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Newly Promoted Teams – Successes and Failures

This article looks at the records of the most recent 15 teams to be promoted from the Championship to the Premier League. This will compare their performances, detail the reality check they faced in stepping up to top-flight football and look ahead to the prospects of  this season’s promotion-winning trio of Norwich, Bournemouth and Watford  when they join English football’s elite in 2015/16. All statements about worst and best performances refer to comparisons between these 18 promoted teams, not between other Championship or Premier League teams. Star players list are those that made proved good Fantasy players in the Premier League.

Clubs promoted in 2010

Newcastle scored 56 home goals in winning the 2009/10 Championship, the best by any promotion-winning team during this six-year period, and their overall total of 90 goals was the third best amongst all promoted teams after 2010. Their 41 home goals in the 2010-11 Premier League was also the best by any team promoted since 2010, and their overall total of 56 was only equalled by West Brom. Star player: Andy Carroll.

Runners-up West Brom were also prolific. Their overall total of 89 goals in the Championship being the fourth best during the period looked at in this article. Their 26 away goals in the 2010-11 Premier League was the best amongst all promoted sides since 2010, and their overall total of 56 goals was joint-best amongst all promoted sides with Newcastle. They did, however, only keep two Premier League clean sheets (both at home), the lowest total and biggest deterioration defensively among promoted sides since 2010. Star player: Peter Odemwingie.

Blackpool only failed to score in one home match in the Championship, and repeated the feat in the Premier League, both of which were bests for a newly promoted team since 2010. They also did well in terms of total goals scored (which only dropped from 74 to 55) and away goals scored (which only dropped from 28 to 25). Their weakness, however, was in defence. In the Championship they conceded 36 away goals and in the Premier League they conceded 78 goals, 37 of which were at home. Blackpool also kept the smallest number of home clean sheets of a post 2010 promoted side – just one, which was the biggest deterioration (down from nine in the Championship). Star player: Charlie Adam.

Clubs promoted in 2011

QPR won the 2010/11 Championship with the lowest numbers of total goals conceded (32), away goals conceded (17) and the greatest number of clean sheets (25) and away clean sheets (13) amongst post-2010 promoted sides. But in the 2011/12 Premier League they showed a huge deterioration in total goals conceded (from 32 to 66) and away goals conceded (from 17 to 41). Star player: Bobby Zamora.

Norwich were runners-up, but amongst promoted teams since 2010 they had the lowest number of home clean sheets (four) and joint-lowest number of total clean sheets (11). In the 2011/12 Premier League they had the joint fewest number of away failures to score (five) amongst promoted sides, but they also had the joint-lowest number of away clean sheets (zero) and the joint-biggest deterioration in away clean sheets (from seven to zero). This failure to carry strong defensive away form into top-flight football is something we will address later in this article. Star player: Wes Hoolahan.

Swansea were promoted with the smallest number of home goals conceded (11) and the highest number of home clean sheets (14) of post-2010 promoted sides. But unlike Norwich, when they made the step up to the Premier League, they maintained their impressive defensive record, with the lowest number of home goals conceded (18) amongst promoted teams and the greatest number of total clean sheets (14) and home clean sheets (9). Star player: Michel Vorm.

Clubs promoted in 2012

Reading won the 2011/12 Championship on the back of strong defence of 20 clean sheets and only 41 goals conceded. But in the the 2012/13 Premier League this strong record was left in tatters as they failed to register any away clean sheets. Star player: Adam Le Fondre

Southampton were runners-up this year on the back of a strong attack. This carried over  into the 2012/13 Premier League season where they failed to score away from home just five times. Star player: Rickie Lambert.

West Ham‘s strong away form, with 40 goals on road,  ensured promotion from the Championship. But in the 2012-13 Premier League season they suffered a rude awakening, only scoring 11 on their travels.  At home though they performed better in the top flight, only dropping from 41 to 34 in terms of home goals scored. Star player: Kevin Nolan.

