Burnley and QPR set for Premier League struggles next season
Coral has opened a market on who will go down from the Premier League next season, and make Burnley the odds-on 1/2 favourites for an immediate return to the Championship.
Sean Dyche was hailed as a miracle worker for taking a Turf Moor team more fancied for relegation at the start of 2013/14 back into England’s top-flight, but faces the same problem that Owen Coyle did after coming up in 2009.
The Clarets went straight back down in 2010 and now have a first-team squad with just 19 names in it. It was a struggle to attract players then, but Dyche may have to fend off interest in star performers like top scorer Danny Ings and marauding right back Kieran Trippier.
QPR, play-off winners with a last gasp Bobby Zamora goal at Wembley despite being down to 10 men, are 13/8 second-favourites for the drop. Hoops boss Harry Redknapp still has to decide what to do with several names that remain on the Loftus Road books, who reportedly weren’t prepared to play in the second-tier this term.
Six players, including Brazil goalie Julio Cesar and France forward Loic Remy, have spent the season away from the west London outfit, while seven others were brought in temporarily to bolster their promotion push.
Irrespective of whether there is any way back at QPR for the likes of maverick Moroccan midfielder Adel Taarabt, or if Redknapp is to sign faithful retainer Niko Kranjcar permanently, the Hoops must begin operating within their means.
Recent fines and sanctions for Premier League champions Manchester City, and French counterparts PSG, have demonstrated that football authorities are tightening up on Financial Fair Play. If QPR and their wealthy owner Tony Fernandes want to avoid similar penalties, then they must sort their wage bill out.
All these ingredients point to another season of turmoil at Loftus Road. Redknapp, who famously kept Portsmouth in the Premier League in 2005, must manage the situation carefully, especially if he reintegrates players that were elsewhere during the Hoops’ Championship campaign.
Second-tier champions Leicester City come next at 11/5 (lengthened from 15/8), but have already embarked on a shrewd recruitment drive, which gives Foxes boss Nigel Pearson an edge over the other promoted sides.
The so-called curse of ‘second season syndrome’ could strike either Crystal Palace or Hull City, with both priced at 9/4 to lose top-flight status in 2014/15. How Tigers boss Steve Bruce can juggle European football for the first time on Humberside with domestic commitments remains to be seen.
Overachievers Palace, meanwhile, know that making history by staying up under Tony Pulis this term will count for nothing if they cannot build upon it next season. It’s 3/1 for the two West Midlands outfits (Aston Villa and West Brom) to fall from grace.
Villa are up for sale and recently sacked Paul Lambert’s loyal lieutenant Ian Culverhouse. If owner Randy Lerner can offload the club, the Scot may also find himself out of work as new investors tend to want their own, handpicked man in the dugout.
Managerless Albion are in need of a serious squad overhaul, as they are short in both defence and attack. The Hawthorns vacancy is one that needs experienced handling, but that 3/1 price on the Baggies bowing out of the Premier League looks tasty whoever takes them on.
Sunderland and Swansea are 5/1 shots for relegation, and how their 2014/15 campaigns pan out depends on recruitment. Punters can expect potential players to find Black Cats boss Gus Poyet a more attractive prospect than Swans managerial novice Garry Monk.
Those odds on the south Wales side slipping out of the top-flight after a fourth season are certainly worth considering, because players may quit the Liberty sensing Swansea have peaked. Monk is nowhere near well-connected or known enough to replace them either.
West Ham, a 6/1 chance, come next and their third Premier League campaign in succession all appears to hinge on how boss Sam Allardyce handles having an attacking coach forced upon him by the Hammers board. Bar those 10 teams, it’s odds of 8/1 and considerably longer on others.
One final price that does stand out is 12/1 on Southampton, facing unpaid transfer fees and a bill for their training ground to foot. Manager Mauricio Pochettino has left to succeed Tim Sherwood at Tottenham, while England’s elite clubs are circling like vultures for young and talented Saints stars.