Who will be relegated from the Premier League?

Relegation from the Premier League can be tough to take and for most clubs their aim at the start of the season is just to stay in it.

Every season it seems to go right down to the wire with more and more teams getting involved in the relegation scrap. The promoted teams are always the ones that are favourites for the drop and this season is no different.

Ian Holloway’s Crystal Palace are the favourites to go down and this is probably what he wanted anyway because he feels his teams perform better when they are the underdogs. I am not convinced by the signings that he has made either but it did almost work for him at Blackpool, so second time lucky for him. New signings Dwight Gayle and Marouane Chamakh will need to start well and be regular scorers and Jerome Thomas will probably have to play the best football of his career if they are to be successful.

Hull City also got promoted last season but I do feel slightly more confident that they will stay up because of the players that Steve Bruce has signed. Tom Huddlestone is a very good passer and will add something to their midfield. I also like the signings of Maynor Figueroa, Curtis Davies and Allan McGregor and feel that their experience will get them through some tough times. I still think they lack a goal scorer but Danny Graham should perform better than what he did at Sunderland.

The final promoted team Cardiff City have spent quite a bit of money to try and stay up this season so it would not surprise me to see them finish midtable. I do however think they have overspent on Andreas Cornelius who has potential but you need more of that to survive in the Premier League these days. Steven Caulker and Gary Medel do seem like solid signings though that should impress.

Mark Hughes will be hoping that he performs better at Stoke City than he did at QPR or it will be a long season for their fans. I can see why they are getting backed to get relegated because they stood still under Tony Pulis but they were staying up and sometimes changing things makes clubs go backwards. The team he has inherited only really play one way and if Hughes tries to change that too quickly it will most likely backfire on him.

Norwich City are a team that is surprisingly one of the favourites to get relegated because of the signings they have made this summer but maybe they will not gel and if that is the case then Chris Hughton could be in trouble. They should have enough goals in their team from Ricky Van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper but neither have played in the Premier League and may find it tough to begin with. But Leroy Fer, Martin Olsson and Nathan Redmond will hopefully create a lot of chances for them. They seem to have an exciting side this year but they have not improved their defence much which is a worry.

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QPR in the Championship

QPR finished bottom of the Premier League and this was very unexpected after once again spending a lot of money in the transfer windows.

But, the players they brought in clearly did not care for the club and only joined to make a lot of money very quickly. Not every single one of them was a mercenary but they just had too many problems to be successful and Mark Hughes might be the one to blame but the board and the owners need to take a look at themselves and learn from their mistakes. Harry Redknapp is now the man in charge and to me it looks like he might be looking for the first opportunity to leave the club but if they can convince to him stay for at least one season they may just be able to bounce back at the first attempt. He has a lot of things to sort out over the summer and will need to make a lot of changes as there will be quite a lot of players that do not want to play in the Championship and will most likely go abroad. There are still some positives for the club but they need a quick start next season.

Robert Green in goal could be crucial because it wasn’t long ago that many people wanted him to be England’s number one and is still a good goalkeeper but can be a little error prone from time to time. In front of him is where they have more of a problem because they made a lot of mistakes and were nowhere near consistent enough. It looks as though they may have to rely on Clint Hill once again to try and lead them to promotion but I think they need to keep hold of Nedum Onuoha as he had a lot of potential and he is certainly good enough for the Championship.

A lot of money was spent in the midfield positions and it is looking likely that their best one Adel Taarabt is going to leave so they will lose a lot of creativity. But Jermaine Jenas is someone that I feel will do brilliantly in the Championship and may even add a few goals to his game. I think the most important player though could be Junior Hoilett because he did not show the QPR fans his true potential and owes them something next season.

In attack they may not lose too much because none of them performed that well apart from Loic Remy who will not want to play in the Championship at all. So I do not see many clubs wanting to sign Bobby Zamora or Jay Bothroyd. The one player that I did like was Jamie Mackie but unfortunately he only got two goals and I don’t think any Premier League teams will be willing to take a chance on him. Finally, Andrew Johnson will be hoping to get over his injury problems and score the goals and get the club back into the Premier League.

Who will be Leeds United’s next manager?

