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Southampton 7/4 to be relegated from the Premier League after being promoted from the Championship

A year after being relegated from the Premier League, Southampton are back in the big time after beating Leeds 1-0 in the Championship play-off final.

Following their return to the top flight, Southampton have been priced up at 7/4 to be relegated from the Premier League in 2024/25, with Leicester City, Ipswich Town and Everton all currently available at a shorter price.

2024/25 Premier League Relegation Odds

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Adam Armstrong's 24th-minute winner made the difference at Wembley, where the Whites toiled for long stretches, enjoying 57.5 per cent of possession but steering only two of their 12 attempts on target. 

Dan James hit the crossbar for Leeds late on, but Saints survived, offering little in attack but defending magnificently to regain their top-flight status at the first attempt.

Leeds had finished third in the table, a place and three points above Southampton, but lost both regular-season meetings between the pair and Daniel Farke must now start planning for another promotion push.

Victorious boss Russell Martin, who prior to his appointment last summer had never finished higher than 10th in the table as a manager, hailed his side's achievement, telling the BBC: "The team have been so great and I'm really grateful and proud of them."

Saints' rollercoaster season ends in Wembley win

Before being appointed Saints manager in the summer, Martin's reputation as a coach had been based on his footballing philosophy rather than results, and he warned that it could take time for wins to accompany his team's improved displays.

He wasn't wrong, with the Hampshire side losing five of his first nine games in charge before beating Leeds 3-1 on 30th September and embarking on a club-record 25-game unbeaten run that ended with a 3-1 defeat to Bristol City on 13th February.

From there they stumbled home to fourth, losing six more times in the league, although they did beat Leeds at Elland Road on the final day and took that momentum into the play-offs, drawing 0-0 with West Brom at The Hawthorns before defeating the Baggies 3-1 at St Mary's.

Armstrong's 24th goal of the season proved decisive at Wembley and his Saints team-mates will need to echo his consistency if they are to survive in the Premier League.

Consistency required for PL survival

Southampton were fabulous at times during the 2023/24 campaign. However, they also lost 5-0 at Sunderland and 4-1 at home to Leicester before being trounced 5-0 at the King Power in the spring. 

Martin's men must avoid such peaks and troughs if they are to have any chance of staying up and that will fall on the shoulders of the 38-year-old head coach.

Burnley won the 2022/23 Championship playing beautiful football but Vincent Kompany's refusal to change his style, regardless of results, contributed to the Clarets' relegation from the top flight.

Martin will need to be more open to change. The former Scotland defender has earned a reputation for playing attractive football, a style which has paid handsome rewards in the Championship, but pragmatism will be required if his side are to stay in the Premier League.

Returning stars could be key

The raw materials are there, however. Southampton's long-term policy of buying youngsters to achieve substantial profit when suitors begin to circle led to diminishing returns in terms of league position - finishing 15th or worse in five of the six seasons before they were relegated, including 20th in 2022/23 - but allowed them to reinvest.

Inexperience was a major issue in their last Premier League campaign, but those same players now have a year of regular football to fall back on. They will need to step up again, but the resilience they will have built in a league that bashes you around like the Championship cannot be understated.

Loanees Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Flynn Downes and David Brooks all contributed. Southampton will need to speak nicely to that trio's parent clubs, while Che Adams is among those out of contract. Promotion has triggered a clause to make Harwood-Bellis' move from Manchester City permanent but those other players all have a point to prove in the Premier League and, should they stay, they will all need big seasons.

Martin's options will be further boosted by players returning from loan. Forward Paul Onuachu and defenders Armel Bella-Kotchap and Duje Caleta-Car are all full internationals and midfielder Carlos Alcaraz has featured regularly since joining Juventus in January. 

That exposure will see him return to St Mary's a better player, although after signing for £12m in 2023 the club may not scoff at the reported £45m buy-out option in the deal should talks progress that way.

Talented young left-back Juan Larios also hasn't played all season due to a hamstring injury but goalkeeper Alex McCarthy, who played in the final is out of contract. 

McCarthy only got the nod at Wembley because first-choice custodian Gavin Bazunu ruptured his Achilles tendon in April and is unlikely to return until 2025, meaning the club will require an alternative.

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