Premier League: The three candidates to be this season's Aston Villa

Jermain Defoe will struggle to equal last season's 15 Sunderland league goals, let alone better it
Jermain Defoe will struggle to equal last season's 15 Sunderland league goals, let alone better it

The statistics point to one of Sunderland, Burnley or Hull finishing bottom of the Premier League in 2016/17...


Sunderland 13.012/1

"Aston Villa became the fourth club in six years to fall from 17th to 20th and the Black Cats suffered that three-spot-down journey themselves in the past (2002/03)."

Some punters are sceptical as to the merit of historical statistics but, in attempting to identify who will finish rock bottom in the 2016/17 Premier League, it is difficult to dismiss that a whopping 16 of the last 19 occupants, including each of the most recent six, hailed from three specific positions.

In six of those 19 campaigns, it was the side that closed the previous season in 17th who slumped to 20th. On six occasions, it was the play-off winners who met that fate and four times it was the Championship table-toppers who completed the miserable journey from top to bottom.

As the favourites in the market are 4.57/2, it means that you can afford to back three teams and be assured of a decent profit if one of them takes last place, so, if you wish to play the numbers game, these are the trio who the trends flag up as being most endangered...


Sunderland 13.012/1

Yes, Sunderland are experts in escapology - this writer used that as one of nine reasons why they would stay up last term - but the demise of Aston Villa after a run of 16th, 15th, 15th and 17th-placed finishes which suggested similar imperviousness shows that such skills have an expiration date. Villa became the fourth club in six years to fall from 17th to 20th and the Black Cats suffered that three-spot-down journey themselves in the past (2002/03). They haven't signed anyone yet and appear destined to lose manager Sam Allardyce to England less than a month before the start of the season.


Hull 4.57/2

It is easy to understand why play-off victors have settled into 20th in six of the past 19 years. For starters, they are the lowest-ranked side to ascend, so it is logical that they will often be of lower quality than their 19 adversaries, a problem which is exacerbated by their season ending later and having less time to prepare. Hull will be even more affected than most to gain promotion by that path due to the additional uncertainty at various stages this summer over the future of their owner and manager, while all four of their prior Premier League campaigns concluded in the bottom five.


Burnley 4.67/2

The Clarets have been in the Premier League twice already this decade and both times departed after a single year. Their lack of transfer business so far hints that they risk repeating the mistakes of 2014/15, when they failed to sufficiently strengthen their solid base and paid with relegation. Cardiff were the last Championship winners to finish bottom of the Premier League in 2013/14, though West Brom, Sunderland and Nottingham Forest have all endured such a demise in the last 18 years too.


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