Leeds United are looking for a new manager after Neil Warnock failed to get them closer to the Championship playoffs.
Leeds
Leeds have been on a poor run of form lately and losing to Derby County 2-1 last time out was the final nail in the coffin for Warnock as he and the club must have realised that they were not going to get promotion this season and are more likely to face a relegation battle with the table so tight at the moment. Even though they are 12th they are only five points above the drop zone and if the slide continues then it could be a very nervous end to the season.

Warnock isn’t a bad manager but maybe Leeds wasn’t quite the right club for him, he only won 23 of his 63 games in charge and with his previous experience of getting teams promoted, a lot more was expected of him. But in his defence he did lose his top scorer Luciano Becchio in January and it is difficult to replace someone that has scored 19 goals in the first half of the season. This could be Warnock’s last job in football and it is unfortunate that he ultimately failed but it just wasn’t to be and Leeds now need to move on.

Brian McDermott is the current favourite to be the new manager and with his recent record with Reading it is no surprise that he tops the list. He has a win record of 44.97% and it would have been even better had they not been on such a bad run in the Premier League before he was sacked. McDermott does bring some solidarity to his team and all of his players know their jobs, the only negative to that is maybe he doesn’t know how to change things when they aren’t going well. But I do think he would be a good choice.
Brian McDermott
Another name linked with the role is current Brighton manager and Leeds coach Gus Poyet and this would be an interesting choice and if they could convince him to leave Brighton then it would be a good move. In his first spell at Leeds he was quite well liked by supporters and some say that he was the better half of the partnership between him and Dennis Wise which could be true given what the two have done in recent years.
Gus Poyet
Finally, recently sacked Sunderland manager martin O’Neill could be in the running, however I don’t think he will want to drop down to the Championship just yet, unless it is with a club that is definitely going to back him and give him a chance of promotion straight away. O’Neill didn’t have a great time at Sunderland but it would be a great appointment if Leeds could get him, he would surely bring good attacking football back to the club and get them challenging at the right end of the table. I, personally don’t think he will join Leeds but they are a big club with a good fan base and that might just persuade him.
Martin O'Neill
Others linked with the job are Mark Hughes, Darren Ferguson and Owen Coyle.

Who will be Nottingham Forest’s next manager?

Alex McLeish has left his job at Nottingham Forest after just 40 days in charge of the club.

There had been a lot of speculation that he was going to leave the club soon after the way the club conducted themselves in the January transfer window. With the biggest problem being the club pulling out of a deal for Peterborough United midfielder George Boyd because he failed an eye test. A lot of players and former players were saying that they have never even done an eye test during a medical. What makes it even more ridiculous is the fact that Boyd recently scored a goal from the halfway line. But back onto McLeish and his time at Forest will not really be remembered fondly after a lot of fans didn’t even want him in the first place and his record of just one win from seven games is not a great record at all, especially for a club that was challenging for a place in the playoffs under Sean O’Driscoll. McLeish’s last game was a defeat to his former club Birmingham City and after the game he refused to commit his future to the club and now a few days later he has left by mutual consent.

So, who will take the job now? The current favourite is former manager Billy Davies. Straightaway I am not sure about this one at all because he had problems with the board the last time he was at the club and I do not know whether he would get on with the new board. But if they could convince him to come back he would certainly bring good football back to Forest and give them a good chance of promotion this season. In his first spell he won 53 of his 126 games and would love to finish the job he started. However, it does look like he is going to join Blackpool.
Billy Davies
Nigel Adkins is also an early favourite for the job and it is obvious why and at the moment he will get linked with every job going in the Championship. He may want time away from the game after being harshly sacked by Southampton even though it looked as though he could have kept them up. He proved he is a good manager and would bring attacking football to the City Ground. I think it will be a long shot but if the board can convince him to join the club then the fans would be very happy with their new manager.
Nigel Adkins
Finally, a name that has been linked with the role is the current Kuwait head coach Goran Tufegdzic. This would be a ridiculous appointment but it certainly would not surprise me at all. He has been in charge of Kuwait since 2009 after being their assistant and he does have a decent record in charge but it is nowhere near the standard required for the Championship. Some fans will want to give him a chance but I can see the large majority wanting the board out, if they don’t already.
Goran
Other linked with the job are Roy Keane, Paolo Di Canio and Mark Hughes

Who will be Blackburn Rovers next manager?

Blackburn Rovers are searching for their second manager of the season after sacking Henning Berg after just 10 games in charge.

