Connect with us


Will Next Season’s Premier League be a Weak Division?

The departure of three famous clubs from the Premier League has raised questions about whether the top flight will be a weak division next term.

Dwight McNeil burnley

Burnley, Sheffield United and Luton Town earned promotion to the Premier League from the Championship in the 2022/23 season. Burnley surged their way to the Championship crown and only fell narrowly short of the record points tally of 106 under Vincent Kompany. Sheffield United were worthy of second place in the table alongside their run to the FA Cup semi-finals. Luton were the best of the rest in the playoffs, edging out Coventry City on penalties to secure their first appearance in the Premier League since its formation in 1992. The Hatters are the leading contenders for the drop, but there are offers available to back them to survive to capitalise on their odds.

Rob Edwards and his team defied their doubters to reach the Premier League, but it will take a whole lot more for them to remain in the top flight, along with Burnley and Sheffield United. The three promoted clubs are usually among the favourites to be relegated and the odds for next season suggest that is on the cards.

However, all three promoted clubs survived against the odds last term as Fulham were extremely impressive, while Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest fought tooth and nail to remain in the division. They succeeded where Southampton, Leicester City and Leeds United failed. The departure of three famous clubs from the Premier League back to the Championship has raised questions about whether the top flight will be a weak division next term.

Major Improvements Required

Burnley were a class apart in the Championship, but their last campaign in the Premier League was a struggle. Kompany altered the style of play to a passing-based system that was much easier on the eye than his predecessor Sean Dyche’s tactics, but the difference in quality between the top flight and the second tier was evident in Manchester City’s 5-0 win over the Clarets in the FA Cup before they eased past Sheffield United too. Burnley will look to the example of Fulham, although the Cottagers had been up and down on two occasions before Marco Silva managed to stabilise the club last term.

Kompany certainly has the credentials, but the squad will require significant work. Nathan Tella was the Clarets’ top scorer, but he failed to make the Southampton squad that was relegated and is not a traditional forward that is needed at Premier League level. Sheffield United’s best two players last season were Tommy Doyle and James McAtee, both on loan from Manchester City. The Blades cannot sign both again and will be forced to choose one of the starlets if City allow them to leave. The majority of the squad are players that were relegated with the Blades in 2021, which will make Paul Heckingbottom’s job very tough, to say the least. Then there’s Luton. The Hatters have to spend £10m on improving Kenilworth Road before they can even start buying players.

After replacing Nathan Jones, Edwards brought resilience to the Hatters, making them incredibly tough to beat, especially at home. They bullied a talented Sunderland side to advance to the playoff final before edging out Coventry. But, there is a dearth of quality in the ranks, arguably even less than Bournemouth last season. Luton will be relying on team spirit and using Kenilworth Road to their advantage to bully other sides the same way Stoke used Rory Delap’s long throws to perfection to achieve Premier League safety in 2008/09. The division has moved on significantly since then, and for Luton, putting forward a respectable campaign will be beyond difficult.

Weak Premier League?

The decline of Leicester was surprising last season, dropping from eighth in the top flight to the second tier. Leeds and Southampton were circling the drain in the previous campaign, and poor recruitment and managerial appointments put paid to their respective tenures. Forest, Fulham and Bournemouth were able to capitalise to remain in the top flight, but their battle to remain in the division will continue. There was a large gulf in class between the top sides in the division and those at the bottom. Fulham fared well to finish 10th, but they will require improvements to key positions. Bournemouth battled hard, but the example of Huddersfield Town is an all-too-easy comparison.

Forest spent huge sums of money on a raft of players, and although Steve Cooper performed miracles to keep them in the division, there’s no guarantee that their operation is sustainable. Everton remain a mess even after surviving on the final day. They need a complete overhaul to their squad to avoid a third-straight season in the relegation battle. Wolves appear to be taking a step back and could be the next Southampton. West Ham managed to drag themselves clear in a late surge, but were in the bottom three for a long time. Crystal Palace too cannot afford to rest on their laurels after being forced to turn back to Roy Hodgson. Their long-term future is far from clear.

The Premier League has earned a reputation of being extremely competitive, but next season could highlight the widening gap in the top flight between teams at the top and those outside of the top 10.

Home » Features » Will Next Season’s Premier League be a Weak Division?

Other News

More in Features