After every English Premier League season is over, three of the worst teams go down to second division. To fill the void, up comes three of the best from the Championship.
After an enthralling season in the second division, Fulham, Cardiff City and Wolverhampton Wanderers have once again joined the most competitive league in the world.
Today, we’ll be taking a look back at the Premier League new boys and how they fared on their very first match back at the biggest stage in England.
Wolverhampton Wanderers- 6.5/10
After a seven year wait, Wolves fan can finally realize their cherished dream of seeing their team back in the Premier League. Ever since they won the 2017-18 EFL Championship, speculations and interests started to grow on about Nuno Santo’s men. For a new team from the Championship, it’s mostly very hard for the likes of Wolves to go shoulder to shoulder against the big names. And how do you cope with that? By transfers what else! Wolves did exactly that.
.@rubendsneves_ bringing Molineux to its feet once again
— Wolves (@Wolves) August 14, 2018
Wolves have been one of the trendiest names in the transfer window this time. They’ve signed veterans like Rui Patricio and Joao Moutinho. Youngster Adama Traore and mexican striker Raul Jimenez’s addition sparked more confidence into the side. Wolves strengthened their defence as well; signing Belgian defender Leander Dendoncker. On paper, their squad looks one of the strongest ones a promoted team has had in the Premier League for quite some time now.
Last time they played in the league, Wolves lost 13 of their 19 home fixtures. It looked like the Premier League’s return to Molineux wouldn’t be a happy one against Everton. But Nuno’s men showed some serious resilience after coming back from behind twice to earn a hard fought 2-2 draw. Portuguese midfielder Ruben Neves impressed the most with a goal and an assist. Despite the spirited performance, Wolves lacked the killer edge; especially when you consider they played an entire half against 10-men Everton. It’s early days, but it seems like Wolves need to work on their creativity; something most wouldn’t have thought would be an issue with them.
Five deadline day signings. Amassing a total of as many as twelve players signed in one transfer window. Total spending over 100 million pounds, something no newly promoted side have ever done in the Premier League. Fulham took every possible step to strengthen and to make sure they’re best prepared for their return in the top flight. They recruited players like World Champion Andre Schurrle and Barcelona’s long term target Jean-Michael Seri. At Craven Cottage, The Cottagers sat in anticipation to see their side win again in the League. But they were let down to some extent.
89% pass accuracy
1 key pass
1 successful run
An impressive debut for your MOTM, Mika! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/xHFvMuvAfL
— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) August 14, 2018
That didn’t look to be the case at all during the first half. Slavisa Jokanovic’s main eleven, bolstered by as many as seven new signings; gelled well and put Palace under a lot of pressure. But, just like their fellow promoters Cardiff; Fulham also faltered in front of goal. Wayne Hennessey was great as well, but Fulham’s cutting edge was missing. They treated the fans with a seriously intense and inspired display. But Palace were lethal. Jeffrey Schulpp scored during the last five minutes of the first half. And from then on, Fulham heads went down. Roy Hodgson’s Palace regained control and ultimately killed the game off when Wilfried Zaha scored the second to put gloss on a seriously disciplined Palace performance.
Despite the likes of Aleksandr Mitrovic, Schurrle, Ryan Sessegnon in the ranks; Fulham’s attack has failed to prove their worth in gold. Even in pre-season, they failed to impress. Now, Jokanovic has a problem. A misfiring attack can lead to relegation. Ask QPR of 2012-13 or even Cardiff of 2013-14 for example. Fulham’s forward line needs to score goals as soon as possible and justify the money spent on them by the hierarchies.
Cardiff City- 5/10
It’d been five years since ‘The Bluebirds’ played in the Premier League. When Neil Warnock was recruited around 18 months ago, Cardiff City were at the opposite end of the table. Very few would’ve bet on them to go back to First Division. But Warnock showed his magic as he clinched promotion for one of his clubs for a record eighth time in his career.
🗣 @Neil38Etheridge: “We move on together to next weekend…”
— Cardiff City FC (@CardiffCityFC) August 11, 2018
But the return was anything but memorable. Cardiff did create quite a few chances, but a human wall in the form of Bournemouth keeper Asmir Begovic denied them. Most notable was a Sean Morrison attempt thwarted away astonishingly from a yard out. Eddie Howe’s side were extremely effective with their finishing, barring that penalty miss from Callum Wilson who did made things even when he made sure the points were the bag of the ‘Cherries’ when he scored the second.
In possession, Cardiff looked relatively smooth and composed. One of the core reasons of their promotions were their defence, which looked extremely shaky against Fraser and Co. Also, in attack they looked extremely harmless. Something Warnock seriously has to address if they don’t plan on going down again after just one season in the top flight. Judging by what we saw on the opening day, it’s pretty understandable why bookies have them as favourites to go down.