Clubs promoted in 2013

Cardiff won the 2012-13 Championship but this was largely thanks to a strong defensive record rather than goalscoring ability as they conceded 45 goals but only scored 72 – 17 fewer than Watford that season.  This sorry state of affairs in attack carried over into the Premier League where they failed to score on a staggering 19 occasions in the 2013/14 season and were promptly relegated. Star player: Jordan Mutch

Hull were runners-up in the Championship, and were also poor in attack, registering just 61 goals.  As with Cardiff, this failure in attack also carried on into the Premier League in 2013/14, where they narrowly avoided relegation after scoring just 38 goals. However, they did only concede 53 times, one more than they let in during their promotion winning Championship season. Star player: Curtis Davies.

Crystal Palace were promoted despite conceding 62 goals. But in the 2013/14 Premier League it was a different story as they were the only team promoted since 2010 to concede fewer goals in the Premier League than in the Championship, shipping just 47 in the top flight in 2013/14. They also kept 12 clean sheets in the Premier League, compared to 11 in their promotion winning Championship season. This improvement came only after Tony Pulis took over from Ian Holloway as manager.  Star manager: Tony Pulis.

Clubs promoted in 2014

Leicester won the 2013-14 Championship with the smallest number of total failures to score (three) and away failures to score (one) amongst post 2010 promoted teams. In the 2014-15 Premier League, however, they showed a huge deterioration in total failures to score (up to 14), with home failures to score up from two to six and away failures to score up from one to eight. But with a succession of wins in the final half of the season they secured safety after finally finding the winning combination of clean sheets and goals. Star player: Jamie Vardy.

Burnley were runners-up in the 2013-14 Championship and showed a defensive resiliance in the top flight. In the 2014/15 Premier League season they conceded the smallest number of total goals (43) and away goals (23) amongst promoted teams looked at in this article. Their attack though was woeful, with Burnley only finding the net 28 times.  It was no wonder they failed to secure Premier League status. Star player: Danny Ings.

QPR‘s promotion came despite scoring the lowest number of total goals (60) amongst post-2010 promoted sides. They also had the greatest number of total failures to score (13) and away failures to score (10). In the 2014/15 Premier League their attack improved significantly, especially in away matches, but conceding 49 goals away from home proved to be relegation form. Star player: Charlie Austin.

Clubs promoted in 2015

Bournemouth won the 2014-15 Championship impressively, scoring the greatest number of total goals (98) and away goals (50) of promoted teams since 2010. Their defence was only average for a promoted team. Star players: Callum Wilson & Matt Ritchie.

Watford were runners-up with the second greatest number of total goals (91) amongst promoted sides looked at in this article. Their defence, however, was below average, with just 15 clean sheets, seven of which came at home.  Star player: Troy Deeney

Norwich were promoted with the fifth greatest number of total goals (88) amongst post-2010 promoted sides.  As with Watford, their defence was suspect in the Championship and could be an even bigger issue in the Premier League. In their promotion-winning season they kept 14 clean sheets, with their defence seemingly more confident away from home. They conceded fewer goals away than at home and kept two more clean sheets on the road than at Carrow Road. This away form could prove crucial information for those looking to involve Norwich defenders or goalkeeper in a rotation strategy, as it appears they could be utilised better away from home. But as we saw in 2011 this could be the second promotion-winning campaign on the bounce where the Canaries fail to carry their defensive resolve away from home in the Championship with them into the Premier League. Star Players: Bradley Johnson and Nathan Redmond

Analysis

A comparison of the average promoted team’s performances in both the Championship and Premier League should act as a wake-up call for those expecting similar attacking prowess from 2015’s trio of promoted teams.

