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EPL 2016/17: Clubs That Could Face Relegation Next Season

Relegation from the English Premier League is a journey that can lead a football club down a dark path.

Successful squads like Portsmouth and Blackburn Rovers have taken the drop in recent times and have been unable to find their way back to first division. The toll this can take on a team’s finances and supporters can be catastrophic.

The need to stay up is a fact not lost on management boards and this year’s EPL campaign will almost certainly provide high drama, with squads battling it out to stay out of the relegation zone late in the season.

We highlight five teams that could be starting up the table at the competition in 2016-17.

BURNLEY 

In Burnley’s most recent campaign in the Premier League, manager Sean Dyche and his players found themselves overmatched by their opposition. After being relegated back to the Championship in the summer of 2015, the Clarets return with a better knowledge of what is needed to stay up this time around.

Always a hard-working and defensively disciplined side, Burnley were ultimately undone in the 2014-15 season by a lack of goals.

If forwards Andre Gray and Sam Vokes can find the net with consistency, Burnley may be able to avoid relegation.

HULL CITY

It all went downhill so quickly for the Tigers in 2015.

After an FA Cup final appearance the year before, the 2014-15 Premier League season and their first-ever Europa League spot gave supporters much to look forward to.

But crashing out in the Europa qualifying rounds and relegation to the Championship followed, leaving fans stunned. Now, manager Steve Bruce returns to craft a more lengthy EPL stay for Hull City.

Talent can be found in spades within the lineup, with players like Abel Hernandez and Ahmed Elmohamady able to create chances for themselves and teammates in attack.

Avoiding relegation will depend on consistent form from key players.

MIDDLESBROUGH

One great strategy for teams looking to remain in the Premier League is strengthening the squad at various positions.

Boro have done just that with the goalkeeping duo of Victor Valdes and Brad Guzan, along with talented goal-scorers like the re-signed Gaston Ramirez and Spanish forward Alvaro Negredo.

After seven years of waiting to get back to the English top flight, Middlesbrough is certainly going to do all they can to stay up this season. If they do struggle early on, expect reinforcements to arrive during the January transfer window.

SUNDERLAND

Seemingly always on the cusp of relegation, The Black Cats are bound for another difficult campaign in 2016-17.

New manager David Moyes returns to the Premier League with a squad that has pieces in place, but cannot take the next step to find a higher place in the table.

Forward Jermain Defoe was a hero last season, leading the team with 15 goals and found many of them late in the year when the club needed results the most.

With little change to the squad, there is no reason to think it will not be the same story again for Sunderland.

WATFORD

Along with AFC Bournemouth, Watford was one of the Premier League’s pleasant surprises in 2015-16.

A proactive and entertaining approach to matches led to a 13th place league finish and a trip to Wembley Stadium for an FA Cup semifinal.

27-year old Nigerian forward Odion Ighalo was a breakout star, scoring 17 goals across all competitions for the Hornets.

They will need more of the same for another year in the EPL.

PREDICTION

While the five teams mentioned may have a long battle ahead, Watford and Middlesbrough will ultimately find a way to stay up.

Expect to see Burnley, Hull City and Sunderland playing in the Championship next season.

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