This article considers the chances of success in the Premier League next season for Newcastle, Brighton and Huddersfield, who secured promotion from the Championship in 2016/17.
A key way of doing this is to look back at the records of those teams promoted from the Championship e since 2010. This reveals how most struggled to make a successful transition from second tier to top flight, with clean sheets and goals far tougher to come by. I will also look at some of the players and teams who bucked the trend to become a great source of Fantasy points.
A Difficult Transition
To put that rough ride into perspective here’s a summary of some analysis I carried out looking at the averages for goals scored, goals conceded and clean sheets for the 21 teams promoted in 2010-2016.
While they scored 77 goals on average as Championship teams, that figure dropped to just 42 in the Premier League.
For goals conceded their defences also struggled in the top flight. While they let in 44 goals on average in the Championship, that tally rose to 63 among England’s elite. This made clean sheets harder to come by with their average dropping from 18 to only eight post-promotion.
This means that anyone expecting goals galore and plenty of clean sheets from the trio of 2017 promoted sides, Newcastle, Brighton and Huddersfield, could be in for a shock.
Promotion Success Stories
But it’s not all bad news. There have been some notable high performers from the promoted sides, particularly among the budget picks, proving it can pay to invest in a good sprinkling of players from those coming up to the Premier League.
Here are some notable players who did well in the season after securing promotion, scoring at least 100 FPL points at 3.5 points per game (ppg) or better.
2010-11: Charlie Adam (Blackpool) 192 at 5.5ppg; Andy Carroll (Newcastle -> Liverpool) 135 at 5.2ppg; Kevin Nolan (Newcastle) 140 at 4.7ppg; Joey Barton (Newcastle) 131 at 4.1ppg; DJ Campbell (Blackpool) 138 at 4.1ppg; Chris Brunt (West Brom) 130 at 3.8ppg
2011-12: Michel Vorm (Swansea) 158 at 4.3ppg; Bobby Zamora (QPR) 119 at 4.1ppg; Scott Sinclair (Swansea) 151 at 4.0ppg; Nathan Dyer (Swansea) 122 at 3.6ppg.
2012-13: Rickie Lambert (Southampton) 187 at 4.9ppg; Kevin Nolan (West Ham) 149 at 4.3ppg; Jussi Jaaskelainen (West Ham) 144 at 3.8ppg; Joey O’Brien (West Ham) 123 at 3.7ppg.
2013-14: Julian Speroni (Palace) 144 at 3.9ppg; Jason Puncheon (Palace) 131 at 3.9ppg.
2014-15: Charlie Austin (QPR) 176 at 5.0ppg; Danny Ings (Burnley) 139 at 4.0ppg; Tom Heaton (Burnley) 150 at 3.9ppg; Leroy Fer (QPR) 113 at 3.9ppg; Jamie Vardy (Leicester) 120 at 3.5ppg.
2015-16: Odeon Ighalo (Watford) 175 at 4.7ppg; Troy Deeney (Watford) 166 at 4.4ppg; Heurelho Gomes (Watford) 157 at 4.1ppg; Wes Hoolahan (Norwich) 113 at 3.8ppg; Charlie Daniels (Bournemouth) 130 at 3.5ppg.
2016-17: Tom Heaton (Burnley) 149 at 4.3ppg; Alvaro Negredo (Middlesbrough) 130 at 3.6ppg; Victor Valdes (Middlesbrough) 102 at 3.6ppg.
Securing more than 5.0 ppg is rare though, with only Austin in 2014/15 and Adam and Carroll in 2010/11 achieving this.
Of these, Austin actually improved his goal-scoring tally from 17 to 18. Adam scored 16 in the Championship promotion season and an impressive 12 in the Premier League, while Carroll notched 11 in 19 matches, before injury and an ill-fated transfer to Liverpool scuppered his season. This measures up well compared to his 17 goals for Newcastle in the Championship the season before.
The list includes seven goalkeepers, 10 midfielders and 10 forwards but only two defenders. (I may have overlooked a few other defenders from the earlier seasons).
Few defenders from newly promoted teams are likely to score enough points to justify playing them every week, but they may still be useful as enablers or in rotations.
Previous articles in 2015 and 2016 took a detailed look at the most successful promotion teams for Fantasy managers since 2010. Here I’ll highlight some key success stories.
The 2010/11 season proved an excellent time for promoted sides in terms of goals. Newcastle and West Brom both scored an impressive 56 goals in their first season back in the top flight. Blackpool too did well, scoring in all but one of their home matches.
Swansea proved the stars of the new Premier League class of 2011/12. They were promoted with an impressive defensive record at home, keeping 14 home clean sheets and only conceding 11 home goals. They also maintained their defensive form in the Premier League, keeping 14 clean sheets (nine of which were at home) and only conceding 18 home goals. Michel Vorm proved a shrewd purchase that year.
Southampton‘s strong attack on the road in the Championship was also maintained in the Premier League, where they scored in all but five of their away matches in 2012/13.
A change of manager proved pivotal to Crystal Palace who were back in the Premier League in 2013/14. After switching from Ian Holloway to Tony Pulis they ended the season conceding fewer goals in the Premier League (47) than in the Championship (62). They remain the only promoted side to achieve this feat since 2010. They also managed to keep 12 clean sheets in the Premier League compared with 11 in the Championship.
While Carroll and Austin succeeded in both the Championship and Premier League, the road to promotion is littered with poorly performing casualties. Here are some of the biggest flops.
