FootballPremier League

Premier League relegation betting tips: Are Everton set to lose their proud top-flight status?

January 25, 2022

EVERTON have been a permanent fixture in the top-flight since 1955, a year that saw Winston Churchill step down as Prime Minister and a young, brilliant Duncan Edwards make his international bow. Only Arsenal can boast a longer residency.

Could this be the season however when the Toffees drop, ending a proud and long tenure that had them crowned four times as champions and survive several relegation scraps, on a couple of occasions by the skin of their teeth? It’s starting to feel more ominous with every passing week as the teams around them begin to accrue points and they steadfastly don’t.

In their last 14 league games Everton have picked up a meagre six points. That’s their worst 14-game sequence since the Premier League was formed.

Last weekend was supposed to kick-start change or at the very least put a consistently failing side into the recovery position. We all recall how Duncan Ferguson’s appointment as temporary boss reinvigorated them last time, following Marco Silva’s sacking. Then, Chelsea headed to Merseyside all swaggersome and worldly and were pulverized by passion and resolve, as the Toffees ceded most of the possession but not an inch of anything else. The players tore into proceedings as if freed from shackles and results notably picked up thereafter, averaging 1.6 points-per-game in the 15 games post-Silva compared to 0.8 ppg in the 15 dismal outings that led to his departure.

Last Saturday was supposed to prompt a similar revamp only this time the fire didn’t catch. The fans showed up and made lots of noise because that’s what they do and admittedly the second-half performance was better than the first. But that aside, Everton carved out only one shot on target throughout against Aston Villa and this despite Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin starting together for the first time since August. Elsewhere, they looked ponderous and predictable, short on ideas and largely ineffective. It was much the same.

It is far too easy to pin this entirely on Rafa Benitez though of course his ill-fated six months lies at the root of Everton’s woes. The team too however must be held accountable with key personnel out of sorts and some frankly not fit for purpose, especially when we factor in the character that will be needed for the tough tests ahead. A squad deprived of options is another red flag that cannot be ignored, particularly at a time when Covid is taking as much of a toll as injuries.

Another worrying omen is the Toffee’s propensity to start games at a leisurely pace. This term they have scored fewer first-half goals than anyone else in the top-flight and consequently they have conceded first in their last nine league encounters. That’s a second personal Premier League record they could well do without.

Usually, when assessing the survival hopes of a long-established Premier League outfit – who by virtue of their longevity among the elite are well-stocked with top class talent – we turn to cliché and claim there are three worst sides who will likely finish below them. It’s not certain whether that can be said on this occasion.

The Toffees are 9/2 to be relegated come May, ending a 67-year reign at the top

Everton are not the only club languishing near the bottom to sack their manager, as panic takes hold with the finish line now imaginable if not yet in sight. True to type, Watford have also pulled on the emergency cord meaning the controlling Pozo family have now burned through 14 coaches inside a decade. Remarkably, that equates to each man being given just 24 weeks in charge if we dispense with summer downtime.

And yet, with the Hornets’ post-break trip to Burnley in mind, the dismissal of Claudio Ranieri offers some encouragement in the form of a supposed phenomenon that is a fallacy generally speaking but applies in this instance. Not many clubs benefit from a ‘new manager bounce’ and that’s because it’s largely a nonsense but with Watford it strangely holds true as only two of those multitude of gaffers lost their opening games in charge.

The probable appointment of Roy Hodgson is additionally a hopeful sign, his vast experience a major plus in these circumstances but if Watford are to avoid the drop it is absolutely essential they start keeping the odd clean sheet. Last season, under Xisco and during their promotion charge, the Hornets kept shut-outs in 57.5% of their games from late November on. This campaign they have yet to frustrate a single opponent.

Granted, there is a huge jump in class from the Championship to the Premier League but still, this is a critical aspect that will define their short-term future. Looking at them overall however, we find them in a holding position after yet again switching individuals at the helm. Let’s wait and see.

Watford are 12/5 to beat Burnley on February 5th, extending the gap between them to five points

Norwich are another struggling side that have put opinions of them on pause, after posting two wins back-to-back and for them a fortnight’s break has come at a truly rotten time. Do their victories over Everton and Watford, complete with atypical vigour and attacking intent, suggest a recovery is afoot now that Dean Smith has had sufficient time to implement his ideals? Certainly, an improvement was desperately needed because for the baulk of this campaign the Canaries have looked doomed. But now, perhaps, they do not.

The same alas cannot be said of Burnley, who are the only side yet to accumulate 200+ shots in 2021/22 though their games in hand slightly excuses them of that. After five seasons punching above their weight in the Premier League it feels like gravity is now taking hold for Sean Dyche’s men but pitched at 4/9 to go down there is little value in backing that to happen.

Where value does exist sadly lies with Brentford and no pleasure is derived in pointing that out considering the thrills and spills the Bees have provided neutrals with to date. It’s now four losses on the spin for Thomas Frank’s team, conceding 12 in the process, and though they endured an identical slump earlier in the season and came out of it well, their next fixture is at the Etihad and a slump can very quickly turn into a crisis as spring approaches. What we can determine for sure is that their run of games against Newcastle, Norwich and Burnley that are honing into view will go an awfully long way to deciding their fate.

Brentford are 6/1 to immediately return to the second tier

Staying on schedules brings us to Newcastle, the sixth and last club in realistic danger at present. There is a lot that can be said of the Magpies and a lot has been said but for all of the melodrama surrounding their contrasting fortunes on and off the pitch it’s hard to get away from what awaits them courtesy of a harsh fixture list.

Simply put, if Newcastle are to remain a top-flight entity next term they need to gain points and swiftly because to conclude their troublesome campaign they face Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal in succession. Their final day clash with Burnley meanwhile will surely see one or both of them go down.

Newcastle are 13/10 to be the richest team to ever grace the Championship next season