sport.

“While Kyle and Dan are playing at that level he knows it is not like it used to be where he has to play.

“That’s a good thing for us. The squad is really strong now.

“If it is the same team as against Germany then I’ll be really happy and if Andy comes in I’ll also be really happy.”

Britain or Spain will face Canada or Russia in Sunday’s final.

Great Britain's winning Davis Cup team of 2015
Great Britain won the Davis Cup title in 2015 – their first since 1936