With just weeks of the season left, the line-up for the 2019/20 Premier League campaign is almost sorted. This weekend saw two teams book promotion from the Championship, as Norwich and Sheffield United each recorded crucial victories. They each have one final game as they jostle for the title, but their focus will already be looking ahead to the top flight next season.
Just how will Norwich and Sheffield United do in their return to the Premier League? Also, who is going to join them in the relegation battle next term? While there’s still a little left in the tank in the 2018/19 campaign, we’re taking a glance forward to next season, looking at the latest betting odds for next year’s battle at the bottom.
Canaries and Blades Celebrate Promotion
Sheffield United started with back to back defeats, but they’ve lost only seven of the following 43. They’ve been incredibly consistent, moving out as the most impressive home side in the division. The Blades are also set to finish the season as the league’s strongest defence. They’ve conceded 39 goals in 45 matches. Despite that, they didn’t have any defenders in the PFA Team of the Year.
It’s hard to fault the duo, who were kept on their toes by Leeds. However, it’s not over yet for the pair. They are fighting for the title on the final day. Norwich are currently three points clear, while they’re 1/6 with William Hill to lift the trophy. Meanwhile, Sheffield United are 7/2 with Coral to leap ahead.
It’s not quite settled yet, especially as Norwich head to an Aston Villa side who have won 10 of their last 11 games. If the Canaries lose that trip while the Blades win at Stoke, then Chris Wilder’s side will win it on goal difference. If you can see the lead changing hands, then you can get a little more value. Backing the Blades and Villa in a double comes up at 4/1 with bet365, results which wouldn’t be a shock on current form.
How Have Promoted Sides Fared?
Regardless of what happens on the final day, both Norwich and Sheffield United are up. Behind the scenes work is beginning on the survival push next season. That’s widely considered to be a huge job, given the constant talk of the gulf between the Championship and Premier League. However, the jump hasn’t been that severe in recent years. In fact, it seems promoted sides are thriving.
Two of the new Premier League sides are set for an immediate return this year. Cardiff are 1/100 with Paddy Power to go down, with Fulham already heading straight back down. Meanwhile, Wolves are sitting pretty up in seventh. Even if Cardiff join Fulham in the Championship, the recent trend has been kind to promoted sides. Just 11 of the last 30 promoted teams to the Premier League have gone down in their first season.
Over half of those 11 have been the side who have won the playoffs that season. Four of the last five playoff winners have gone straight back down. Meanwhile, eight of the last 10 Championship winners have stayed up, including the last five teams to win at this level. If Cardiff go down, they’ll be the third runner-up to go straight back down in the last 10 years.
However, the five sides above the drop zone – Brighton, Southampton, Burnley, Bournemouth and Newcastle – are all likely to strengthen heavily in the summer. That’s left the two new boys looking on shaky ground, with Norwich currently evens with bet365 to be relegated in 2019/20, while Sheffield United are 4/6.
Who Else Could Go up?
With things seemingly stacked against the Championship’s top two, it’s going to be tough for the final promoted side. Whoever wins it, they will have a month less to prepare with the playoff final on May 27th. The fight for the last place is tight, with the bookies unable to call it between the three sides who have secured their place.
Leeds are obvious contenders after finishing third, but they aren’t the form side of the bunch. Aston Villa are flying towards the end of the season. The Villains are priced up at 2/1 with Coral to go up next month, while Leeds can be found at 2/1 with bet365. Meanwhile, fourth-placed West Brom are pushing for an immediate return to the top flight. The Baggies have had their issues in the Championship, but they sit at 3/1 with William Hill. The sides in the chase for sixth are significantly larger, with a 13 point gap between the final place and Leeds. That’s set up a thrilling finale to this season. However, with history against them, whoever wins faces a massive test in 2019/20.