Thrive, survive or dive – How will the newly promoted teams fare in the top flight?
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on July 7, 2016
Making the leap between the Championship and Premier League is certainly a challenge; since 2010 statistics show that newly promoted teams concede 35 percent more goals than they did in their promotion campaign when playing in the Premiership. This demonstrates the gulf in class that Burnley, Middlesborough and Hull will have to overcome in order to even stay up. Despite this, year after year, promoted teams cause shocks, last season 2/3 of them stayed in the highest tier with Watford finishing in an impressive 13th. Can any of the Championships finest from 2015/16 repeat this feat? Here is my take:
Manager: Sean Dyche
Preferred formation: 4-4-2
Predicted finish: 15th
Last season, Burnley went about their business in an extremely impressive manner and were crowned winners of the Championship. Defensively they were very solid, only conceding 35 goals in the 46 games they played; the Premier League is a step up but nonetheless Tom Heaton is a very hard man to beat. They also have a prolific striker with heaps of pace in Andre Gray, the 25 year old fired Burnley to promotion with 23 goals and 8 assists. As a team, they deploy a counter attacking style of play, with plenty of long passes and Sam Vokes towering above defenders to flick the ball down to the ever moving Gray. This model is perfectly suited to the Premier League, with Leicester the obvious recent pioneers of a more direct game having just enjoyed an incredible season; defying all odds and taking the title in the process. Currently Burnley have made no signings and in this respect, if they can improve squad depth and buy a third quality striker they have every chance of survival.
Manager: Aitor Karanka
Preferred formation: 4-2-3-1
Predicted finish: 16th
Middlesborough were also automatically promoted to the Premiership, securing 89 points last season. They conceded the least goals in the entire division (31); their defence is their main strength and is led by the club captain and leader: Daniel Ayala. The 25 year old had an incredible campaign, inspiring the team to 26 wins and considerably bolstering his reputation in the process, keeping the big man is of paramount importance to their chances of survival. In terms of goals, Middlesborough lack a quality striker, with Nugent leading the scoring with 8 last year. This is quite simply the reason that they didn’t win the league, Gray scored 23 and the extra 15 goals would have made relocated the crown. Therefore, Middlesborough need to flip this negative, they get goals from across the team already so if they can sign two Premier League level strikers they will pose a serious attacking threat. Currently they have signed a very talented Danish winger (Viktor Fischer) for a bargain price of £3.8 from Ajax; when added to Downing and Ramirez this squad can offer very high levels of quality in terms of chance creation. If they can sign a striker to make the runs and put the ball in the back of the net then they have a good chance of beating the drop.
Manager: Steve Bruce
Preferred formation: 4-4-1-1/4-4-2
Predicted finish: 19th
Hull scraped into the Premier league as the winners of the play offs; granted this is an achievement but they only finished 4th in what is a far weaker league. Abel Hernandez and Diame are the key men for the tigers, scoring 31 goals between them last year with the most important being Diame’s screamer in the play off final. The one hope for Hull is the Premiership experience within their squad; players like Diame, Hernandez, Snodgrass , Huddlestone, Dawson and Maloney have all performed in the top flight previously, which could prove a vital stepping stone in their transition. However, in terms of quality I believe they are the poorest of the promoted sides, losing the most games out of the top 6 Championship teams. As previously mentioned, their players have played in the highest tier before, but experience of being relegated is hardly an asset. In addition to this, their top players are injury prone, Snodgrass, Diame and Hernandez all experienced injuries which blighted Hull’s last Premier League campaign and directly led to their eventual relegation. Hull have currently made no signings in this window and in this respect they are in danger of an even bigger gulf of quality opening between them and the other two promoted sides, it is essential that they close this gap before the season begins if they are to survive. Overall, Hull are not doomed, but they need an active transfer window which increases squad depth so that injuries are not pivotal; an influx of quality would also help to close the gap between them and other teams. I expect them to get relegated but they are by no means hopeless.