On average, promoted teams scored 1.64 goals per match in the Championship, but this reduced to 0.99 in the Premier League. This indicates that investment in successful Championship strikers should be treated with caution. For every success like Charlie Austin, who scored 17 goals in QPR’s promotion season, 2013/14, and 18 in the Premier League in 2014/15, there is also a failure, like Sylvan Ebanks Blake. The Wolverhampton Wanderers striker scored 25 goals in the Midlands side’s 2008/9 promotion-winning season, only to score just two goals the following season in the Premier League.

The average promoted team over the period 2010 and 2014 conceded 1.00 goals per match in the Championship, rising to 1.63 in the Premier League. On average, the number of home goals conceded per match increased from 0.86 to 1.37, while the number of away goals per match conceded increased from 1.14 to 1.88. With just five home clean sheets on average for 2010-2014’s promoted sides, even at home, promoted sides face a mountain to climb as they move to the top flight.

N.B. Figures for the Average Team were obtained by summing the stats for the 15 teams promoted in 2010-14 and then dividing by 15. The Championship figures are for 46 matches (play-off matches being excluded), and the Premier League figures are for 38 matches.

RedLightning The 2023/24 winners of my mini-leagues were: Opening Day League: Ben Tinker; Top 10k Any Season and Multiple Top 10k Finishes: Euan Thompson; January to May League: Mateusz Kabat; and The Last Ten: Sandeep Ramadev.

20 Comments Post a Comment
  1. J0E
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    • 14 Years
    8 years, 11 months ago

    Great research. Shows that the promoted times have a tough time ahead. Norwich's defence is particularly interesting. Can they maintain at least some of their strong away form in the Championship?

  2. Eze Really?
    • 10 Years
    8 years, 11 months ago

    What a marvelous article. Struggled to understand the first one on daily hot topics and it needs more thought. Unfortunately, I still fear the need to take rotating defenders on promoted sides (Bournemouth and Watford) for the first 5 or so GW's due to favorable fixtures. I might get lucky. Possible reserves when more forward like Ritchie etc.Got me thinking for sure!

  3. RedLightning
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    • 13 Years
    8 years, 11 months ago

    Cardiff's defensive record in 2012-13 was not strong. Like their attacking record, it was slightly below average for a promoted team. Watford that season were one of a number of non-promoted teams that have outperformed some of the promoted teams in either attack or defence, but we have not mentioned any of the others.

    The change in Leicester's fortunes did not occur till the last quarter of the season, when they won 7 of their last 9 matches.

    Since Burnley's defensive record in the Premier League was excellent whereas their attack was terrible, I would consider that their star player was Tom Heaton, whose 150 FPL points was only exceeded by Fabianski. Not all star players are forwards.

    Like Norwich, Watford's defence in 2014-15 performed better in away matches than at home.

    The weakness of Norwich's and Watford's defences should not be exaggerated though. They were both just slightly below average compared with other promoted teams, especially in home matches.

    Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich are by far the highest scoring trio to be promoted in the past 6 seasons, so we should be able to look forward to plenty of goals from them in the coming season – but not as many as they scored in the Championship! Could Callum Wilson or Troy Deeney be the next Charlie Austin?

    The average number of goals scored per match by a promoted team only dropped to 1.16 in the Premier League (not 0.99).

    So goals scored per match by a promoted team drop by about 30%, and goals conceded per match increase by about 60%.

    13 players in teams promoted 2010-14 were among the top ten scorers in the Championship for that season, but only 7 of them reached double figures in the Premier League the following season. The average player in this set scored 20 goals in the Championship but only 8.8 goals in the Premier League.

    I could also list the average, best and worst performances by promoted teams, as well as the biggest improvements and worst deteriorations if anyone is interested. For example, the average number of Premier League clean sheets for a promoted team was 8, the greatest number was 14 by Swansea, and the smallest number was 2 by West Brom.

    1. Sticky Mockwell
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      8 years, 11 months ago

      I really like this article, thanks.

