My 3 for the drop

Published: Tuesday, 07 August 2018

I hate talking about who’ll struggle because as we start again everybody is full of hope and full of expectation. Why spoil it?

The first thing the three promoted clubs will have to get used to is NOT winning every weekend. As all three swept through the Championship winning became a habit. It won’t be like that now. If they win 10 games they’ll have done really well and that should guarantee survival. It seems strange, but that’s exactly what Nuno Espiroto Santo, Neil Warnock and Slavisa Jokanovic will be thinking. Getting those wins won’t be simple.

You need fixtures to fall for you. Don’t panic if it doesn’t fall into place early on - the key is not to get isolated. If teams are in touch come March/April it’s entirely possible to get out of trouble with a run of games against opposition that don’t have anything left to play for. So much movement happens in those last few weeks.

Amongst the strugglers will be Huddersfield. David Wagner produced a miracle keeping them up last season. He’ll have to do it again. I’m a little surprised he stayed, but delighted he did and his loyalty deserves to be rewarded.

Cardiff will be down there. I’d love to see Neil Warnock have a successful season. The King of Promotions has earned the right, but I can’t see it. They’ll be up against it from day one.

I think Fulham will be ok. They’ve got a goalscorer in Mitrovic and that’s so important. If you can’t get goals you’ve got no chance.

Wolves should be fine as well. The Premier League have cleared their unusual way of doing business so it’s full steam ahead. If they need a ‘survival’ injection in January they’ll get it. That’s if the owners and Jorge Mendes wish to continue the project - or will they cash in and concentrate on Villa, where similar things are happening?

 It might be a season too far for Watford, who’ve played many of the same games as Wolves. The constant turnover of players and coaches at Vicarage Road will inevitably take its toll.

Southampton will be fine this time. Having flirted with disaster, for many of the same reasons as I’ve mentioned above re-Watford, I think they’ll look for stability now under Mark Hughes.

Palace will be fine. It’ll help enormously if they can hang onto Zaha of course, but they’re good for half way. They also have the best kit in the PL - the white change strip with the sash. Class. I love it!

Leicester are always a conundrum. Puel remains deeply unpopular with many of the players - and we’ve seen so many times recently - if a dressing room is unhappy with the coach, he generally goes. ‘Chelsea light’ have seen off the best - title winning Ranieri amongst them.

Everton and West Ham are a puzzle. Everton need a good start. I mentioned in my last blog that it could be a long season and despite the spending West Ham might have another struggle on their hands.

Bournemouth will always get a mention when discussing the strugglers. They always have to be careful, but they’re good for at least another 12th placed finish. Eddie Howe has done so well down there on the South Coast.

And that leaves Brighton, who I have to admit I’ve got a real soft spot for. A lot of my formative years were spent in that City. What a lovely part of the world it is.

Chris Hughton isn’t only a really good coach, he’s a top class bloke as well. The owner, Tony Bloom, is a fan, which makes him almost unique in the modern football world. He and his brother, Darren, deserve all the success in the world. It will be tough for them again - but I’m sure they’ll be ok.

So - here we go....



      20 Cardiff.