It’s been a common theme amongst the newly promoted teams to the Premier League that one of the three teams overperforms in the first season back in the Premier League. Sheffield United returned to the top flight in the 2019/20 season and ended up finishing 9th, Leeds also joined the list with an impressive 9th place finish in 2020/21 after a 16-year absence from the top division in English football.
Continuing the trend, it could also be argued that compared to their promotion mates, Brentford overperformed in their first ever Premier League season, finishing 13th and double the points Watford and Norwich picked up in the 2021/22 season. So which of this season’s newly promoted teams could join the new emerging trend of a stand-out newly promoted side?
Can Fulham finally get it right?
There is no better place to start than with the current Championship winners of 2021/22, Fulham. Marco Silva’s side finished the season on 90 points, having just a 2-point gap on 2nd place but an 8-point gap in the play-off places. Interestingly although they finished top of the division, both other teams that were promoted had a better defensive record than Fulham with Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest finishing on 39 goals and 40 goals conceded respectively.
So in terms of the business, they have done in the transfer market this summer, do they have a chance of becoming the stand-out team? Well, Fulham have so far learned from the last time they returned to the Premier League in that they aren’t going on a crazy spending spree for this team and are searching for good quality players. Firstly they have signed Manchester United attacking midfielder Andreas Pereira for an undisclosed fee and have also signed a 27-year-old Portuguese defensive midfielder, Joao Palhinha, from Sporting for an undisclosed fee also. They have confirmed two more signings on a free transfer in Kristian Sekularac from Juventus and Callum McFarlane from Bradfield College.
In my opinion, Fulham have done some good business getting the likes of Andreas Pereira but I think their current squad is not stronger than what they had in the 2020/21 season in the Premier League and with the Premier League getting stronger and stronger season on the season it will certainly be more difficult for Fulham to retain a Premier League place for the 2023/24 season.
Can Bournemouth make a fruitful comeback?
Next to the Championship runners-up for the 2021/22 season in Bournemouth. The Cherries have been absent from the Premier League for two seasons experiencing their first-ever relegation from the top flight in the 2019/20 season. A return to the top-flight has been the ambition at the club since their relegation and ever more last season after a disappointing return to the second tier in 2020/21. So can Bournemouth make a fruitful come back to the Premier League and be the surprise package?
Well, they also have made a few good signings this summer with right-back Ryan Fredericks joining the Cherries from West Ham on a free transfer. The south-coast club have also claimed midfielder Joe Rothwell from Blackburn Rovers also on a free transfer. In terms of losses to the squad, they have released experienced center-back Gary Cahill, who offered a solid option at the back for the Cherries.
Once again, more good business from Bournemouth, however a lack of quality in my opinion at the top end of the pitch I think will cost them a place in the following season of the Premier League, with both Dominic Solanke and Kieffer Moore yet to prove themselves capable of a being a really good Premier League striker capable of 10-15 goals a season.
Despite that, overall Bournemouth have a decent squad with talent in Jaidon Anthony and experience with the likes of Lewis Cook and Philip Billing in the side. Also, former Celtic midfielder Ryan Christie offers a creative option from the middle of the park and a goal threat from outside the box.
Bournemouth could be the surprise package to the Premier League but it will depend on how they fare in their opening matches of the season possibly having the toughest start to the season with a season opener at home to Aston Villa before a visit to Man City, Arsenal at home and then a trip to Anfield to face Liverpool before a tough test in Wolves at the Vitality Stadium, and that’s just August…
Can Nottingham Forest escape the bottom three?
Finally, we come to the winners of the Championship Play-Off Final, Nottingham Forest. A 23-year absence for Forest making it their first Premier League season in the 21st Century. So can Forest make their incredible dream-like season last year count by ensuring they don’t just back down to the Championship?
Firstly, in terms of history, the performance of play-off winners in the Premier League is mixed with Brentford winning promotion by that method in the 2020/21 season and completing their first season in the Premier League in 13th, whereas the prior winner’s Fulham in 2019/20 headed straight back down to the Championship with an 18th place finish and 11 points off safety in the end.
In terms of summer signings, in my opinion, Steve Cooper’s side have made the most progress out of the three promoted teams with a total of 10 signings this summer. Now although they have signed a lot of players they aren’t just numbers they are also quality players. The likes of Wales right back Neco Williams from Liverpool and Harry Toffolo from Huddersfield have joined the Reds with Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson joining on a season-long loan.
It is difficult to argue that Nottingham Forest isn’t making good progress and have a strong possibility of making a really good impression on their return to the top flight. The big question however remains, is it enough for them to keep their place in the Premier League?