Norwich, Southampton and Wigan: Will they be going down this year?
There was a time when all three promoted sides from the Championship found it impossible to stay up. The vast gap in finances, players and experience sent them down before they had even kicked a ball. However, over the past few seasons the new boys have taken it to the top clubs with great rewards.
Last season all three clubs, Norwich City, QPR and Swansea retained their top flight status, with the Canaries and the Swans winning rave reviews for their style of play. Before then the likes of Blackpool, Burnley and Hull City, although they all eventually went down, won acclaim for their attacking brand of football and for showing no fear.
This year sees Reading, Southampton and West Ham United back at the top table, but can they follow in the footsteps of last season’s promoted three by staying up or will they be facing a quick return to the Championship?
Bolton, Blackburn and Wolves were all established teams in the top flight but fell through the trap door last season. Could this happen to West Brom with Steve Clarke at the helm, and how will Norwich and Swansea fare with Chris Houghton and Michael Laudrup in charge? Will Wigan’s luck finally run out! I think it’s safe to say that survival will be the main goal for every side outside of the top eight.
I’ve asked a number of our Premier League pundits and writers for their views on who will be going down this season, so let’s kick off proceedings with the views of West Ham fan and Squarefootball writer Mitch Waddon, who predicts only one of the promoted sides will go straight back down.
“I feel Norwich are going to struggle this season. It is extremely unlikely that Grant Holt will score as many goals as he did last season and Paul Lambert is a big loss. Some will say that Chris Hughton will be able to keep the club up but I feel he may just fail in that quest. I also think Southampton will face the drop. They’re the only promoted club that hasn’t excited me in the close season, and the signings they’ve made are not Premier League quality. I hope they can fight and retain top flight status but I can’t see it happening. Finally, I think West Brom could be in trouble next season. The appointment of Steve Clarke as manager is an interesting choice and I really want him to do well now he has a shot at the main job. However, I just don’t think he will be able to inspire the Baggies to a successful season.”
Norwich City finished 11 points ahead of the drop zone last season but the Canaries are one of the bookies’ favourites for the drop. Squarefootball’s Sunderland reporter Sarshar Hosseinnia fears the Canaries’ wings are going to be clipped this season and that Wigan’s luck is finally about to run out.
“For me it has to be Norwich City, Stoke City and Wigan Athletic. All three have yet to bring in anyone of significance and Norwich will be deeply hit by the departure of Paul Lambert.”
But the Canaries are proving to be a really popular choice for the drop. Liverpool fan Dave Disciascio believes it will be Wigan and West Ham joining Hughton’s men in the Championship.
“Wigan are set to lose Moses before the transfer deadline and all his miracles with him. They do not stay up without someone to part the seas and West Ham United just do not have a very good squad. It will be interesting to see how Vaz Te performs in the top flight though. While Norwich City have lost their inspirational coach and their shot at staying in the league to boot.”
Chelsea fan Joe Tyler has a feeling Southampton and Swansea will go down with the men from Carrow Road.
“The Swans have lost a top manager and I can’t see the Saints being strong enough to survive, while I think Norwich will suffer from second season syndrome.”
While Aston Villa fan Christian Dougherty thinks it will be Norwich, Reading and Wigan going down.
“This was a really difficult one. I don’t see much daylight between those sides and Swansea, West Ham and Southampton. But in my opinion Swansea and the Hammers have strengthened the best over the pre-season, while Southampton have momentum on their side after two back-to-back promotions, as well as two genuine guns in Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana.
However, Birmingham City fan and Squarefootball writer Steve Coulter fears it will be a brief stay in the top flight for two of the promoted sides who will go down with Norwich.
“I think it’s going to be Southampton, Norwich City and Reading. I don't think the Saints’ squad is strong enough to survive. There will be a severe case of second season syndrome at Carrow Road and I think the Royals need to splash more cash to survive.”
While Newcastle fan and Squarefootball writer Greg Hall predicts Paul Lambert would have been playing in the Championship no matter what club he was managing, along with Wigan.
“Aston Villa and Norwich will go down. Wigan will also join them as they just don’t have the talent from the players in the current squad. I know they had a nice run at the end of last season, but I can see them struggling again, especially if Victor Moses goes.”
And Celtic fan and Squarefootball writer Jim Barry surprisingly agrees with Greg about Villa, who will go down with Wigan and Reading.
“I would worry about Reading in their first year back in the Premier League. It was an outstanding achievement to win the Championship last season but running an eye over the current squad doesn’t give me too much hope for a successful season in 2012-2013.
“It pains me to say it but Aston Villa could be the surprise of the season for all the wrong reasons. I went to Poland to experience the European Championship and I had the misfortune to have tickets for all the Irish matches in the tournament, and I use the word misfortune because of what I saw from Shay Given and Richard Dunne in particular. I only had to endure one week of this calamity but if I had to spend the next nine months at Villa Park enduring this standard of play I would be burning my season ticket.
“I cannot believe that Wigan are still in the Premier League after all these years but in 2012-2013 I think they will sing their swansong. Dave Whelan has done a miraculous job to fund a group of players that really have shown a great deal of heart in recent years. I honestly did not think that Wigan had the ability to relegate Blackburn last season and perhaps I will be proven wrong again this year but from where I am sitting right now I don’t see them staying the Premier League beyond this season.”
Hold on a minute. Was that really a pundit who didn’t tip Norwich to go down? Surely not. It’s ok. Normal service is resumed with Squarefootball’s Everton reporter Barry Gregory who is predicting a poor year for Norwich and Wigan.
“I predict Norwich and Swansea – who both over performed last year under good managers who have since left – will go down along with Wigan, as Martinez will go at some point during the season and they'll fall apart.”
And this is the final piece of bad news for Norwich, Squarefootball Chelsea reporter Tapan Jindal believes the Canaries will go down with West Brom and Wigan, although he fears Fulham and Villa could also be in the mix.
The attention finally turns away from Carrow Road now with West Brom fan Andy Wakeman predicting Stoke City could be in for a hard season.
“I predict it will be Wigan, Southampton and Stoke City. Wigan can’t keep hanging on, Southampton will find the step up too big and Stoke, perennial over-achievers, will finally be rumbled.”
Manchester City reporter Venz DeZoysa also predicts Wigan, Southampton and Stoke to go down.
“Wigan will go down. They keep struggling on without enough improvement and it feels as if they will lose some good players as we reach the end of the transfer window. I think they will go down along with Stoke City and Southampton. QPR will not only avoid the drop but they will do very well this season with the incredibly impressive signing of Park-Ji Sung, Hoilett, Fabio , Nelson etc.”
And Sunderland fan Tony Ratton believes Reading, Swansea and Southampton will slip through the trap door.
“Swansea will go down because of a change in management and the other two because they will find it much harder in the Premier League, though I feel Brian McDermott is a very good manager. If one of them survive maybe Wigan will finally go down.”
Personally I think Swansea City will find it tough without Brendan Rodgers and Joe Allen. Michael Laudrup is a big name and was a class act in his day but he has little experience of life in the Premier League. I also have a feeling that Stoke could be in for a rocky year. They have established themselves as a Premier League club but they appear to have lost the fear factor with the fans becoming a little complacent. They could find themselves in trouble. And I do like to see all newly promoted sides do well but out of the three coming up I believe Southampton will find it the hardest to adapt.
So let’s look at the votes cast.
Norwich City 9
Wigan Athletic 9
Stoke City 4
Aston Villa 2
West Brom 2
West Ham 1
Calling all football fans: Who do you think will go down this season? Will a big name slip through the trap door? Can all three promoted sides stay up? Whatever your views we’d love to hear from you.
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