Following another compelling Championship season, Fulham, Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest will be making a return to the top flight.
As I explored in my first Back Page Football article, The Championship – Why it is the toughest league in world football, these three teams have been the best in this very difficult division and have stood out from the rest.
It is a regular occurrence that two of the three teams who have been promoted are involved in a relegation battle, while one generally overachieves against expectations. But which of these three teams will succeed in the Premier League next season and who could be facing an immediate return to the Championship?
First up, the champions who made a return to the Premier League and made the Championship look simple, Fulham. Another impeccable season in the second tier for Fulham coincided with Aleksandar Mitrović breaking the record for goals scored in a season with 43 goals, but it remains to be seen if he can regularly score in the Premier League.
Their Portuguese playmaker, Fábio Carvalho, has agreed to join Liverpool so his creative output will have to be replaced. The Cottagers will have to balance out their spending in the summer if it is to be a successful one as with the past two seasons in the top flight, they have spent a lot in one summer and a much smaller amount in the other.
I think that the West London side will be the team that are in and around the relegation picture but there are many strong Premier League sides next season. They may have to rely on Aleksandar Mitrović to keep them out of trouble unless they bring in a proven Premier League goalscorer this summer.
Secondly, Scott Parker’s Bournemouth impressed last season and under the former Fulham manager, they have recruited well so far in his first year in charge. For the majority of the season, they were around the promotion places but a pivotal 1-0 win over promotion rivals Nottingham Forest sealed their spot back in the Premier League.
Dominic Solanke may be able to put up some high goalscoring numbers after a few seasons in the Championship with the Cherries. They additionally have many young, exciting players who have a very exciting future ahead of them, in particular Jaidon Anthony and Jordan Zemura. Also, attacking players including Ryan Christie, Kieffer Moore and potentially David Brooks are very good options.
Similar to Fulham, I believe Bournemouth, despite their quality, may find it difficult to retain their Premier League status just because so many teams are likely to strengthen their side this summer, but Bournemouth will do the same. The Cherries’ aim for next season would be to cement their place as a Premier League side and then push on from there, as they did in their previous spell in the top flight.
Lastly, newly promoted Nottingham Forest will look to return to the Premier League in style after their play-off victory over Huddersfield Town. Steve Cooper has completely changed the club and a bright future for the Tricky Trees is now ahead after a miserable few years.
Premier League survival is likely to all depend on if the Reds can keep hold of their key players. Joe Worrall and Brennan Johnson, in particular, have had a magnificent season while Djed Spence and Joe Garner are on loan from Middleborough and Manchester United respectively. Garner may get a regular role in the first-team at Old Trafford while Spence will have many clubs looking at him, but Forest are interested in signing him permanently.
As I explained in my introduction, there is usually one team that defies expectations and finishes much higher than people think; I think that side could be Nottingham Forest. As shown with the likes of Wolves, Leeds United and Brentford in seasons gone by, there can be one side that have a brilliant first season, and I think the Reds can join that list.
In conclusion, next season will be another exciting one with a host of attacking teams now in the top flight. Fulham, Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest will all bring a different challenge to each team in this league and they could certainly cause a few upsets. But out of these three teams, who do you think will succeed the most in the Premier League next season?