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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Xmas In the Relegation Zone? Some hope exists !

Christmas has been and gone and we all know the oft-quoted statistic that being bottom of the Premier League on Dec 25th is a recipe for disaster ... but how likely is it - and what about the other two teams?

West Brom are the only team to escape relegation after being bottom of the Premiership at Christmas (in 2004-05). So 14 of 15 last placed teams have taken the drop.

It looks like almost certain relegation for Derby County then - but you probably didn't need these stats to decide that.

But second-from-bottom sides have only been relegated seven times in 15 seasons (Leicester 1994-95, Watford 1999-00, Leicester 2001-02, Leeds 2003-04, Southampton 2004-05, Birmingham 2005-06 and Charlton 2006-07).

Unfortunately, that is also the last four seasons in a row.

While third-from-bottom teams have gone down only six times out of 15 (Middlesbrough 1996-97, Blackburn 1998-99, Coventry 2000-01, Derby 2001-02, West Brom 2002-03, Crystal Palace 2004-05).

Of course West Ham were the most recent example of an 18th placed side coming good in the second half of the season - including a 1-0 win at Old Trafford.