Premier League: Which Promoted Team Has the Best Chance to Stay Up?

Can Burnley, Hull City, or Middlesbrough play well enough to stay in the Premier League?

When the Premier League is mentioned, most people instantly think of the “powerhouse” teams: Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool.

However, every year, three teams are promoted to the 20-club Premier League from the English Football League Championship (Championship), and three Premier League teams are relegated from the Premier League (bottom three) to the Championship.

Promotion and relegation are huge discussion points for fans of clubs outside of the top tier and can have huge financial gains for clubs that are promoted and stay up. This year, Burnley, Middlesbrough, and Hull City earned the honor of promoting and now have the challenge of competing against England’s top clubs.

Which of the three promoting squads have the best chance at maintaining a spot in the coveted Premier League?


The reigning champions will enter the Premier League after a relatively quite transfer window, their biggest loss being Joey Barton, who signed with the Rangers in the Scottish Premiership. Barton received a 7.3 rating from and will be a loss in the middle of the pitch that Burnley needs to overcome. Burnely has made an offer for Derby midfielder Jeff Hendricks in hopes of replacing Barton. Hendricks, in comparison, received a 6.68 rating.

The Clarets' back line and goalkeeper Tom Heaton allowed only 35 goals in Championship play and should continue their solid play as long as they are able to keep Micheal Keane, who is being pursued by Leicester City.

Burnley last lost a match on January 1, 2016, when they fell 2-1 in the FA Cup to Arsenal.

Burnley’s top two strikers, Sam Vokes and Andre Gray, combined for 38 of the teams 72 goals and will be asked to do the same, if not more, if Burnley hopes to continue playing in the Premier League next season.

Scott Arfield (6.84 rating) and George Boyd (6.92) combined for 13 goals and 11 assists in the midfield, but if the 2014-15 Premier League season is any indication, look for both players' production to dip.


Middlesbrough placed second in the Championship, earning the last automatic promotion bid to the Premier League. Unlike the champions, Middlesbrough’s offseason has been filled with additions.

Boro has added Antonio Barragán, Bernardo, Viktor Fischer, Marten de Roon, Jordan McGhee, Álvaro Negredo, and goalkeeper Victor Valdes. Middlesbrough has also been attached to possible signings of Harry Maguire and Brad Guzan.

Player Goals Assists Who Scored Rating
Alvaro Negredo 5 2 6.56
Marten de Roon 1 2 7.05
Victor Fischer 8 3 6.8

The additions of Barragán and Espinosa should help bolster the defense of a Boro squad that allowed only 31 goals in the Championship Division. Valdes, and possibly Guzan, will compete with Dimitrios Konstantopoulos to become the starting keeper.

Manager Aitor Karanka has suggested his squad may switch from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-2 formation in order to adjust to the striker-rich squad he now manages. Middlesbrough has a deep squad and should be able to adjust to either formation.

With injuries at the start of the season to Daniel Ayala and Grant Leadbitter, Middlesbrough may not hit their stride until mid October or November.

Hull City

One would assume that a summer after promotion would be filled with hope and joy. However, Hull City is in despair as their owner looks to sell and former manager, Steve Bruce, recently resigned. Hull finished fourth in the Championship and defeated Sheffield in the Championship playoff to earn promotion.

Hull will enter the Premier League season with a slew of injured players: Michael Dawson, Moses Odubajo, Allen McGregor, and Alex Bruce will all start the season unable to perform. Hull will also be without Chuba Akpom and Isaac Hayden as their loans have ended and they have departed.

Hull City will rely heavily on Tom Huddlestone, Abel Hernández, Mohamed Diamé, and Jake Livermore who contributed (scored or assisted) on 50 of Hull’s 69 goals. Hull will need even more production if they are to overcome the vital loss of their keeper and key components on defense.

Player Goals Assists WhoScored Rating
Tom Huddlestone 2 4 6.88
Abel Hernandez 21 2 6.91
Mohamed Diamé 10 4 6.95
Jake Livermore 4 3 7.05

With all the injuries, there is no question that Hull will be in a relegation battle all season.


What should we expect? Well, here's a snapshot of how recently promoted teams fared after being called up

Year Club GF GA Points EPL Result GF GA Points
15-16 Burnley 72 35 93
15-16 Middlesbrough 63 31 89
15-16 Hull City 69 35 83
14-15 Bournemouth 98 45 90 16 45 67 42
14-15 Watford 91 50 89 13 40 50 45
14-15 Norwich City 88 48 86 19 39 67 34
13-14 Leicester City 83 43 102 14 46 55 41
13-14 Burnley 72 37 93 19 28 53 33
13-14 Queens Park Rangers 60 44 80 20 42 73 30
12-13 Cardiff City 72 45 87 20 32 74 30
12-13 Hull City 61 52 79 16 38 53 37
12-13 Crystal Palace 73 62 72 11 33 48 45
11-12 Reading 69 41 89 19 43 73 28
11-12 Southampton 85 46 88 14 49 60 41
11-12 West Ham United 81 48 86 10 45 53 46
10-11 Queens Park Rangers 71 32 88 17 43 66 37
10-11 Norwich City 83 58 84 12 52 66 47
10-11 Swansea City 69 42 80 11 44 51 47

Over the past five Premier League seasons, at least one promoting squad has managed to fend off relegation and remain in England's top league.

The first-place squad has managed to remain in the Premier League three times within that span, while the second-place squad has remained four times, and the playoff winner three times.

The results suggest at least one of the promoted squads will remain in the Premier League for a minimum of two seasons. Burnley will enter the Premier League as the top squad out of the Championship, while Middlesbrough has made the most improvements to their squad, and Hull City is frantically looking for a new manager.

The Premier League is an extremely deep and physical league. Every promoting squad over the five-year span has seen their goals drop almost by half, while nearly every squad has seen their goals allowed increase substantially.

The promoting squads will have their work cut out for them as they work to remain in the Premier League, while trying to duplicate the results of recent promoting squads, Leicester and West Ham.