      My impression from reading it is that:
      - teams who got promoted on the back of strong attacking stats have carried that offensive threat through to the PL, albeit with poor defences
      - teams promoted due to solid defences have suffered in the PL, both attacking and defending

      Any thoughts? Given that this years promoted trio all scored heavily, perhaps they are worthy of attention

      I'd like to see a scatter plot of goals scored in the Championship against goals scored in the PL for those 13 players. Any chance you could list the players so I can work it out? Thanks again!

      1. RedLightning
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        • 13 Years
        8 years, 11 months ago

        The following players from promoted teams were among the top ten highest scorers in the championship that season:

        Charlie Adam (Blackpool 2010): 16 in Championship, 12 in Premier League.
        Andy Carroll (Newcastle 2010): 17 in Championship, 11 in 19 matches in Premier League before his injury and transfer.
        Kevin Nolan (Newcastle 2010): 17 in Championship, 12 in Premier League.
        Grant Holt (Norwich 2011): 21 in Championship, 15 in Premier League.
        Adel Taarabt (QPR 2011): 19 in Championship, 2 in Premier League.
        Scott Sinclair (Swansea 2011): 19 in Championship, 8 in Premier League.
        Rickie Lambert (Southampton 2012): 27 in Championship, 15 in Premier League.
        Glenn Murray (Crystal Palace 2013): 30 in Championship, 1 in Premier League.
        Danny Ings (Burnley 2014): 21 in Championship, 11 in Premier League.
        David Nugent (Leicester 2014): 20 in Championship, 5 in Premier League.
        Sam Vokes (Burnley 2014): 20 in Championship, 0 in Premier League.
        Charlie Austin (QPR 2014): 17 in Championship, 18 in Premier League.
        Jamie Vardy (Leicester 2014): 16 in Championship, 5 in Premier League.
        Troy Deeney (Watford 2015): 21 in Championship.
        Callum Wilson (Bournemouth 2015): 19 in Championship.
        Odion Ighalo (Watford 2015): 20 in Championship.
        Cameron Jerome (Norwich 2015): 18 in Championship.

        Only 7 out of 13 scored more than 10 goals in the Premier League the following season.
        The average player in this set scored 20 goals in the Championship and 8.8 goals in the Premier League.

        Could Troy Deeney or Callum Wilson be the next Charlie Austin?

        1. Sticky Mockwell
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          8 years, 11 months ago

          Great thanks, that was quick!

          That looks quite promising to me. Taking out Murray and Vokes as they had serious injuries the only real failures were Taarabt (no explanation required), Nugent and Vardy.

          I like the look of Deeney but the fixtures give a chance to wait and see.

          I think I will almost certainly go for a bournemouth attacker. I saw them at Portman Road last season and they looked like a PL team

      2. RedLightning
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        • 13 Years
        8 years, 11 months ago

        It does appear to be true in general that promoted teams find it easier to maintain strong attacking stats than strong defensive ones.

        With a few exceptions:
        Swansea's defence remained strong.
        Crystal Palace turned a poor defensive record into a strong one, thanks to a change of manager.
        And Burnley's defensive record in the Premier League was the best of the promoted teams, but this was insufficient to compensate for their inability to score goals.

  4. RedLightning
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    • 13 Years
    8 years, 11 months ago

    The following players from teams promoted in the period 2010-15 were all in the Championship Team of the Season:

    Newcastle 2010: Andy Carroll, Kevin Nolan, Jose Enrique, Fabricio Coloccini
    West Brom 2010: Graham Dorrans
    Blackpool 2010: Charlie Adam
    QPR 2011:Adel Taarabt, Paddy Kenny
    Norwich 2011: Grant Holt, Wes Hoolahan
    Swansea 2011: Scott Sinclair, Ashley Williams
    Reading 2012: Ian Harte
    Southampton 2012: Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Kelvin Davis
    West Ham 2012:Mark Noble, James Tomkins
    Cardiff 2013: Peter Whittingham, Mark Hudson
    Hull 2013: none
    Crystal Palace 2013: Glenn Murray, Yannick Bolasie, Wilfried Zaha
    Leicester 2014: Danny Drinkwater, Wes Morgan, Kaspar Schmeichel
    Burnley 2014: Danny Ings, Jason Shackell, Kieran Trippier
    QPR 2014: none.
    Bournemouth 2015: Matt Ritchie, Simon Francis
    Watford 2015: Troy Deeney
    Norwich 2015: Russell Martin

    Not all the best players in the Championship maintain their form in the Premier League!

