How will Fulham, West Brom and Leeds fare in the Premier League?

It’s a survival of the fittest for the Premier League’s newboys… there’s no place like home for Leeds United, Fulham have something to prove after bouncing back under Scott Parker while West Brom are aiming for a rock-solid defence

  • Only 55 per cent of the teams that are promoted to the Premier League survive 
  • Newcomers Fulham, West Brom and Leeds are hoping to make a quick impact 
  • Sportsmail has taken a look at how they will fare in the top-flight this campaign 

When it comes to English football, the Premier League is the place to be. Whether it be the increased quality, the larger crowds, the financial reward or the prestige of the league, every club longs for a place in the top-flight.

But of those who are lucky enough to make it into the top division, just over half survive their first season in the Premier League. More often than not, teams do the hard work to achieve promotion but struggle to find their form on the big stage. 

This year, Fulham, West Bromwich Albion and Leeds United will try their luck, but do they have what it takes to last the Premier League’s survival of the fittest?

Sportsmail take a look at how the newly promoted teams will fare in the top-flight this season. 

Only 55 per cent of the teams that are promoted to the Premier League survive in the top-flight

Fulham are back in the big time after securing promotion the Premier League following their play-off final win over Brentford last season.

The club claimed a 2-1 win in extra time following a goalless draw over 90 minutes against the Beeds at Wembley. 

Fulham are no strangers to the Premier League, having most recently featured in the 2018-2019 campaign. But the Cottagers lasted just one season in the top-flight after winning the Championship play-offs under Slavisa Jokanovic. 

Slavisa Jokanovic previously helped Fulham reach the Premier League before being sacked 

The Serbian was sacked in November with the club later crashing out of the league after only mustering 26 points, with the squad failing to gel after some heavy investment saw 13 players arrive at Craven Cottage. 

Their disappointing Premier League run saw opposing teams put a total of 81 goals past them, causing the Cottagers to lose 26 of their 38 games.

Looking towards the future, Fulham will be desperate to avoid the same fate as they return to the top-flight for the 2020-2021 season under Scott Parker.

Fulham may have the Championships joint-top goalscorer Aleksandar Mitrovic and a range of promising midfield options, but the squad have struggled to achieve the free-flowing attacking style that was expected of them last season.   

Attacking responsibility will fall to Aleksandar Mitrovic for the upcoming 2020-2021 season

They achieved their success by placing emphasis on possession over penetration. The Cottagers made more passes than any other Championship side last season, but struggled to find the back of the net, with more than six teams bypassing them in their goalscoring tally.

While Parker did a remarkable job in getting them out of the Championship, their troubles in front of goal stemmed from their inability to counter, having created the least counter-attack chances in the division – an issue they must address before beginning their Premier League campaign. 

With Fulham potentially struggling to score in the Premier League, responsibility will fall to Mitrovic.

The step up in quality may prove difficult for their team captain and midfielder Tom Cairney

Mitrovic played an instrumental role in Fulham’s attack last season, contributing to 49.1 per cent of their goals when he was on the pitch.  He had a similar involvement during the club’s stint in the Premier League in 2018-2019, contributing for 46 per cent of goals.

Fulham’s attacking flare may also be hindered by Scott Parker’s trademark slow tempo. Players such as Anthony Knockaert – who has experience of the top-flight football with Brighton and Hove Albion and Leicester City – has struggled to make a mark under given the teams tactics.

In addition, team captain and midfielder Tom Cairney may be problematic for the Cottagers as the crucial Championship player struggles to create chances in Premier League.

Cairney flopped in the Premier League last time around, scoring just one goal and registering one assist.

Fulham will struggle to survive in the Premier League while playing at Scott Parker’s tempo

West Bromwich Albion 

West Bromwich Albion have returned to the Premier League after two years, having finished second in the Championship behind Leeds United. 

At the helm is manager Slaven Bilic, who masterminded a second placed finish with West Brom during his first season in charge at the Hawthorns.  

Under his tutelage, West Brom had the third-best defensive record in the Championship last season, having conceded 45 goals in 46 matches.

The Baggies kept 14 clean sheets over the course of the season, just eight short of the champions Leeds.  

Manager Slaven Bilic and West Bromwich Albion will feature in the Premier League this season

Defensive responsibilities in the Premier League will most likely fall to Kyle Bartley (right)

That being said, West Brom have at times looked loose at the back with their first clean sheet not coming until February of this year and having only achieved five of their 14 clean sheets at home.  

A leaky defense is something West Brom have struggled with before, having conceded 62 goals in the 2018-2019 season. Given the step up in quality at the Premier League, West Brom will need to start quickly or risk being punished.   

Defensive responsibilities in the Premier League will most likely fall to Kyle Bartley – who recorded the most clearances, blocks, interceptions in the team last season.

Bartley also completed the highest number of successful passes in the team – with a 83 per cent accuracy rate.

Right-back Darnell Furlong , meanwhile, could be the secret to their goal-scoring success, having registered 126 crosses from open play last season. That is just one fewer than winger Matt Phillips managed despite starting eight less games. 

Right-back Darnell Furlong could be the secret to their goal-scoring success this season

Leeds United  

Leeds have always been defensively sound as the Whites earned a place in the top-flight by utilising some exciting full-back options and prioritising possession.  

The swashbuckling style of Leeds under Marcelo Bielsa has seen them win the Championship while keeping 22 clean sheets – a total that beat their closest competitor by five. 

In addition, the team conceded just 35 goals in 2019-20, the lowest total in the league, averaging at 0.8 per game. 

It is proven that Leeds perform their best at Elland Road, keeping 59.1 per cent of their clean sheets there. This could either play into their favour as they host Premier League clubs, or could see them crumble under the pressure of playing away.

Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa is yet to choose is first choice keeper for the season

Kiko Casilla was the first choice last season, but was banned for eight matches for racial abuse

As it stands, Marcelo Bielsa’s first choice keeper for the 2020-2021 season is undecided. 

Kiko Casilla was the first choice between the sticks at the start of last season, but he missed the end of their campaign due to an eight-match ban after being found guilty of racial abuse.  

Illan Meslier stepped in to perform for Leeds, starting all 10 of their final games and kept five clean sheets while doing so. 

Defensively, Leeds are known for sitting deep and focusing on their counter-attacking principles, but this may be somewhat more difficult in the Premiership. 

The Whites scored a total of 77 goals last season which was the second-highest in the Championship. However, if you were compare that tally to the score of those who have previously been promoted to the Premiership, Leeds’ predicted number of goals in the top-flight next season equates to a lesser total than Sheffield United and Bournemouth recorded last term.

Illan Meslier stepped in, starting all 10 of their final games and kept five clean sheets

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