If you’re a fan of newly promoted Norwich City, Sheffield United or Aston Villa you are probably sick to the back teeth of the coverage your club has received over the summer. Danny Mills was the latest ‘expert’ to flaunt his lack of knowledge about the promoted clubs recently when he seemed to confuse Chris Wilder’s Blades with the Pulis-era Stoke.
Thankfully this article will feature none of the patronising drivel pumped out by the mainstream media. Instead, we take an in-depth look at the prospects of all three promoted sides to provide you with some useful accumulator football tips.Norwich City
There were groans of discontent in Norfolk after three games of last season’s Championship campaign. After an up-and-down campaign the previous year Norwich started the new season poorly, managing just one point from their opening three fixtures.
Fortunately for Canaries fans their start was nothing more than a minor blip, as they motored to the Championship title with an impressive 94 points. The club go into this season full of optimism and hope, but there are likely to be many more minor blips ahead.
Norwich have kept their powder dry in the transfer window, spending considerably less than some of their other Premier League rivals. The club’s key business came in the form of keeping talismanic striker Teemu Pukki.
The former Celtic man found the back of the net an impressive 29 times last season, meaning much of Norwich’s hopes will rest on his ability to adapt to the Premier League.
In Daniel Farke Norwich have a very well-respected, forward thinking and formidable manager. If the former Dortmund II’s coach can get the most out of his squad and sporting director Stuart Webber’s latest recruits, Norwich should have more than enough to avoid the drop.
(Finnish striker Teemu Pukki was Norwich’s top goal scorer last season, if he can notch half as many goals this season the Canaries should survive the Premier League.)
Chris Wilder’s Blades bear plenty of resemblance to David Wagner’s Huddersfield Town side of 2017/2018. Just like Huddersfield, Sheffield United were promoted from the Championship unexpectedly and in face of a financial deficit to their main competitors.
Under Wilder the Blades have played an attractive brand of football with a collection of unheralded players seemingly performing above their capabilities. The capture of Oli McBurnie – one of the Championship’s best players last season – looks like an astute piece of business by Wilder.
Hard-work, tactical flexibility and passion only get you so far in the Premier League. McBurnie’s eye for goal and creativity could give United the edge in the many tight games ahead. Whilst many are predicting Sheffield United to finish rock-bottom of the table, don’t be surprised if they pull of an escape that eclipses their promotion to the Premier League as Huddersfield did in 2017/2018.
(Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United have the potential to replicate Huddersfield’s 2017/2018 heroics.)
Midway through last season it looked almost certain that Villa would be forced to endure yet another season in England’s second-tier. A miraculous run of wins fired the Villains up the table and into the play-offs which they ended up winning.
The only barrier to their Premier League survival could well be themselves. Fruitless seasons in the Championship were characterised by over-zealous player recruitment, something which they have continued this summer.Dean Smith will have a tough job on his hands blending the new characters into his squad whilst maintaining the high standards from the second-half of last season. The permanent signing of former loanee Tyrone Mings was a key deal as was the capture of Egyptian international Trezeguet.
If the club’s new recruits can seamlessly transition into the existing playing squad Villa should have more than enough about them to stay in the Premier League. If however Dean Smith struggles to integrate them quickly, the Birmingham-based club could be playing catch-up early on.
(A second-half of the season turnaround culminated in Villa beating Derby in the play-off final. Dean Smith will be keen to cash-in on last season’s positivity in the Premier League.)