  5. Twisted Saltergater
    • 14 Years
    8 years, 11 months ago

    Great research, RedLightning, but why is this article not presented as a table with a summary?! It's hugely difficult to read sections such as, "Crystal Palace were promoted despite conceding the highest number of total goals (62) and home goals (52) in the Championship, amongst post-2010 promoted sides. The Eagles also scored a lowly 18 away goals and kept just five away clean sheets.", for each team.

    I'm probably coming over as completely ungrateful, I just think a table would work wonders here.

    1. RedLightning
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      • 13 Years
      8 years, 11 months ago

      The article did start out with a large number of tables, but has gone through many iterations since then. The comments on each team were based on these tables, but perhaps they should have been rather shorter.

      I hope the following summary of the results of comparisons between the 18 promoted teams might help:

      Goals scored:
      Championship: average 75, most 98 (Bournemouth), least 60 (QPR 2013-14)
      Premier League: average 45, most 56 (Newcastle & West Brom), least 28 (Burnley)
      Biggest relative improvement: Blackpool (74 to 55), Worst deterioration: Burnley (72 to 28)

      Goals conceded:
      Championship: average 46, least 32 (QPR 2010-11), most 62 (Crystal Palace)
      Premier League: average 62, least 43 (Burnley), most 78 (Blackpool)
      Biggest improvement: Crystal Palace (62 to 47), Worst deterioration: QPR 2010 (32 to 66)

      Clean Sheets:
      Championship: average 18, most 25 (QPR 2010-11), least 11 (Norwich 2010-11 & Crystal Palace)
      Premier League: average 8, most 14 (Swansea), least 2 (West Brom)
      Biggest improvement: Crystal Palace (11 to 12), Worst deterioration West Brom (15 to 2)

      Failures to score:
      Championship: average 8, least 3 (Leicester), most 13 (QPR 2013-14)
      Premier League: average 13, least 8 (Blackpool), most 19 (Cardiff)
      Biggest improvement: QPR 2014 (13 to 12), Worst deterioration: Leicester (3 to 14)

      1. Twisted Saltergater
        • 14 Years
        8 years, 11 months ago

        That's much better, RedLightning. Thank you for going to the trouble.

        I think it will be essential for the promoted teams to strengthen ahead of the PL season. Even a playmaker in midfield can help the defence by keeping more possession.

    2. J0E
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      • 14 Years
      8 years, 11 months ago

      Yep we had a lot of toing and froing through the editing stage. Redlightning had so much research and data here it was difficult to present it all in an easy to read format. Tables would have been good, but that wasn't possible with the data and presentation at hand. There's a whole book's worth of research here and we spent alot of time on this but I think overall it gives a good snap shot of the rude awakening that greets Championship sides when they reach the Premier League.

      1. J0E
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        • 14 Years
        8 years, 11 months ago

        I have altered that paragraph though to scale back the data a bit more and make it easier to read.

      2. Twisted Saltergater
        • 14 Years
        8 years, 11 months ago

        No worries, Jonty.

        Something I'd been working on for just the promoted teams this year, was this kind of format in a spreadsheet:

        Team, Games, GF Home, GA Home, CS Home, GF Away, GA Away, CS Away and similarly, present the PL stats for the season immediately following promotion, alongside this.

