Chris Sutton believes Brentford and Leeds will join Newcastle United in suffering relegation back to the Championship.
The BBC and BT Sport pundit insists that we are not in ‘must win’ territory just yet, but feels there’s a host of factors that will stop us from pulling off Premier League survival.
He reckons we have a Championship defence and also fears we’ll struggle to attract anything other than mercenaries in January, feeling no big-name players will want to join a side bottom of the table – no matter how much money they’ll be offered.
As for Brentford and Leeds, I’d be shocked if either went down. The Bees are already on 16 points and look capable of picking up plenty of results, while Bielsa’s Leeds seem likely to pick up wins once they get key players fit again.
Here’s Sutton’s predicted Premier League table in full (via his latest piece for The Mail), followed by his comments on the relegation scrap:
2) Man City
4) Man United
6) West Ham
9) Aston Villa
12) Crystal Palace
‘I don’t think it’s too soon to say Newcastle are entering ‘must win’ territory. They can try to hang on until the January window opens but even that will present its own problems.
They will get the mercenary mob in, because which big-name talents are going to agree to join the club marooned at the bottom of the Premier League?
Right now, Newcastle have a Championship back line with a couple of talented forwards in Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin.
It’s nice having all the money in the world but if the XI you name on a Saturday can’t put in a performance then you’re up a certain creek without a paddle.
Eddie Howe’s players have to be looking at tonight’s game against Norwich as a must win, and the same goes for Burnley on Saturday.
They can’t get away from the fact that most fans across the country would be laughing if Newcastle go down. That adds to the pressure on Howe.
The three clubs who I’ll say are going to drop down to the Championship, with apologies, are Leeds, Newcastle and Brentford.’