2013-2014 English Premier League Preview Part One: New Kids On The Block
With each new season in the English Premier League, three new teams join the fray after being promoted from the Championship division, with three Premier League teams from last year being sent down to the lower division.
This has to be the best idea in all of sports. Shouldn’t the Houston Astros be in AAA ball by now? Or aren’t the Charlotte Bobcats worthy of a spot in the NBA Development League? Yes. Yes they are. Every sport should employ the promotion/relegation policy. It’s too smart not to use, but I digress.
This year's group of promoted teams features three relatively well known sides to fans of English football, each boasting a modest amount of success. Can they parlay that success into success this season? Only time will tell. Let's meet the new teams.
Nickname: The Bluebirds
Seasons In Premier League: 0
Last Year: 25 wins, 12 draws, 9 lossess (won Championship division)
Cardiff are newcomers to the Premier League, not just this year, but overall. They have never played an English Premier League game. They will be just the second team from Wales to ever feature in the Premier League, joining last year's League Cup winners Swansea City.
Their defense carried them last season, as they allowed a mere 45 goals in Championship matches, less than one per match. While failing to boast a player with ten goals, they had several reach the eight goal mark, a sign of balanced scoring. However, they will need to put balls into the back of the net if they want to keep themselves afloat in these uncharted waters.
This summer, they spent a club record 8 million pound transfer fee for Sevilla's Gary Medel, an encouraging sign that this club is not interested in going one and done in the EPL.
Nickname: The Tigers
Seasons In Premier League: 2 (2008 to 2010)
Last Season: 24 wins, 7 draws, 15 losses (2nd in Championship)
The Hull City Tigers are back in the Premier League after a three year hiatus. It's always nice to see teams from previous years make a return after relegation to the Prem, rather than sinking like the stone that is Portsmouth. Hull will be one of the team's I hope does well this season for that reason.
However, I just can't see them doing well at this level given their struggles to score goals in the Championship last season. Despite finishing second in the league and earning promotion, they only scored 61 goals in 46 matches while allowing 52. There is no chance that a ratio like that will fly against the Manchester Uniteds of the world.
Hull have brought in a few small names to try and improve coming into this season, but nobody that can pack the necessary punch in my opinion. The Tigers are favorites to be relegated this season.
Seasons In Premier League: 1 (1992)
Last Season: 19 wins, 15 draws, 12 losses (5th place, won Championship promotion playoff)
Crystal Palace were far from stylish during their promotion-worthy campaign last year, but they have brought in some help to try and keep themselves in the EPL. I'm not talking about players, but a hypnotherapist to try and give them a mental edge on the pitch.
This kind of mental help may be just what the Eagles need, given that Crystal Palace drew 15 times, dropping critical points left and right throughout the season. They also had ten losses away from home, worse than 10 teams in the Championship. If they repeat that type of rough sledding on the road, it's going to be a long year for Palace in the Prem.
So, there it is. Three new teams, and three teams hoping to hold on for dear life to avoid going back to the Championship.
Tomorrow, we'll look back at the summer transfer window, one that was a bit dull by the standards of the Premier League.