Premier League

Can the Premier League New Boys Survive the drop?


Coming up from the n-Power Championship are: the winners Reading, second-placed Southampton and play-off winners West Ham United. Reading amazed the footballing community to surge up the Championship fairly unnoticed for much of the season, before storming the last stretch to win the league with a game to spare. Southampton achieved back-to-back promotions, recording the best home record in the division and boasting the league’s top-scorer Rickie Lambert, who also won the Championship Player of the Year Award, pipping team-mate Adam Lallana to the prize. West Ham secured an immediate return to the Premier League, as expected, but not with the ease expected, having to win the play-offs after finishing third.

However, irrelevant of league finishes last season and reputations, are the Premier League’s new boys fit for survival?


Winning 17 of their games in the second-half of the season warrants mention alone: but perhaps doesn’t tell the full story. Although Brian McDermott won the Manager of the Year Award for his achievements his style of play is more aptly described as to suit the environment, rather than sustainable. If Reading are to survive, adaptability will play a key role.

Last season, against lesser opposition, Reading were able to soak up vast amounts of pressure and defend for much of the game knowing they had the speed and ability to break on the counter and finish attacks in a clinical fashion. In Hal Robson-Kanu, but Jimmy Kebe especially, Reading had rapid outlets. In Jason Roberts, in the second-half of the season, they had an intelligent target man that knew the Championship inside out, first with West Brom and then with Wigan – both of those experiences, too, resulted in promotion from the second-tier of English football. Furthermore they had Adam Le Fondre in the striking ranks, who had grown an addiction to scoring from the bench.

However, in the Premier League, Reading simply will not be able to defend for such long periods and experience minimal damage. When Reading beat Southampton 3-1 at St. Mary’s Stadium with just a handful of games left, the scoreline told a different story to the match. Reading had ridden their luck and not the type of luck one creates itself: Saints fired 19 shots at Adam Federici, Reading hit just four on target scoring three; Southampton had 60% of the possession and forced five more corners out of their opponents than their opponents did them; yet Reading somehow won.

They had the ability to play with their backs against the wall, knowing they had individual brilliance within the team that didn’t need to be asked twice. Nabil Hassan accurately described that, perhaps, title-deciding game: “Reading’s victory was secured courtesy of some fine goalkeeping from Adam Federici and two moments of magic from winger Jimmy Kebe.”

Although Reading have signed seven players already for their Premier League campaign, three of which were playing in the Premier League just last season, and their new wealthy backers, the prediction is the Berkshire club will struggle this season and an immediate return to the Championship is a distinct possibility.

Prediction: 20th

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Budding Football journalist who blogs at daily as well as writing here for ThisisFutbol and on the England fan's page. Outside of writing is more football. I work at Southampton F.C and I manage a men's football team on Saturdays.