Trio to prove their met­tle in English Premier League

CityPress - - Sport - Bournemouth Nor­wich Wat­ford Media – TEAMtalk

Pro­moted clubs of­ten have a tough time in the Premier League and history sug­gests that Nor­wich, Wat­ford or Bournemouth will go back down af­ter fall­ing at the first hur­dle.

Since the Premier League’s in­cep­tion in 1992, only twice have all three pro­moted clubs man­aged to main­tain their top-flight sta­tus for another sea­son, mean­ing the trio will have their work cut out for them if they are to fend off fel­low strug­glers dur­ing the 2015/16 sea­son.

How­ever, it’s not all doom and gloom for the new­com­ers, who look like they have the re­sources to at least chal­lenge the sta­tus quo and force three Premier League reg­u­lars into the sec­ond di­vi­sion for the first time in 14 years.

Per­haps the most ex­cit­ing of the pro­moted trio are seasiders Bournemouth, who make their Premier League de­but af­ter win­ning their first ma­jor tro­phy in the club’s 125-year history.

The Cher­ries earned pro­mo­tion in dra­matic fash­ion with a 3-0 fi­nal­day vic­tory over Charl­ton, pip­ping Wat­ford to the cham­pi­onship ti­tle and com­plet­ing a fairy­tale that has seen them rise from fi­nan­cial ruin to the top of the English game.

The club’s pro­mo­tion also sees the ar­rival of South African in­ter­na­tional striker Tokelo Rantie in the Premier League and, hav­ing fea­tured as a bit-part player in the last cam­paign, he will hope to tie down a reg­u­lar place in Ed­die Howe’s start­ing lineup.

Rantie, who fea­tured 22 times last sea­son, will need to im­prove on his tally of three goals in the cham­pi­onship, though, if the Cher­ries are to shed their tag as a favourite to fin­ish at the bot­tom.

The Ca­naries, last in the top flight dur­ing the 2013/14 cam­paign, earned pro­mo­tion via a com­fort­able 2-0 win over Mid­dles­brough in the play-off fi­nal at Wem­b­ley af­ter see­ing off Ip­swich Town 4-1 on ag­gre­gate in their two-legged semi­fi­nal tie.

The club’s push for pro­mo­tion and even­tual third-place fin­ish was largely due to the man­age­rial prow­ess Alex Neil, who took over the reins in Jan­uary af­ter ar­riv­ing from Scot­tish Premier League club Hamil­ton. Neil’s ap­point­ment was seen as a ma­jor risk by the Nor­wich board, but an as­ton­ish­ing run of 17 wins from their last 25 games en­sured their place in the play-offs.

The Scot is now the youngest man­ager in the Premier League and will do well to keep his tightknit group of play­ers to­gether in the off­sea­son as he looks to im­pose his free-flow­ing style of football on topflight op­po­si­tion. The Hor­nets make their re­turn to the Premier League af­ter an eight-year ab­sence, sport­ing a very ex­pe­ri­enced squad and will be among the favourites to stay up, pro­vided they add some qual­ity in the off­sea­son trans­fer win­dow.

Wat­ford were nar­rowly pipped to the ti­tle by Bournemouth on the fi­nal day of the sea­son af­ter they drew 1-1 with Sheffield on Wed­nes­day, but still earned au­to­matic pro­mo­tion af­ter fin­ish­ing as run­ners-up.

In­flu­en­tial skip­per Troy Deeney was the club’s top scorer last time out with 21 goals and will fi­nally play in the Premier League, hav­ing nar­rowly missed out in re­cent sea­sons.

PHOTO: PETE NOR­TON / GETTY IM­AGES

NEW­COMER Striker Tokelo Rantie will fea­ture for Bournemouth in the Bar­clays Premier League

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