Trio to prove their mettle in English Premier League
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.
NEWCOMER Striker Tokelo Rantie will feature for Bournemouth in the Barclays Premier League