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The future for the relegated Premier League teams

Thursday 16th June 2016
This season has seen Aston Villa, Newcastle United, and Norwich City finish in the relegation zone - all three teams will begin life in the Championship next campaign. But which of these clubs stand the best chance of bouncing straight back up to the Premier League?

It has been a miserable last few months for everyone associated with the three clubs who have dropped out of the Premier League, confidence is at a low both on and off the pitch - changes have to be made in order to improve their fortunes for next season, some of these changes have already taken place. The demands of the Championship will provide a huge test, with supporters of each club expecting to gain promotion at the first time of asking.

Aston Villa

Tim Sherwood began the season in charge of Aston Villa, he was expected to flourish in his first full season as manager, it was hoped that Sherwood's enthusiasm would rub off on his players. But this experiment failed miserably - Sherwood was sacked after just eight months in charge at Villa Park. In stepped French manager Remi Garde - and out he went after less than five months at the club - Villa were in desperate trouble. The club had tried to replace their big name losses (Christian Benteke, Fabian Delph, Ron Vlaar) by signing relatively unknown players from Ligue 1, the trouble was that these signings remained unknown throughout the season, despite spending over £30 million on them. Relegation was inevitable.
Aston Villa have been on a downward spiral for quite some time, the current set of players have lost all their fight and confidence. The appointment of Roberto Di Matteo could go some way to restoring some pride back into the club. The Italian has a good reputation, he won the Champions League in his time as Chelsea manager. Steve Clarke has been appointed as number two, his knowledge and experience of the Championship could prove crucial. Although this season has been full of disappointment for Villa fans, there are signs that next season could see a turn in fortunes. The arrival of new owner Tony Xia is also a major positive, the Chinese Businessman has promised to invest millions into the team to ensure that the club makes a quick return to the Premier League.

I expect a major clear out at Villa during the transfer window, the majority of the squad failed to perform in the Premier League, it won't get any easier in the Championship. Roberto Di Matteo needs to build his own team, using his own ideas. Villa will be one of the favourites to claim an automatic promotion place next season, the minimum I expect them to achieve is a play-off place. There is no reason why Villa won't be fighting for promotion if they continue to build over the summer.

Newcastle United

This season wasn't meant to end like this for Newcastle, the club invested heavily in the squad with the signings of Georginio Wijnaldum, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Andros Townsend, and Jonjo Shelvey. Expectations were high at St James Park at the beginning of the season, and it was down to new manager Steve McClaren to deliver. Although things didn't turn out as expected, Newcastle struggled in the Premier League throughout the season, languishing towards the bottom end of the table all campaign. Eventually, patience with McClaren came to an end, he was dismissed on the 11th of March. The team were too inconsistent on the pitch, momentum was quickly lost instead of being carried forward to the next game. Even the arrival of Rafael Benitez couldn't prevent Newcastle from going down.
Newcastle supporters were left astounded when Benitez was appointed as manager, spirits at the club lifted, only for it all to diminish once they failed to survive. Newcastle are a massive club, playing in the Championship should be unthinkable, but the same could also be said of Leeds United. Could Newcastle become the next Leeds? It was a distinct possibility at the time until news came that Rafael Benitez would continue to lead Newcastle next season in the Championship. It's a massive coup for the club, retaining one of Europe's finest managers whilst plying their trade in the second tier of English football. Although Benitez's task next season won't be easy, having him as manager will increase the club's chances of making a swift return to the Premier League.

Newcastle will have one of the biggest budgets in the Championship next season, it's key for the club to add to the areas which need improvement. Although we are yet to see which of Newcastle's current star players will remain at the club, they will undoubtedly have a squad strong enough to compete at the top of the Championship. Newcastle will start the new season as favourites for promotion, the owners and supporters will demand an instant return to the Premier League, and with Benitez in charge, I think they have a great chance of achieving it.

Norwich City

Norwich were many people's favourites for relegation at the beginning of the season. It was a difficult task for them to survive, their budget was considerably less than most of their Premier League rivals, so staying in the Premier League was a tough ask. Alex Neil and his players gave it their best shot, but ultimately it ended in failure. The team conceded too many goals throughout the campaign, they also failed to find a striker who was consistent in front of goal. Without a solid defence which could keep clean sheets, and without a proven striker to put away the chances created - Norwich lost their Premier League status. It was a brave effort from the Canaries, the club will be hoping to return to winning ways next season in the Championship.
Alex Neil has done an incredible job at Norwich since his appointment as manager in January of last year. He guided the club to the play-off final in his first four months in charge, which Norwich went on to win - gaining promotion to the Premier League in the process. Alex Neil knows what it takes to be successful in the Championship, so it's imperative that the club retains his services for next season. If Norwich can keep hold of their best players while signing a few new ones this summer, they will possess a squad strong enough to make a Premier League return at the first time of asking. Alex Neil will have his players prepared for life in the Championship, they will begin the campaign as one of the favourites to go up.

Norwich will be one of the toughest sides to beat next season, the club has players who have experience of playing in the Championship, many of their current player's achieved promotion with the club just 12 months ago. Alex Neil knows what he wants to see from his team, and the players also know what is expected of them. Norwich will start the season as one of the favourites to gain promotion, with Alex Neil in charge, it's a definite possibility.
Danny Glendenning

Passions include reading, sport, and nights out with friends. A football fanatic whose writing career began in May 2016. Now 30 years old, lives in South Yorkshire - local team is Doncaster Rovers, although heart lies with Arsenal. Contributing editor for It's Round And It's White. Current claim to fame is an interview with Ron Atkinson. Always looking for work, either editing or writing. Contact via email: Dannysg1988@outlook.com. Or Twitter: @DannySG1988.



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