Premier League: Breaking Down the 3 Promoted Clubs
With Monday's Championship playoff final in the books, the 2017-18 Premier League roster is set. Huddersfield Town's penalty success propelled them to the top tier along with Newcastle and Brighton and Hove Albion, who advanced via their regular-season finish.
Each team will likely undergo plenty of changes over the next three months as their respective clubs gear up for the EPL. The teams will have much more money at their disposal to sign new players in an effort to stay in the Premier League. Newcastle already have the financial backing, a top manager and are the team most familiar with play in the Premier League, so they have the best odds to remain in the top tier after next season.
But let's take a look at all three clubs and see what they bring to the table.
Newcastle won the Championship by one point, securing one more win than Brighton. They are managed by Rafa Benitez, the much traveled and successful manager who led Liverpool to a Champions League crown. He signed a new three-year deal to stay on with the Magpies. Benitez was promised transfers funds and was told he does not have to sell any players during the negotiations as Newcastle are making a push to become a Premier League staple again.
Newcastle won their last three games, allowing only one goal in that span. They averaged just shy of two goals per match over the long Championship season. They were tied with Fulham and Norwich City for most goals scored with 85. Newcastle's plus-45 goal differential was far and away the best in the league.
Dwight Gayle led the team with 23 goals on 88 shots. Matt Ritchie, Ayoze Perez and Jonjo Shelvey were major offensive contributors this past season. All of those players have Premier League experience despite Gayle and Ritchie joining Newcastle just after relegation last year.
American DeAndre Yedlin started 21 matches and was fifth on the team with five assists from his right-back position. Yedlin also helped Newcastle tie for the lowest goals against in the league. Paul Dummett, Jamaal Lascelles and Ciaran Clark made the most appearances on the back line, but 13 players were used in the back four.
Newcastle have four players who are out of a contract this summer. Yoan Gouffran has been with Newcastle since 2012, but he will likely join Vurnon Anita in looking for a new club. Both played a significant role in securing the title for Newcastle, but are likely to be replaced by younger players.
The rumors have started to swirl on who Newcastle could bring into the side. Kamil Grosicki is one of the more popular players on the rumor sites after Hull City were relegated. Grosicki has a release clause in his contract that can be activated at any time since Hull City failed to stay in the top tier. Christian Atsu became the first summer signing as he decided to remain at Newcastle on a permanent deal from Chelsea.
Brighton and Hove Albion
Brighton secured their promotion by taking advantage of playing in front of their home crowd. They had a plus-32 goal differential at the Amex Stadium with their 17 wins being Championship record. Much like Newcastle, the Seagulls were at the top of the table for most of the season and secured promotion with three games to spare.
Chris Hughton earned manager of the year honors for his efforts with Brighton. After losing in the semifinals of the promotion playoff in three of the last four seasons, Hughton was able to get his team to the Premiership for the first time in 34 years.
After securing promotion, Brighton lost two of the final three matches, but that came on the heels of a five-game winning streak. They averaged 1.7 goals per match and an impressive 17.2 tackles per match for the season. The Seagulls allowed only 14 goals at Amex and secured 12 clean sheets at home.
Glenn Murray scored 23 goals in 45 appearances as the most used forward this season. Anthony Knockaert was second on the team in goals and started 44 matches. The French winger was awarded Championship player of the year honors. Knockaert's performance caught the eye of other Premier League teams.
Lewis Dunk, Shane Duffy and Bruno were the leaders on defense. Bruno served as captain for the team and has one more year left on his contract. He is the oldest player on the Brighton roster. Dunk and Duffy are the likely center-back pairing to start next season in the Premier League.
Brighton have more players out of contract than Newcastle. The biggest is keeper David Stockdale, who looks more likely to leave after contract negotiations have hit a snag. If Stockdale does not return to Brighton, finding a new keeper and left-back will be the biggest needs for the club.
Pascal Gross has joined Brighton for next season from newly-relegated German side FC Ingolstadt. Gross created more chances than any other player in the Bundesliga this year. Chelsea's Tammy Abraham is another target for the Seagulls as they look to bolster their attack.
Huddersfield survived versus Reading as the promotion playoff went to penalties for only the third time in its history. It was not the best-played match as it went to penalties without a goal, but the bottom line is that Huddersfield are on their way to the top tier for the first time in club history.
.@htafcdotcom will be playing in the #PL for the first time in their history! #PlayOffFinal #HUDREA pic.twitter.com/DkLvIncE7S
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS) May 29, 2017
David Wagner already had plenty of buzz surrounding his managerial prowess prior to promotion. Sir Patrick Stewart has been one of his biggest fans saying that Wagner has brought a thorough plan with a different approach than usual to Huddersfield. Wagner's methods has led to gritty play on the pitch while things like asking his players to live close to the club has built the camaraderie.
Wagner has pulled together a team that has used the loan system well. Many keys pieces of the team are on loan from Premier League clubs, including Danny Ward, Aaron Mooy and Izzy Brown. Ward was the hero in the promotion playoffs as he was under the pressure of penalty kicks in the last two matches while serving between the pipes. Each of the loan players started at least 32 matches.
Elias Kachunga led the team in goals. He initially came to the team on loan from Ingolstadt, but he has since signed a permanent deal. Nahki Wells added 10 goals and led the team with 109 total shots.
De winnende strafschop van Christopher #Schindler.#HTAFC pic.twitter.com/qufix4XMrc
— ChampionshipNieuws (@CSnieuws) May 29, 2017
The loan players will be Huddersfield's biggest on-field contractual issues as only two other players are out of contract this summer. Wagner's future is uncertain as other teams are calling after his successful campaign. He may be the team's first concern now that promotion is secured.
Huddersfield is clearly the Cinderella as they made it to the top flight for the first time since 1972 (the modern Premier League started in 1992). They will be the sentimental favorite of the three promoted sides, but they will likely have the biggest adjustment to Premier League football.