Berg, was only given 57 days but the board have decided that he is not the right man to take the club forward. Firstly, I would just say that I did not think this was a good appointment in the first place and although a lot of Blackburn fans will disagree with me, I thought Steve Kean was actually doing quite well for them this season. He had got a good squad together and they were picking up points and would have challenged for at least the playoffs. But, he was sacked and now Berg has joined him in the unemployed managers list. After playing 159 league games for Blackburn and being part of their title winning side, it was expected he was going to be given more time as the fans would surely have good memories of him as a player and believe he would want to be the man to get them back into the division that he once won with them. However, in his 10 games he only managed one win and the club has slipped down the table at an alarming rate. So, who can stop the slump and turn the club around?

Kevin MacDonald is currently the favourite to get the job and I do not think this appointment will excite the fans and this is not being disrespectful to MacDonald but the only experience of being a manager is two spells as a caretaker at Aston Villa and Leicester City. He has been a good assistant over the years but only 12 games as manager and only three wins is not what the club should be looking at right now. In his 12 games he also suffered a 6-0 defeat to Newcastle United.
But, even more remarkably Judan Ali has also been linked with the job and this would be ridiculous, so if this is MacDonald’s only genuine competition then he will surely get the job. Not a lot is known about Ali and this would certainly end in disaster. I am not saying Blackburn players are egotistical but they will not respond well to this unknown person coming into the club and telling them what to do. Apparently, Ali is a Bollywood star but if he does get the job this would be his biggest challenge yet.

Finally, Mark Hughes is also linked with the job, but to be honest I cannot see this happening , simply because I don’t think he will talk to the owners after seeing what they have done in the last few years. He would be a great choice and he would certainly bring a bit more respectability to the role but unfortunately for Rovers fans they may be the laughing stock of football once again when the new manager is announced. An interesting side point though is if Mark Hughes wants to get back into management, will he have to drop into the Championship?

Will Ricardo Carvalho and Michael Dawson be the right options for QPR?

QPR manager Mark Hughes is reacting quickly to his side’s 5-0 defeat against Swansea City on the opening day of the season by trying to recruit some new defenders.

I was really surprised that Hughes didn’t try and strengthen the defence to begin with as they already had a decent enough strike force with Bobby Zamora and Djibril Cisse as well as the always unpredictable Adel Taarabt. Just look at the defence that started on the opening day, Fabio, Clint Hill, Anton Ferdinand and Nedum Onuoha with Ryan Nelsen on the bench. Fabio is only young and could improve but he is not the best at defending yet and looks better going forward. Anton Ferdinand has never been more than an average centre back in the Premier League and if he is first choice your team will mostly finish in the bottom half closer to relegation. Onuoha, just simply hasn’t lived up to his potential when he first came through at Manchester City and it could be a long season for him. Finally, Clint Hill, how on earth is he a Premier League? Yes, first season up leave him in there, but now the ambitions have changed and surely someone better should have came in.

QPR have bid for Michael Dawson and he has been a fantastic centre back for Spurs over the years, although he can be a little injury prone. But, he is exactly what the team needs, he isn’t afraid to put his head in where it hurts and just seems to want to block every shot and will throw his body in the way. He has played 242 times for Tottenham and this Premier League experience will be invaluable to QPR and he would play like a leader on the pitch whether he is given the captain’s armband or not. Now that it is known that he is available there may be other offers from clubs but I think realistically he will join QPR if he leaves Spurs because it means he can stay in London and they will surely offer him a very good contract with a high wage.

Dawson has four caps for England

Next, Ricardo Carvalho is reportedly close to joining the club on a season long loan from Real Madrid and even though he is 34, I think he is one of the best centre backs to have ever played in the Premier League. He made John Terry look like a great defender as Carvalho’s positioning got him out of a lot of bad situations and to me it is not coincidence that Terry has looked a shadow of his former self since the departure of Carvalho. He played 210 times for the London club but the only problem is that he only played 13 times for Real Madrid last season so there will be question marks over his fitness and form.

Carvalho has played 75 times for Portugal

These are the sort of signings Mark Hughes should have been making from the beginning but unfortunately it seems like he currently has 11 individuals on the pitch rather than a team and if he doesn’t sort that out soon then a relegation battle will be on his hand yet again.

Will Joey Barton leave QPR on loan this summer?

Joey Barton looks set to leave QPR at least on loan this summer after he was given a lengthy ban at the end of last season.

