Despite being only two games in to the new Premier League campaign, bookies have already tipped Manchester United as favourites to win the league, though they do tend to differ somewhat over which clubs will face the drop down to the Championship come the end of the season.
While many have already written off the newly promoted sides of Norwich, Swansea and QPR, it is not very often that all three promoted teams return immediately back to the second tier of English football after just one season. While it seems fair to assume all three of the ‘new-boys’ will be involved in a battle to beat the drop, my early season prediction is that Norwich and Swansea will be joining Wigan Athletic in the Championship next season, not QPR.
Swansea became the first Welsh team to win promotion to the Premier League since its formation in 1992, and having finished third in the Championship last season, The Swans were immediate favourites to be relegated come May.
Unfortunately, I cannot see the current squad of players at Swansea competing at the highest level of English football, and their 4-0 drumming away at Manchester City may well have been a sign of things to come. Other than acquiring the services of Wayne Routledge on a permanent basis, the Swans have been relatively quiet in the transfer market, and though the Welsh side can of course only spend within their means, the signings of Leroy Lita and Michel Vorm, are the kind of players that might win you promotion to the top flight, but they will almost certainly struggle to keep you in it.
Norwich, though not quite the West Brom, are recognised as something of a ‘yoyo club’ in English football, having spent 21 seasons in the top flight. Similarly to Swansea, I do not believe the Canaries have invested well or strongly enough over the summer period for a club fighting to stay in the Premier League.
While the club have signed a number of players who have proven themselves in the lower divisions, it would be somewhat naïve of us to assume the likes of Steve Morrison, Bradley Johnson, and Elliott Bennett will be able to replicate such form against the best sides in the country, and even Europe.
Norwich’s biggest signing, James Vaughan, has played in the Premier League during his time with Everton, however in 7 seasons the centre forward has just 7 Premier League goals to his name, and I feel this kind of record is ultimately not going to be good enough to help keep his side in the top tier of English football.
After narrowly escaping the drop last season, one would have expected Roberto Martinez to have gone into the transfer market looking to bolster his squad so that such a situation would not arise once more this time around.
Instead, the club have allowed their talisman Charles N’Zogbia join Aston Villa for around £9.5m, yet failed to reinvest these funds on new players. Tom Cleverley has also returned to Manchester United after his loan spell at the DW last year, and only Ali Al Habsi has been brought in to the club after an impressive loan spell as well.
If anything, this Wigan side are weaker now than they were back in May, and I feel that a seventh season in the Premier League could prove to be a step too far for Martinez’s men.
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