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The relegation battle: Who will be involved?

Following the Premier League’s opening weekend, most teams showed that they were capable of competing in the top flight of English football.

With some big wins, we take a look at some of the teams which could be dragged into the relegation battle come the end of the season.

Initially, the results at Craven Cottage and Loftus Road stick out as significant outcomes, but for the first weekend it is always difficult to decide who will be relegated.

Norwich were thumped by 5-0 when they travelled to west London to take on Fulham, although the Cottage can be a very difficult place to go for three points. Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea all failed to win away to Fulham last season.

Therefore, Norwich should be given some forgiveness even though they were smashed by Fulham.

Queens Park Rangers on the other hand, at home, against a Swansea side who have lost Joe Allen during the summer, crashed to a 5-0 defeat, which is unacceptable for anyone connect with QPR.

Expected to perform

The Hoops have signed a number of players who were expected to perform well at the club, including new skipper Ji-Sung Park, Rob Green and Jose Bosingwa.

But, judging from the opening match, QPR could be in real trouble come the end of the season.

Since the 5-0 loss, Mark Hughes has been signing more players, including Ricardo Carvalho from Real Madrid on a season-long loan.

Hughes’ side will play Norwich on Saturday, which will give the rest of the Premier League some idea as to which of these two sides could be in the relegation battle at the end of the campaign.

Southampton were the favourites to be relegated before Sunday’s opening match against the champions, although most people were soon surprised by the Saints’ performance.

Courage and ambition

Nigel Adkins’ men showed courage and ambition during their first 90 minutes in the Premier League for eight years. At one stage, the Saints were ahead thanks to Steven Davis’ strike in the second half.

Although Mancini’s men came back and won the match eventually, Southampton did themselves no harm at the Etihad, showing they are ready for the new season.

Adkins may also bring in more signings, as he has expressed his needs for "one or two new centre-backs".

Following Wigan’s 15th place finish last season, manager Roberto Martinez has strengthened his squad with players such as Arouna Kone, Ivan Ramis and Ryo Miyaichi.

The Latics will travel to St Mary’s on Saturday, which will prove another vital game in both clubs' chances when the end of the season comes. Not quite a relegation six pointer just yet, but nevertheless an important game as at least one of these two could be facing the reality of a battle to avoid the drop later in the campaign.

Premier League newcomers Reading could be down the bottom at the end of the season, although the Royals scored late on to pick up a useful point against Stoke and were leading Chelsea before being undone by an error from keeper Adam Federici and a goal from Fernando Torres that looked offside.

Premier League quality

McDermott’s men have shown signs of Premier League quality in their opening games but you have to wonder if they have a strong enough defence to hold out for the duration of the season.

West Ham showed enough about themselves to stay in the division with their 1-0 win over Aston Villa on the opening day. The new arrival of Matt Javis for £10.75m could boost the Hammers' chances of staying up.

Sam Allardyce will have to cope with the pressure like his side did last season throughout the play-offs if they want to avoid the drop, but they could yet face a relegation battle. We'll get a better idea of their credentials after their game at Swansea on Saturday.

By Josh Harris


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