Mark Lawrenson, the former Brighton and Hove Albion defender believes that it will be Huddersfield Town, Swansea City and Watford who will finish in the relegation zone this season, and that the Seagulls will avoid the dreaded drop.
Lawrenson is also concerned about Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion but believes individual players should be able to do enough to help them stay in England’s top flight.
Many options, but Town, Swansea and Watford to face the drop
In an interview with The Argus, Lawrenson said: “I think there will be a team in the last five or six fixtures that won’t win a game, and quite honestly that could be anybody.”
The Terrier’s themselves face Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal among their final four fixtures of the campaign – so they will hope to be safe by then if they are to stay up.
With new manager Paul Lambert starting to produce some results, he believs that Stoke will be safe: “Stoke worry me, although it looks like they’ve got a bit of fighting spirit back and [Ryan] Shawcross looks like he’s starting to be the player that he was because they’ve seriously missed him in terms of his competitiveness.”
Another new manager in Carlos Carvalhal has given the Welsh team some recent hope, but Lawrenson doesn’t think they’ll be able to do enough: “I still think Swansea will go down. They’ve lost two players in Ayew [supposing he means Wilfried Bony] and [Leroy] Fer out for the rest of the season. They’ve had a really good run – but what follows a good run when you’re at the bottom? Another bad run.”
He then added: “So I’m going Huddersfield, Swansea and I’m tempted to say West Brom but I think [Daniel] Sturridge might get them some goals if he cant stay fit, which will be a bit of a Lazarus moment for him.”
Lawrenson then criticises Watford – another club who have recently appointed a new manager, as he said: “My third would be a bit left field. Watford, only because they’ve got this model where they basically have two managers every season and if one doesn’t particularly work, they bring a new one in, and he does work. But I just feel that they seem to have lost the soul of the club.”
“I just look at them and think they could well be that team that loses the last six games and falls into the abyss,” he commented.
“Brighton will stay up”
On his former side Brighton, Lawrenson said: “I think Brighton will stay up. Chris [Hughton] has never been under pressure and that’s a really good thing from the club’s point of view.”
He then added: “You’re not reading in the newspapers that his job’s under pressure. I think that comes from the top and Tony Bloom knows he’s a good manager. If they finish 17th, they’ve absolutely swam the channel.”