Barton played 26 times last season scoring 3 goals for QPR

There is no doubting Barton’s footballing ability as he can on his day be one of the best box to box midfielders in the country and can be very influential on the pitch so it is not surprising that a lot of clubs would like to have him. The advantage of him going out on loan to a Championship or possibly even lower club is that his ban will run out quicker and will be available to Mark Hughes a lot sooner than if he stayed at the club. But surely teams interested in him would surely want him at least till January and could he make a difference to their team and if QPR were willing to pay his wages for the duration of the loan spell then it could be a win-win situation for everyone involved. Some people will be against him joining their club because of his reputation and the fact that he has been given more than one chance but if he joined your club and played excellently for a long run of games and helped you get promoted would you be complaining then? Opinions in football change very quickly and this could definitely happen with Joey Barton.

So first off, the club that surprisingly looks the most likely to sign him is newly promoted to the Football League Fleetwood Town. He is currently training there and would obviously be a fantastic addition to their squad and would probably help financially as a lot people may buy tickets to watch Barton play. Or possibly watch him implode on the pitch? As much as I would love to see this happening, it is unlikely as I can’t see him dropping down to League 2 but there is always a chance especially if he enjoys the training sessions and gets on with the players and staff.

More realistically though I could see him signing for Blackburn Rovers who have just been relegated to the Championship so they do still have some quality players and will be looking to bounce back on their first attempt. This transfer as alluded to earlier may not sit well with the fans, and Steve Kean doesn’t have the greatest of rapport with them anyway so I would personally advice him not to add fuel to the fire and sign Barton but if he does perform for them, he will win them points and they could be crucial come the end of the season.

Finally, Blackpool are also linked with him and this could be fantastic for both club and player because manager Ian Holloway is known for giving players a new start. Holloway is a brilliant man manager and gets the best out of his players and they seem to overachieve every single season and it just seems like a fun laidback place to play so maybe that would help keep Barton calm. Blackpool play football the right way and the one time England international would certainly fit into their team.

Which club will Craig Bellamy play for after the summer?

Craig Bellamy is currently taking part in the Olympic Games with Team GB but that hasn’t stopped the rumours of him leaving Liverpool.

Bellamy has scored 165 goals in his career

The Welshman in his second spell at Liverpool may not be in new manager Brendan Rodgers plans which would surprise me to be honest, because the former Swansea manager likes to play 4-3-3 and Bellamy in the past has shown that he can be effective from the left wing in particular. Bellamy may not be able to play as many games as he used to but at times last season he was one of their most effective players and can still chip in with some goals. The 33 year old played 33 times last season and contributed 9 goals which isn’t too bad as he a lot of his appearances were off the bench. I’m sure a lot of teams will be looking at the former Manchester City player because he does still have a lot to offer and could even push a team onto the next level if he is used properly.

The team that is heavily linked with him is QPR and maybe it is just the papers putting 2 and 2 together and getting 5 because obviously current manager Mark Hughes seems to get the best out of Bellamy whether it be at international level or when the pair were at Manchester City. One thing that does make me think that this transfer will go through is the fact that QPR do have a bit of money and will unlike a lot of teams will be able to pay his wages. The big question would be whether him and Joey Barton would get on the dressing room as they are both big egos and are very similar in a way. They both have a will to win but sometimes that spills over.

Cardiff City will be linked with Bellamy until he retires because they are his boyhood club and I’m sure he wants to see them in the Premier League and will help them in any way he can. It is obviously not a problem for him to drop down a division as he has done it before. In the 2010-11 season he played 35 times for the club scoring 11 goals but this time it may be more difficult as I don’t think Liverpool will just let him go out on loan for the full season like Manchester City did.

The most surprising rumour I have heard is that Rangers are interested in him. Even before what happened to them last season, this would not have happened in my opinion because he has played for Celtic before and I just don’t think he would want to play in Scotland again. Now, it is even more ridiculous because there is no way they can afford his wages and why would he want to go play in the Third division of Scotland? He has too much to offer to go there and even if they were still in the SPL it would be a terrible way to end his career.

Who will Junior Hoilett sign for?

Junior Hoilett is looking for a new club this summer after leaving relegated Blackburn Rovers and has plenty of options.