Adel Taarabt (QPR 2011): 19 goals in Championship, just two in Premier League.
Glenn Murray (Crystal Palace 2013): 30 goals in Championship, only one in Premier League.
Sam Vokes (Burnley 2014): 20 goals in Championship, none in the Premier League.
Jordan Rhodes (Middlesbrough 2016): 16 goals in Championship, none in Premier League.
The failure by Adel Taarabt was not entirely unexpected, since his previous record in the Premier League was not great. He had played six matches but failed to score for Spurs in 2007/8 and only played one match for them in 2008/9, before being loaned out to Championship side QPR in March 2009.
The reason for Glenn Murray’s lack of goals in 2013/14 was quite different though. He had been out injured since the end of the 2012/13 season and was not fit to play till February 2014, after which he scored one goal in 14 matches. He was then sent on loan to Reading for the first half of the 2014/15 season, after which he returned to Palace and scored seven goals in 17 matches in the remainder of the season.
Sam Vokes had scored no goals in 26 matches in his first four Premier League seasons, but then redeemed himself by scoring 10 for Burnley in 2016/17.
Jordan Rhodes had been a prolific goal-scorer in the Championship, but failed to score in six Premier League games and was then sent out on loan to Sheffield Wednesday.
10 of the 21 players who had been among the ten highest scorers of the season in the Championship in 2010-16 did however manage to score 10 or more goals in the Premier League the following season. The 21 averaged 19.5 goals in gaining promotion from the Championship, but only 8.1 in the next season’s Premier League.
12 of the 21 were new to the Premier League, averaging 9.5 goals each in their first Premier League season.
The other nine (most of whom had not been that successful when previously playing in the Premier League) only averaged 6.3, so the Premier League newcomers performed 50% better than the others on average.
The list of failures is far longer as my earlier articles showed. Here are some of the poorest performers since 2010:
The slide in defensive statistics was particularly potent for QPR in 2010/11, as their goals conceded tally more than doubled after promotion and the number of clean sheets fell from 22 in the Championship to just seven. In the same season Norwich failed to keep a single clean sheet on the road, as did Reading in 2012/13.
Scoring on the road also proved tricky for West Ham, who saw their away goal tally drop from 40 to just 11 after securing promotion in 2011/12. Whether home or away Cardiff still struggled to score in the 2013/14 season, where they failed to find the net on a staggering 19 occasions.
Burnley in 2014/15 also proved poor in attack, scoring a mere 28 times and just 14 times in front of their home fans. In 2015/16, Norwich failed to score on 16 occasions and Watford on 14.
All three promoted teams in 2016/17 struggled in their away matches, winning only one away match each. Burnley’s strong home form enabled them to avoid relegation, but Middlesbrough could only score a pathetic 27 goals and only won 5 matches, whilst Hull’s defence, which had only conceded 35 goals and kept 20 clean sheets in the Championship, was completely outclassed in the Premier League as they conceded a whopping 80 goals.
The Class of 2017/18
Here I’ll take a look at the three promoted teams of 2016/17. As we have seen, Championship statistics can often be a poor indicator of Premier League success. Nevertheless let’s have a look at how they fared on their road to promotion.
Newcastle United won the 2016-17 Championship with a team that was strong in both attack and defence, and their away record was excellent – almost as good as their home one but with fewer goals both for and against. For more detailed analysis visit FFScout’s recent article on Newcastle. Star player: Dwight Gayle.
Brighton & Hove Albion were runners-up, thanks mainly to their excellent home record. For more detailed analysis visit FFScout’s recent article on Brighton. Star player: Anthony Knockaert.
Huddersfield Town were the first team to be promoted with a negative goal difference (-2). They only scored 56 goals, the lowest number by any of the last 24 teams to be promoted, and their defence was poor too. Their attack is the weakest of any of the last 24 teams to be promoted from the Championship (only 56 goals scored, the next fewest being QPR’s 60 in 2013/14), and their defence the third weakest.
Only Crystal Palace (62 in 2012/13), Blackpool (58 in 2009/10) and Norwich (58 in 2010/11) conceded at least as many as Huddersfield (58), and only Norwich (11) and Crystal Palace (11) failed to keep more clean sheets than Huddersfield’s 12. A miracle will be required if they are not to go straight back down.
More worryingly Huddersfield’s best two potential Fantasy assets, midfielder Aaron Mooy and keeper Danny Ward, were on loan, from Manchester City and Liverpool respectively. There is no guarantee they will return to the Terriers’ squad next season. Star player: Aaron Mooy.
A comparison of the average promoted team’s performances in the Championship and Premier League should act as a wake-up call for anyone expecting players to be as successful in the Premier League as they were in the Championship.
This means that investment in successful Championship strikers should be treated with caution. Only about half of the players who had been among the ten leading scorers in the Championship will reach double figures in the Premier League. The deterioration in their individual performance may be far greater than that of their team, or it may be a cause of their team’s deterioration. In most cases, however, successful Championship strikers who are new to the Premier League tend to do better than those have been there before without great success.
Clean sheets are also harder to come by, however good goalkeepers for promoted sides can expect to see a significant increase in save points.
Newcastle’s Jamaal Lascelles, Jonjo Shelvey and Dwight Gayle, Brighton’s David Stockdale, Bruno Saltor, Lewis Dunk and Anthony Knockaert and Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy were all in the 2016/17 Championship Team of the Year, but history suggests that they won’t all be successes in the Premier League.