by Kartik Ashta and Mohit Chawdhry
With the Barclays Premier League title decided weeks in advance, the real action in the league was seen at the foot of the table where Newcastle and Hull were involved in a fight to stay up and out of the dreaded relegation zone. Newcastle, shockingly, defeated West Ham at home and managed to stay up despite a miserable end to their season where they collected a total of 4 points out of a possible 33, thanks to Jonathan Carver’s brilliant managerial nous. Hull joined Burnley and QPR in their return to the Championship in what can only be called, ‘second season syndrome’. Bournemouth and Watford gained promotion by virtue of occupying the top two positions in the Championship and Norwich defeated a promising Middlesbrough team that saw the rise of Patrick Bamford.
The article will deal with an analysis of the three promoted teams and discuss their slim chances of staying up.
1. AFC Bournemouth
Affectionately called the Cherries by their ever faithful supporters, no one ever expected them to clinch promotion, much less top the table. Praise must be handed to Eddie Howe’s enigmatic and maverick managerial style to bring them to the Holy Grail of English football for the first time in their long history. Clinching relegation on the final day with a 3-0 victory of Charlton was the final touch before the celebration began in the little town. Bournemouth has players with Premier League experience like Artur Boruc, Dan Gosling, Junior Stanislas and Andrew Surman who have played for Southampton, Newcastle, West Ham and Norwich City respectively. Bournemouth though will have to invest heavily though if they are to have any hopes of surviving the coming season and ensuring that they don’t succumb to second season syndrome like most promoted clubs.
2. Watford FC
Making their return to the Premier League after an 8 season hiatus are Watford Football Club. Occupying second position in a 46 game season is no easy feat, but Watford managed it and a large amount of the weight was held by their Italian combine of Diego Fabrini and Fernando Forestieri with Ben Watson, ex Wigan mastermind pulling the strings from the centre of the park. Troy Deeney was the star of the season, leading the way as captain as well as top goal scorer. Matej Vydra on loan was a shrewd piece of business and seems like a rising star that fits Watford’s systems. He may be someone they seek to take back on loan for the Premier League season, considering his pace and strength. Like Bournemouth, they too require investment in what looks like a squad that is one injury away from disaster.
3. Norwich City
Norwich are back in the big league after dropping down for a season. They return after hitting a $200 million jackpot by defeating Middlesbrough in the playoffs at Wembley. Of the three promoted teams, this squad is the one with the most PL experience and should survive the season in relative comfort as compared to the other two. They return with the same team minus Robert Snodgrass and Leroy Fer, both who must be regretting their decisions to leave for Hull and QPR respectively, much like all players do when they go to commit career suicide at Liverpool. Norwich look the most likely of the three to escape the drop as the team brings much needed PL experience to the table and the cash can be splashed on impact signings to give the season an impetus.
At the end, we’re all going to watch the three teams get hung, drawn and quartered for a good solid, 9 months and then congratulate them for putting on a fight and then wait for the next three sacrificial offerings to come up and derive sadistic pleasure from their failure. Unless they turn out to be like Swansea.