Hoilett scored 14 goals in 92 games for Blackburn Rovers

The wide man enjoyed a very good season last year in a struggling Rovers side and was one of their bright spots in a poor season. In his 34 league games he scored seven goals and got seven assists which is impressive for a lot of wingers, however, it is just not good enough for a team in the Champions League in my opinion. Chelsea would be the most likely as they are heavily linked with Victor Moses and I think Hoilett is slightly better than him. There are rumours that he could still sign a new contract at the Ewood Park club but I don’t think he wants to play in the Championship and he is better than that. He served the club well playing almost 100 games and I’m sure the fans were happy with his commitment and his performances over the last few seasons.

QPR are currently the favourites to sign him and he does seem to be a Mark Hughes type of player and that is someone that likes to play wide but cut in and get shots away. They are in need of wingers too as Shaun Wright-Phillips has struggled and never really made a positive impact since moving to the club and Jamie Mackie who had an ok season in my opinion is just not good enough if QPR want to move forward. I’m sure Bobby Zamora, Andy Johnson and Djibril Cisse would much prefer to see Hoilett on the ball out wide than their current players as he just has that unpredictability that is needed at times.

Another club that could be interested is Newcastle United as he would fit into the style of football manager Alan Pardew wants them to play. If he did sign then they would have a frightening attacking line up in Hatem Ben Arfa, Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse and Junior Hoilett on the left. The only problem that this would lead to is their fullbacks wouldn’t get much protection and it would be very harsh just to drop Jonas Gutierrez after everything he has done for the club. I think this could be a good move for both club and player but I don’t see it happening because Hoilett may want too high a wage.

Finally, a little surprisingly to me Everton have been linked with him as just said he will probably want a high wage and Everton don’t usually give out that big a wage. But, if they could convince him to sign then he would certainly create chances for Nikica Jelavic and with the team already having a lot of good passers in their midfield, he would just add something different and if he could get crosses in then it would probably help Tim Cahill rediscover his goal scoring touch.

I think he will sign for QPR as they could be a surprise team this year and challenge for the top half of the table and with a bit of luck maybe a European place through a cup competition. Plus, they have the finances to give him a very good wage.

Who will Rob Green sign for?

Robert Green looks set to leave West Ham United this summer after they failed to agree a new contract.

Rob Green played over 200 games for both Norwich City and West Ham

The Hammers have moved quickly to sign a new goalkeeper and it seems as though they will sign Jussi Jaaskelainen as their number one next season. Green is currently away with the England squad as back up to Joe Hart which does show that he is still a very good goalkeeper and at the age of 32 has a lot of years left. In his last five seasons he has played over 40 games which also shows he is not very injury prone and will be able to play most games for his new club. The former Norwich City stopper had helped West Ham return to the Premier League with a string of fine saves against Blackpool in the playoff final and this made everyone think that he would stay at the club and sign a new contract but he must have set his sight higher and believe West Ham could be in a relegation battle this season and wanted better.

There have been rumours he could move abroad in particular Malaga but I personally do not think he will because even if he plays well he may get ignored by the England manager as Joe Cole has found this season. However, he could make the move abroad and not really care because he knows it is very unlikely he will add to his 12 England caps if Joe Hart stays fit, or if he does it will only be in friendlies or unimportant games.

So where in England will he end up? This could seriously backfire on him though as a lot of the Premier League teams already have their number ones set and if he joins a team that has just been promoted to the Premier League then you have to wonder why he left West Ham. I could see Reading being interested in him as Adam Federici is very good in the Championship but he has very limited experience in the Premier League so he would give them that but I don’t see it happening and I think Brian McDermott will keep Federici as his number one.

Firstly, I believe he would be a very good signing for Sunderland as they have at times look a little shaky at the back and a more experienced keeper could help them in that department. Simon Mignolet is a very good goalkeeper but he is only 23 and does make the odd mistake and also with Craig Gordon looking like he is going to leave they at least need two goalkeepers battling for the shirt.

QPR could also be interested in Green’s services as yet again they have had problems in that position and Paddy Kenny hasn’t quite lived up to expectations in the Premier League and if Mark Hughes wants a replacement for him then Green should be his first option. Plus, wages shouldn’t be a problem and they can offer him a good enough wage to join the club.

The options for Green are now limited which is why it is so surprising to me that he has left West Ham and personally I think they will have an ok season next year and not even be near a relegation battle. This could be his last chance on playing in the Premier League so the keeper that started the 2010 World Cup needs to make sure he chooses the right team.