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Premier League 2016/17 - Who’s for the drop?

With the start of the 2016/17 Premier League fast approaching, it is Hull, who host reigning champions Leicester in this season’s 13 August curtain raiser, who are most fancied to immediately drop back down into the Championship, priced at 4/6 by most bookmakers, including Betway and Boylesports. The Tigers are poised to enter the new season with a raft of senior players injured, with defenders Alex Bruce and Moses Odubajo among those on the club’s overcrowded treatment table. A lack of goalscorers also presents a problem, with Abel Hernandez relied upon heavily last term, the Uruguayan a player who also struggled during Hull’s last stint in the Premier League in 2014/15. Hull are 4/1 with both Betfred and Unibet to register the division’s lowest goal tally, and if they fail to get their act together in the transfer market as a matter of urgency, they will look nailed for relegation.

Burnley are another side whose transfer activity lacks the look of a side able to cope with the rigours of life in the Premier League, Nick Pope and Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson precisely the type of players you sign if you’re expecting a swift return to the second tier. The bookies’ odds reflect this, with Sean Dyche’s men evens for the drop with Bet365 and Paddy Power. 888Sport offer best odds of 4/1 for the Clarets to finish dead last, their prospects damaged by the loss of combative midfield presence Joey Barton, and that could be a distinct possibility if Dyche’s transfer dealings do not pick up speed.

The third newly promoted team, Middlesborough, look the best equipped to stave off relegation to the Championship. Jordan Rhodes, Grant Leadbitter and George Friend give the Rams a strong spine, while the permanent signings of Gaston Ramirez and Danish winger Viktor Fischer will provide creativity and flair. However, whether Victor Valdes and Alvaro Negredo are still the players they were three years ago is anyone’s guess, with odds of 2/1 offered by Bet365 and Boylesports for Aitor Karanka’s side to drop back into the Championship.

Watford finished in 13th place last season, but endured a difficult closing period, slumping to defeat in seven of their last eleven games. Named as manager on a three-year deal in May, Walter Mazzari has a job on his hands to arrest the slide that gripped his new charges at the end of last season, although things are looking brighter now they have signed the player with the best name in the Premier League, Isaac Success. Skybet have them at a best price of 9/4 to be relegated come the end of the season.

West Bromwich Albion round out the quintet of clubs hotly tipped for the drop by bookmakers. Best odds come courtesy of Betstars and Betvictor, pricing Tony Pulis’ team at 5/2 to tumble out of the Premier League, an outcome looking increasingly likely now that Diafra Sakho’s £15m move has fallen through and the saga over the unhappy Berahino’s future rumbles on. Regardless of the now thoroughly tedious to-ing and fro-ing over Berahino’s future, it would be a brave punter who backs the Baggies to finish any higher than mid-table. Paddy Power have them at a best price of 8/1 to end the season in the bottom half.

Tom Lewis
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