Drop “nailed on” for one of Sunderland, Newcastle or Aston Villa
It is only October, so there is no need to stick a fork in the Premier League table just yet, but there is reason to believe that the majority of the cream has already risen and the silt has mostly sunk.
If you took a freeze frame of the top-flight standings by the seven-game mark last season, only one position in either the top three or bottom three spots was occupied by a different club come the shakedown.
Chelsea and Manchester City were the top two and stayed glued there (Southampton in third faded after a lightning start), while QPR were still propping up Burnley at the foot when 38 games had elapsed – Newcastle in 18th, escaped by the skin of their teeth.
Trawling back through the annals this pattern – although not an exact science in terms of numbers – is more or less replicated by the time the second international break rolls around.
Now Manuel Pellegrini won’t be telling his players the title is in the bag, nor will Steve McClaren be telling his charges there isn’t time to salvage the situation, but history suggests there is glory and doom ahead for at least one member of the current top and bottom three.
With seven games on the board, only Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson, in 1992/93, 1996/97 and 2008/09, have come from outside the top three spots after seven games to be crowned champions – each time they were fourth.
Fairly safe to assume then, unless over optimistic Crystal Palace fans think 750/1 is worthy of some shrapnel with their side sat proudly in fourth, that one of the current top three; favourites Manchester at 8/11, Arsenal at 12/5 or 13/2 pokes United will succeed Chelsea, who are written off.
It must be time for the bad news. Down at the dangerous end of the division, things are looking decidedly grim for one of Aston Villa, Sunderland or Newcastle – or quite possibly two of those clubs.
Not since the 1996/97 Premier League season have all three sides residing in the relegation zone after seven games collectively escaped the drop.
While in 2006/07, Sheffield United, Charlton and Watford were flushed having made up the bottom three by the current point in proceedings.
Naturally, nothing is set in stone yet and you only have to look at Leicester’s heroics last season to remember odds and stats can be defied.
However with such a weight of history, it’s definitely worth nailing your colours to the mast on one of these six teams to win the Premier League and one to be relegated, even at this juncture.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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