Football Tips: Are the Premier League’s new boys all going straight back down?

They're not all going straight back down... are they?


The 2023/24 Premier League season is underway and it’s fair to say there were no real shocks in match week one.

Paddy correctly called the majority of the matches with his odds. The only upset of sorts was Fulham winning at Everton, and as Marco Silva’s current team finished 16 points clear of his previous one last season, a 1-0 victory for the visitors was hardly an almighty surprise.

HUELVA, SPAIN – JULY 28: Vincent Kompany, manager of Burnley speaks with Connor Roberts of Burnley FC during a Pre Season Friendly Match between Real Betis and Burnley FC at Estadio Nuevo Colombino on July 28, 2023 in Huelva, Spain. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)

Unfortunately for the three promoted teams, they lost their opening games as was anticipated, and they were deserved losses based on the underlying expected goal stats.

Sheffield United were given a fair chance of a result as Crystal Palace can be erratic but a treble on the Blades, Burnley and Luton all being beaten only came to around 4/1.

Despite these expected defeats, all three saw their price for relegation shorten from prior to the weekend.

Luton are the 3/10 favourites, with Sheffield United just behind them at 1/2, while Vincent Kompany’s Clarets are expected to survive but are only 16/5 for the drop.

Burnley Relegation 2023/24

Sheff Utd Relegation 2023/24

Luton Relegation 2023/24

This means a treble on the Premier League new boys going straight back down is available at 7.19/1. How realistic an outcome is this?

History suggests it’s very unlikely.

All three stayed up last season, for starters, and you must go all the way back to 1997/98 for the previous instance of the promoted sides all treating the Premier League like the Grampa Simpson meme and going straight back out again.

Equally, in five of the last 10 seasons two of the previous campaign’s Championship clubs fell at the first hurdle to return from whence they came.

Let’s break it down team-by-team, as there’s clearly a difference in standard between Burnley and the other two. In the last two decades, the reigning Championship champions have only been immediately relegated seven times.

And three of them were Norwich City, so does that really count?

There’s only instance of the narrowest of escapes – QPR finished 17th in 2011/12 – and the average finishing position in the last 20 seasons has been 15th for the second-tier champions from the year before.

The average Premier League finishing position for Championship runners-up in that period has only been 0.1 lower and only one more has been immediately relegated. Curiously, not once has this level of team finished bottom, so maybe give Sheffield United a miss in that market.

As you would expect, it is the play-off winners who have suffered most. They’ve had an average placing of 16.5 in their first season up in the big time over the last 20 years, with just four instances of them finishing above 13th.

Far more importantly, 11 of them have finished 18th or lower and fallen through the trapdoor. Pray for Luton.

With the nerdy numbers at our disposal, it’s worth digging a little deeper. The expected goal data from FiveThirtyEight actually had Middlesbrough as the best side in the Championship last season.

The fact they finished 26 points behind Burnley will certainly please the xG sceptics.

But the Clarets were next best which bodes well when the leading teams from the preceding three seasons – Fulham, Brentford and Leeds respectively – all stayed up. It’s more info which suggests Burnley should be fine in 2023/24.

It’s harder to assess for the other teams from recent seasons. Both other promoted sides in 2020/21 and 2021/22 were further down the Championship xG table and were then relegated, but the same was true for Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest who both stayed up last season. But then both overachieved against their underlying data in 2022/23 while the Hatters and Blades may not be so fortunate this time around.

Opening weekend defeats can be deceptive. Newly promoted West Bromwich Albion got walloped 6-0 at Stamford Bridge in week one in 2010 and rallied significantly to finish 11th, while Blackpool won 4-0 at Wigan the same day and went down.

It’s better to look longer term and everything points towards Burnley surviving while Luton and Sheffield United perish.

Burnley Relegation 2023/24

Sheff Utd Relegation 2023/24

Luton Relegation 2023/24

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

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