2012/13: Best newcomers
We continue our countdown to the new season by asking six ManUtd.com journalists to answer questions about the upcoming campaign…
Which of the promoted sides will fare the best?
Adam Marshall: I think Southampton could prove awkward customers and, although life will be much harder in the top flight, they can profit from being on a hugely upward curve under Nigel Adkins. Nathaniel Clyne and Steven Davis should make an impact and striker Jay Rodriguez will look to justify a record transfer outlay. It’ll be tough but they can stay afloat.
Gemma Thompson: They may not have a wealth of players with top-flight experience, but Reading showed last season that they’re more than capable of playing as a team and stringing results together with 15 wins in 17 games from January securing the Championship title. Expect to see goals from Adam Le Fondre, their top scorer last season, but the Royals will also need some big performances from their man at the other end, keeper Adam Federici, who could have a very busy season if the Royals fail to perform.
James Tuck: West Ham’s squad is littered with household names boasting considerable Premier League experience. And while that doesn’t always guarantee success (remember QPR struggled last season), the Irons should have enough class under wily old Big Sam to reach mid-table safety.
Nick Coppack: Promoted teams that buy proven Premier League players in the summer tend to fare best (although Swansea and Norwich proved rare exceptions last season). With that in mind, I’d expect West Ham stand the best chance of beating the drop thanks to signings like Jussi Jaaskelainen (Bolton), James Collins (Villa), George McCartney (Sunderland) and Mohamed Diame (Wigan). And with Sam Allardyce at the helm, the Hammers could sail well clear of trouble.
Paul Davies: You can’t really look beyond West Ham. They may have been promoted via the back door of the play-offs, but of the Premier League’s three newest sides they are the club with the wealth of top-flight experience. As a fan, the Reds’ visit to the Boleyn Ground looks far more daunting than a trip to Southampton or Reading – especially with more signings likely.
Steve Bartram: Given the way they surged through the second half of last season, Reading come into the Premier League with the greatest momentum of all three promoted teams. Manager Brian McDermott got the best out of his squad and had them playing some terrific, fearless football. Their team ethic shone through and that oneness will be invaluable in making the step up to the Premier League.