NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: Adam Johnson of Sunderland is challenged by Ayoze Perez of Newcastle United during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Sunderland at St James' Park on December 21, 2014 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

What can the relegation zone teams do to survive?

With the Premier League season now over the halfway hump, we can start making predictions for the end of the season. Specifically, who will be relegated? Currently, there are some real favorites for relegation in Aston Villa, Sunderland, and Newcastle. I really picked an incredible season to ask that question.

While only 11 points separate Newcastle in 18th from Watford in 10th, the distance between the relegation teams and those in the midtable feel miles apart. They’ve looked poor, aside for a few glimmers of hope. Newcastle are inconsistent, Sunderland seem lethargic, and Aston Villa are the worst team in the Premier League since Derby County in 07/08. Some of you may remember that as the record setting season when Derby County were relegated with only 11 point. So what, if anything, can these teams do to survive the drop?

Newcastle (Relegation Chance 5/10):

First is Newcastle. They recently added Andros Townsend from Tottenahm. If they can get him working, it could be a godsend to their chances of escaping relegation. The problem is that he has never really shown much of an end product, and that’s what they need. They have also signed Jonjo Shelvey, who played really well in his first game for the Geordies. This is definitely a player who can bring something to the team.

Both Townsend and Shelvey are young, English players filled with potential who have fallen behind. If they can get these players working, don’t be shocked to see them rise in the table. The biggest issue for them, however, is getting a striker who can finish. If it isn’t going to be one of their current strikers, who’s combined total for the season is 6, then Newcastle needs to look elsewhere.

They have been rumored to be inquiring after Loic Remy at Chelsea. This would be a brilliant move for Newcastle, if they can pull it off. As either a loan or a full purchase, they need to make that move work. Regardless, Newcastle have always been an attacking team. They need to reclaim that. If they persist with the 4-2-3-1 that they have been playing, I would love to see them play something closer to this:

This formation is attacking and has all of the players in their best positions. It has a strong engine room in Colback and Sissoko, and would allow for Shelvey to drop deep. Townsend and Wijnaldum would have license to cut in or float on the wing, something they are both capable of, and give the striker plenty of support, whoever is leading the line should Remy not be acquired.

Read on to see what Sunderland and Aston Villa can do to survive.

Jeff Snyder

About Jeff Snyder

Jeff Snyder is an Associate Editor at 32 Flags, professional writer, and has been working in sports broadcast for almost half a decade. You can follow him on Twitter at @TheJackAnty.