Queens Park Rangers | Ground: Loftus Park (19,100) | Nickname: The Hoops | Formed: 1882
QPR return to the Premier League as champions of the Championship and will have the added pressure of being expected to fare the best in the top flight out of the fellow promotion hopefuls.
History | Recent Success
Queens Park Rangers were one of the founder members of the Premier League. Their stay in the top flight lasted four seasons before they were relegated to the then Division One. After flirting with promotion and relegation, they were relegated into Division Two, now known as League One.
Having just missed out on promotion for two successive years, QPR returned to Division One on the third attempt in 2004. Since the change from Division One to Championship, QPR have steadily progressed from surviving relegation to missing out on play-off places. Now they find themselves back where they belong.
Preparations haven’t been going as smoothly as QPR would wish. Manager Warnock and captain Taarabt’s future at the club have been brought into question, and ticket prices have been significantly raised. Both are pivotal to the club’s success next season.
The club and manager have all tasted Premier League action before, therefore they have the experience and knowledge on to how to adapt and play amongst the league’s best. Warnock’s never-say-die attitude will reflect on his team’s performances, which could help keep them up. Nonetheless, the Loftus Road faithful will have two West London derbies against Chelsea and Fulham to contest against.
Manager: Neil Warnock (Matches 62 | Won 29 | Drawn 21 | Lost 12 | Win % 46.77)
Manager Neil Warnock has done extremely well to take QPR from a mid-table finish to league champions in the space of one season. Whilst he may have been the fan’s favourable choice, he has masterminded a return to the Premier League following a 15 year hiatus. Having experienced Premier League himself with Sheffield United, he will be hoping for a better return with QPR, having been relegated after just one season at Sheffield.
Best Player: Adel Taarabt (19 League Goals | 16 Assists)
Moroccan Adel Taarabt is undoubtedly QPR’s most influential player, as he took many of the team’s accolades for winning the league. Individually, he was crowned Football League Player of the Year.
The skilful winger cutting in from the left onto his favoured right foot was instrumental for his form, as well as QPR’s. Last season, the former Tottenham player was given a free role as well as the captain’s armband by Warnock, but must mature on his return to the Premier League if he is to succeed.
Last Season Finish: First | Next Season Prediction: 18th
Norwich City | Ground: Carrow Road (27,033) | Nickname: The Canaries | Formed: 1902
Of all three of the promoted clubs, Norwich City has the most recent memory of playing in the Premier League. Nonetheless, they equipped themselves tremendously last season, beating Welsh duo Cardiff and Swansea to the final automatic place.
History | Recent Success
Similar to QPR, Norwich too were part of the inaugural season of the Premier League, finishing third resulting in a UEFA Cup place the following season. Their stay lasted three seasons, when they were relegated into Division One. Ten years later, having won the Division One title as it was known then, they returned to the Premier League during the 2004/05 season. But their return lasted a single season.
Norwich were relegated into League One in 2009, but successive promotions have enabled them another chance in the top flight. After winning the League One title two years ago and narrowly missing out on the Championship title this season, Norwich have enjoyed immediate success in the past two years.
The question remains whether the success could be their own downfall. If there is such a thing, they could be going in with too much momentum. Either that or the confidence the club is currently having could simply continue to transfer onto the pitch.
Since their relegation in 2005, Norwich would have realised the effects of falling out of the Premier League. That experience will help them immensely. If their key players, the likes of Holt and Simeone Jackson, remain fit, they will have a very realistic chance of staying up.
Manager: Paul Lambert (Matches 99 | Won 56 | Drawn 19 | Lost 24 | Win % 56.57)
Following the club’s 7-1 defeat to then Colchester United’s manager Paul Lambert, the club appointed the Scott as manager. In his first season, he led Norwich to the League One title. His success at Norwich continued a year later when he engineered a successive promotion, taking the Canaries back to the Premier League after a six year hiatus. He will be hoping to continue his rich vein of success as he leads a side into the Premier League for the first time.
Best Player: Grant Holt (21 League Goals | 14 Assists)
Along with Lambert, there is no surprise that Norwich’s two successive promotions coincided with the signing of Grant Holt. In his two seasons at the club, he has scored 45 league goals. Many goalscorers in the lower leagues have failed to adapt to the pace and strength of the Premier League. Providing he can get the service, Holt has the ability and statistics to suggest he can provide the goals for Norwich to survive next season.
Last Season Finish: Second | Next Season Prediction: 20th
Swansea City | Ground: Liberty Stadium (20,500) | Nickname: The Swans | Formed: 1912
Swansea City take a step into the unknown when they commence their Premier League journey next season. Since the formation of the top flight, no Welsh side has participated in the league, so Swansea take on added pressure and expectation to do well and represent Wales.
History | Recent Success
Whilst The Swans haven’t been in the Premier League before, they have tasted top flight football in the past. They lasted competed in the then Division One during the 1981/82 season, where they would finish in sixth place. Thereafter the decline hit in, as successive relegation and financial woes threatened their league status.
Swansea City’s recent success in the past five years has coincided with their move to the new Liberty Stadium. After missing out on the League One playoffs in 2007, they won the league the following year. After two seasons in the Championship of narrowly missing out on a playoff place, they won promotion via the playoffs last season.
Whilst their attractive, open play has caught the eye of many last season; Swansea may need to adapt their style if they’re to survive in the Premier League.
We saw Blackpool take the Premier League by storm last season and were a breath of fresh air as opposition. However, by the second half of the season they had been figured out, and teams knew how to play against them. They fought to the very end, but relegation was the fatal outcome.
The purchase of Danny Graham from Watford will help considerably for Swansea. After being the top goalscorer in the Championship last season, his 23 league goals will help give the Swans added firepower.
Manager: Brendan Rodgers (Matches 55 | Won 30 | Drawn 9 | Lost 16 | Win % 54.55)
After leaving Reading after a little over six months in charge, Brendan Rodgers returned to management in 2010 with Swansea. The move seemed the perfect fit, as Rodgers earned deserved plaudits for the attractive football he instilled Swansea to play in a league often recognised for its physical nature.
Best Player: Scott Sinclair (22 League Goals | 2 Assists)
Former Chelsea winger Scott Sinclair made a permanent move to Swansea in search for regular first team football. Since his move he has become a crucial player for Swansea, resulting in him scoring 19 league goals last season. His performances got him included as part of the England under-21 squad for the European Championships in Denmark. A return to the Premier League will provide Sinclair another chance to showcase his skill, talent and pace to trouble top flight defenders.
Last Season Finished Third | Next Season Prediction: 16th