        1. RedLightning
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          • 13 Years
          8 years, 11 months ago

          The tables in my original version also split all the measurements into 3 parts - home, away and total - which made them rather dense and difficult to present.

          I only put them in a word document though - perhaps they might have been better in a spread-sheet.

          I did consider just presenting the tables and leaving others to interpret the data, but we decided that most readers would not be prepared to wade through all the tables themselves but would prefer to see conclusions derived from them in words.

    3. RedLightning
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      • 13 Years
      8 years, 11 months ago

      I've just noticed that that Crystal Palace entry you quote contained an error which we failed to correct - they only conceded 31 home goals in the Championship, not 52.

      But Jonty has removed that now anyway.

  6. Twelve years a slave
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 13 Years
    8 years, 11 months ago

    A well put together article, which highlights the folly of picking up newly promoted assets for anything other than bench warming duties.

  7. Lucy.
    • 10 Years
    8 years, 11 months ago

    I really enjoyed this, thanks!

  8. Kompany Man
    • 11 Years
    8 years, 11 months ago

    This was very thought-provoking and informative. Thank you!

    I share the concern about the success of standout Championship players in the Premier League, particularly because we don't know who these teams will bring in and how that will change the team dynamics.

    On the other hand, at the team level, I think there is some evidence that results in the Championship do have some relevance to predicting success in the Premier League. Looking at the last 13 seasons, the best linear model based on Championship results has a correlation of 58% for goals scored at home and a correlation of 51% for goals allowed away. (The other two, goals scored away and goals allowed at home, aren't as easily predicted.) A 50+% correlation means there is still a lot of noise, but I think there is also enough signal that it is worth paying attention to it.

    The model predicts all 3 of this year's promoted teams to score 30+ goals at home. Of the teams that have been predicted to score 28+ in past seasons, the least goals actually scored was 26, which is still above the average of 23.7. So a high home goals scored prediction does seem to be good evidence that the team will be better than most promoted teams, and all three promoted teams this year fit that description. Bournemouth in particular have the highest predicted goals scored at home (34.8) of any team in the past 13 seasons. I wouldn't bet on them actually achieving that, but I would bet that they do substantially better than the average promoted team in terms of scoring.

    In terms of goals allowed away, the model predicts Norwich to be above average, Bournemouth to be average, and Watford to be worse than average.

    That said, I'm not sure how much I would read into those defensive predictions. The model does not do particularly well estimating goals allowed overall (both home and away). However, it does do well (50+% correlation) for goals scored overall, so I think there is some reason to believe that these promoted teams will have above average attacking returns compared to most promoted teams.

    P.S. If anyone can find team wages for the promoted teams from 2002-2015, I would love to try adding that into the model. I'll bet it has some predictive value.

    1. RedLightning
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      • 13 Years
      8 years, 11 months ago

      That's very interesting, KM - thanks!

      Home goals scored by newly promoted teams in the Premier League in the last five seasons:
      2010-11: Newcastle 41, West Brom 30, Blackpool 30
      2011-12: QPR 24, Norwich 28, Swansea 28
      2012-13: Reading 23, Southampton 26, West Ham 34
      2013-14: Cardiff 20, Hull 20, Crystal Palace 18
      2014-15: Leicester 28, Burnley 14, QPR 23
      5 season average: 25.7

      I would guess that the teams which your model predicted to score 28+ during this period might have been Newcastle, West Brom, Blackpool, Norwich 2011, Southampton, Crystal Palace and Leicester, who had scored 56, 48, 46, 47, 49, 52 and 46 home goals respectively in the Championship (Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich 2015 scored 48, 48 and 50). Apart from the outliers Crystal Palace (who replaced a very attacking manager with a defensive genius) and Newcastle, the other five all scored from 26 to 30 home goals in the Premier League.

      You say that the 13 season average is 2 goals lower at 23.7, which suggests that seasons like 2010-11 don't come around very often - but I would think that 2015-16 should have a good chance of matching it!