Relegation Angels: Players Who Can Save Their Team From EPL Demotion
The margins are so slim.
Relegation can be determined by a matter of millimetres in the English Premier League which is why you need the kind of players capable of taking games by the scruff of the neck and who can get you a point when you mightn't deserve one.
Think Jack Grealish at Aston Villa, Carlos Tevez at West Ham, both Connor Wickham and Fabio Borini at Sunderland and you get the idea of the kind of players who have kept their clubs up when all looked lost.
While it of course takes more than one man to prevent a club from the pain of relegation, some possess the x-factor to become a club hero by dragging them out of pending doom.
These are the angles who could descend from heaven to give their club a second chance.
Stats Insider Relegation Projection: 77.6%
Relegation Angel: Christos Tzolis
Christos Tzolis was bought to Norwich over the summer for 10 million pounds and has been relatively absent so far. Only playing 134 minutes this season and starting just once, Daniel Farke’s stubbornness with the Greek international was staggering. His 3.36 shot-creating actions per 90 ranks highest in the Norwich squad, making his lack of game time even more bizarre and frustrating. He also has the most carries into the penalty area per 90 with 1.33. His 2.67 key passes per 90 also ranks the highest at the Canaries.
The pacey winger could be the difference-maker for Norwich while his unknown nature could catch EPL defences by surprise and be that X-Factor that could keep his club up. If Dean Smith wants to keep Norwich clear of the drop, the introduction of Tzolis could go a long way.
Stats Insider Relegation Projection: 64.1%
Relegation Angel: Joe Willock
Newcastle sits in 20th place, are yet to win a single match and have sacked their coach. Despite having near-on infinite money to soon go shopping with, their relegation angel must come from within. And who better than Joe Willock.
Their savour from last season, Willock in the final part of last season was spectacular scoring 7 goals in 7 appearances over the team’s final 8 games and single-handedly dragging the Magpies to safety.
This season he’s failed to hit those heights, not scoring or assisting in his 10 league appearances so far and producing just 2.05 shot-creating actions per 90. After the Geordies made his loan permanent over the summer, they were expecting some good performances in return, yet the former Arsenal youth product has failed to deliver so far. Should he start firing like he did last season, then Newcastle could well enjoy another season in the Premier League.
Stats Insider Relegation Projection: 49.7%
Relegation Angel: Chris Wood
Chris Wood is infamous with Burnley and the way they play. The Big Kiwi striker has been a stalwart of that side for a long time and has remained deadly. However, this year he can’t seem to find his shooting boots. He’s never finished a season at Burnley with under 10 goals and his 3 with a third of the season already in the books doesn’t bode well.
Yet, Wood has dragged Burnley out of the gutter on plenty of occasions, though Sean Dyche’s persistence with him (whilst Ashley Barnes is out injured) needs to start being re-paid. He currently has his best percentage of aerial duels won since being in the Premier League with 49.3%. This shows that the intent is there and that he’s getting in the right positions to be effective but is so far struggling to impact the scoresheet.
Stats Insider Relegation Projection: 38.2%
Relegation Angel: Joshua King
Coming across from Everton on a free transfer, Josh King has been deployed as one of Watford’s key attacking threats. After not scoring in 11 games as a Toffee off the back of a prolific, 48-goal career at Bournemouth, Watford are desperate for the Norwegian to deliver. With Ismail Sarr and Emmanuel Dennis on either side of him, King has ample supply and service to complement his goal-scoring capabilities.
While his 5 goals in 10 games this season appears impressive - his hat-trick against his former side skews those numbers a little. Claudio Ranieri has a big job on his hands, and the performance and consistency of Josh King is a key factor as to whether or not he will be successful.
Stats Insider Relegation Projection: 25.1%
Relegation Angel: Ivan Toney
Brentford has a reputation for poaching young strikers who then leave for Premier League clubs. From Neal Maupay to Ollie Watkins, the trend needed to be bucked, and Ivan Toney was seen as the man to do it. Scoring 31 goals in the Championship last year, and 24 in League One the season prior, the Bees have their man and are holding on to him tightly.
This season, the jump to the Premier League seems to have been too much. So fsar he's produced just five goal contributions in 12 appearances, and while that's not bad record for a debut EPL season, he's yet to live up to all that pre-season hype.
With the mini-injury crisis that Brentford are facing at the moment they need to be able to pull results out of nowhere, perhaps leaning on individual brilliance to do so. Ivan Toney on his day is unplayable and is one of the most imposing young strikers in the EPL. If he can deliver more consistent results, Brentford's survival will be more secure.
Stats Insider Relegation Projection: 13.2%
Relegation Angel: Patrick Bamford
When Patrick Bamford returns from injury he simply needs to start scoring. His absence has correlated with Leeds' poor run of games indicating just how crucial he is for that side and how they play. Marcelo Bielsa has put the faith in him to make the jump from the Championship to the EPL, and that faith was repaid last year with 17 goals and 7 assists.
When he returns to the side he needs to deliver to that kind of goal scoring form. The likes of Dan James and Rodrigo haven't hit the heights that he reached last season placing further pressure on Bamford to lift this famous club from the brink of demotion. He's shown that he can handle the pressure and weight of that Leeds jersey on his shoulders, though he'll have little time to waste once he's ready with Leeds having won just twice through their first 12 games.
Stats Insider Relegation Projection: 5.6%
Relegation Angel: Emi Buendia/Leon Bailey
With the 100 million pounds that Aston Villa received thanks to Jack Grealish's transfer to Manchester City, they didn't waste time immediately embarking on a spending spree. They brought in Danny Ings (who's been relatively good) as well as Emi Buendia and Leon Bailey, though neither has exactly hit the ground running.
These two marquee signings were meant to take Villa to European football, but are now needed to save their club from relegation. While injuries have restricted their game-time and continuity within the squad, their performances have not been up to scratch and desperately need to improve.
They’ve only registered a combined 2 goals on the season as well as 3 assists which is simply not cutting the mustard in Birmingham. Despite this, the talented duo rank 3rd and 5th for shot-creating actions per 90 for Villa this season so despite the poor performances they still have been threatening and continue to provide a threat to opposition defences.
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