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Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Swans in danger of falling from grace

Relegation looks a possibility

Swansea boss Paul Clement has a job on his hands
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1 Swans' top-flight stay in jeopardy

Swansea staged a great escape last season but they are getting sucked into another relegation fight and may struggle to come through it.

It is often said that strong home performances are crucial to Premier League survival.

If that is the case, Swansea - the team with the worst home record in the top flight - are in deep trouble.

Saturday's 1-0 loss at home to Brighton was their fifth defeat in five home league games and was the right outcome after another disjointed display which elicited a chorus of boos from the Swansea supporters.

Is was the fourth time in seven home games this season that Swansea have failed to find the net and it is becoming obvious that Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham needs some support in attack.

Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente are sorely missed and it is probably fair that Swansea are odds-on to go down.

2 Cherries ready to blossom

Bournemouth have been in the bottom three for most of the season but looked anything but a relegation-threatened side as they deservedly won 1-0 at Newcastle on Saturday.

Eddie Howe's men have had a tough start to the season - featuring four matches against members of the big six - but they have lost none of their attacking intent and were on the front foot for most of the second half on Tyneside.

There are still a few problems to resolve, including how to get the best out of high-profile summer signing Jermain Defoe.

But Bournemouth are on the rise after three wins in their last four games and could make some serious progress in the next five games with home matches against HuddersfieldBurnley and Southampton and trips to Swansea and Crystal Palace.

3 Trouble brewing for Saints

Southampton are not being talked about as relegation candidates but that could change.

At the start of the season Saints were targeting a top-seven finish but European football looks a long way off after Saturday's 1-0 loss at home to Burnley.

They have not made the most of a fairly helpful start to the season and will have to do well against some of the big guns if they are to avoid falling further down the table.

Six of Southampton's next ten games are against teams in the top six and they might not be far away from the drop zone when 2017 draws to a close.

4 Buzzing Bees could fly a lot higher

Brentford have recovered strongly from a slow start to the Sky Bet Championship season and are emerging as potential promotion contenders.

They moved into the top half for the first time with a 3-1 victory at home to Leeds on Saturday and are only three points adrift of the top six.

Earlier in the season Brentford were playing some excellent football without getting the rewards.

That has changed with the Bees unbeaten in nine league games and eyeing up a push towards the playoffs.

They have made some astute signings including striker Ollie Watkins, who looks a top-flight player in the making.

Watkins was superb in the win over Leeds and is likely to attract some interest when the transfer window opens.

5 Hull in a hole

Two of last season's relegated Premier League clubs are in a mess but it is hard to say which of them is more likely to finish in the Sky Bet Championship's bottom three.

Sunderland continue to prop up the table after Sunday's 1-0 loss at Middlesbrough but they put in a good performance at the Riverside and may do better once a permanent manager is installed.

Hull are six points better off but must be looking nervously over their shoulder after a three-match losing sequence.

They held a 1-0 half-time lead at Sheffield United on Saturday before capitulating and losing 4-1.

Supporters have been protesting against the owners but the club will need to pull together if they are to avoid a second successive relegation.


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Ollie Watkins looks a top-flight player in the making
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