Armchair Pundit

Premier League predictions: 17th-20th

Alex Chick

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All this week, Armchair Pundit will be counting down to the Premier League season with a set of totally arbitrary and wildly inaccurate predictions for each club.

We will cover four teams each day, starting at the uncomfortable end of the table.

Predicted line-ups are based on current squads - obviously these can and will change before the end of August.

So without further ado, let's forecast a season of abject misery for...


On winning promotion to the top flight, Tangerines boss Ian Holloway said he would not go crazy in the transfer market. He wasn't kidding. At the time of writing, Blackpool have not landed a single player, not even DJ Campbell who starred on loan last season.

The hugely likeable - and just a little crazy - Holloway (pictured) will need his belief in his unglamorous charges to be at its most unshakeable as he takes on the biggest challenge of his career.

Blackpool fans should enjoy every moment in the Premier League, because - unless something truly amazing happens - they will not be there long.

Prediction: Holloway's men to maintain respectability, but finish bottom - 20th

Possible team:

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Roberto Martinez's first season in charge at the DW Stadium was an extremely mixed bag, with a win over Chelsea nestling alongside a 9-1 humiliation by Tottenham - Wigan finished with the worst goal difference in the division.

Martinez has bolstered his defence with Antolin Alcaraz, who had a superb World Cup for Paraguay, and right-back Ronnie Stam, who won the Dutch title with FC Twente last season. The unfairly-maligned Titus Bramble has upped sticks for Sunderland, while Paul Scharner has also gone.

Much depends on the future of the in-demand Charles N'Zogbia, a target for Sunderland, Birmingham and even Juventus. Wigan do not stand in the way of players who want to leave, but will be bereft of creativity if he does go.

Prediction: Wigan's six-year stint in the Premier League to come to an end - 19th

Possible team:

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The Baggies might be the biggest yo-yo club of the Premier League era, but they are well-run and have an enviable degree of stability.

They have made only minor changes, with former Spain centre-back Pablo Ibanez the most impressive arrival, although fans' favourite Robert Koren has moved on. Chris Brunt hit 13 goals from midfield last season and will need to be similarly prolific, with Roberto Di Matteo's strike options failing to inspire much confidence.

Di Matteo has taken quickly to management and led his side to promotion without fuss. However, the feeling persists they need more firepower up front to beat the drop.

Prediction: Won't be embarrassed, but may fall just short of survival - 18th

Possible team:

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Mick McCarthy produced a masterpiece in pragmatism last season, keeping Wolves in the top flight, and he has strengthened his squad ahead of the present campaign.

It is hard to predict a starting XI because of McCarthy's tendency to chop and change, a habit that got him into trouble when he rested all of his front-line players for a trip to Old Trafford last season. It worked, through - Wolves stayed up.

New arrival Stephen Hunt was one of few impressive performers for Hull last season, and offers both flair and commitment out wide, while Steven Fletcher scored 12 goals for Burnley - no mean feat.

Prediction: Another gruelling but ultimately successful battle against the drop - 17th

Possible team:

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Tomorrow: Positions 13-16 - Who will be looking nervously over their shoulders?

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