Premier League’s new teams: What Burnley, Sheffield United and Luton Town need to do to stay in top flight
With the new Premier League season almost upon us, it’s a good time to look at the new arrivals in the Premier League. Promoted teams have been raising the bar higher and higher over the past few years with Fulham, Bournemouth, and Nottingham Forest all surviving the drop last season but it may be a little harder for the new crop of Burnley, Sheffield United and Luton Town to have the same fate.
Some of these teams may be familiar to Premier League fans but forget everything that you used to know about Sean Dyche’s Burnley as it’s a completely different squad under Vincent Kompany. Sheffield United still utilize key ideas from Chris Wilder’s time at the club while this is Luton Town’s first time ever in the Premier League. Their stadium, Kenilworth Road, is in need of major renovations which saw Luton’s first home game versus Burnley postponed to give them until September to get Premier League ready.
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But while the Hatters may be getting their facilities ready for the league, it’s quite another challenge for them to get the team ready. This is a more common sight for promoted clubs as the jump in quality from the Championship to the top flight is a big one. But let’s take a look at the three teams to determine what needs to be done for them to ensure Premier League success.
Key additions: Ryan Giles, Tahith Chong, Mads Andersen, Thomas Kaminski, Chiedozie Ogbene, Ross Barkley
Key departures: Ethan Horvath
Last time in the Premier League: Never
Player to watch: Carlton Morris
Every time that a team is promoted, there is an attacking player who has taken a road less traveled to make it to the Premier League, and for Luton, that’s Morris. A player who has never scored more than eight league goals in a season, Morris broke out to help Luton secure promotion with 20 goals last season. If the Hatters will repeat their success and avoid relegation, they just may need another 20 from him in the Premier League although that will be quite the task. Even if Morris ends up being a one-season wonder, he could’ve helped secure Luton’s future by doing it but they need more attacking help around him.
Outlook: While it’s tough to say that a team is just happy to be in the Premier League with no intentions of avoiding relegation, this is how things feel at this stage for Luton Town. A strong side in the Championship, Luton were able to finish third on the strength of their defense before gaining promotion through the playoffs. Morris was strong scoring 20 goals and assisting six more but after him, they didn’t really have a second option. With it being harder to score and defend in the Premier League than the Championship, Luton can expect Morris’ goals scored to go down along with their goals conceded to go up. Most teams prepare for this change by adding strong players with Premier League experience to help guide them but that’s not how Luton have approached things.
Due to the money that had to go into facilities upgrades, the Hatters have added three attack-minded players in Giles, Chong, and Ogbene but none will move the needle unless conditions are absolutely perfect. Giles can be an impact wing back but when he may not have appropriate targets in the center, his season could look a lot like Neco Williams for Nottingham Forest last season. Chong is a player who needs to make good on his potential and he’ll have to do it under pressure. Luton had to bring in Kaminski in net because it was too expensive to agree with Nottingham Forest for a permanent deal for Horvath which gives their entire defense a different outlook in their inaugural season.
The Hatters will be lucky to avoid finishing at the bottom of the Premier League but by not risking their future by spending too much up front, they’ll be in a position to rebound quickly from their eventual relegation.
Prediction: 20th place
Key additions: Zeki Amdouni, James Trafford, Jordan Beyer, Dara O’Shea, Luca Koleosho, Nathan Redmond, Jacob Bruun Larsen
Key departures: Nathan Tella, Ian Maatsen
Last time they were in the Premier League: 2022
Player to watch: Josh Brownhill
It feels weird that on a team with so much young talent, an unheralded player like Brownhill could be the player to watch but under Kompany, he has been a different midfielder. Registering seven goals and eight assists in the Championship, Brownhill will be crucial to Burnley’s task of winning the midfield battle in the top flight. Able to deliver set plays, Brownhill will be able to offset the loss of top scorer Nathan Tella and the loss of Ian Maatsen’s assists.
Outlook: Back in the Premier League and now with NFL Legend J.J. Watt and his wife, former U.S. international Kealia Watt, among the club’s investors, the Clarets are back and ready for the big time. I can’t emphasize enough that this isn’t Dyche’s Burnley anymore as Kompany has transformed the team into a modern soccer side but that will mean quite a few things this season. Opening their campaign against Manchester City could lead to an ugly start, but if they’re able to get their attacking talent on the same page, Kompany could take the league by storm. With Chelsea wanting to take a look at Maatsen for their first team, it leaves a void in Burnley’s lineup but it’s one that is quickly filled.
Using their Manchester City contacts, the Clarets have not only been able to sign one of the most talented young keepers in the world in Trafford but they were also able to agree to a deal to sign Amdouni from Basel. A full Swiss international, the forward was able to net 12 goals and four assists last season and will be a key member of Burnley’s attack alongside Benson Manuel and Anass Zaroury. There is also a good bit of experience with Jay Rodriguez, Ashley Barnes and now Nathan Redmond in the squad to ensure that while the team is young, they’ll have proper guidance.
It’s impossible to pick one player to watch for Burnley because Kompany utilizes his entire squad well but that’s why the Clarets should be able to avoid heading back to the Championship this season. Even if a player gets injured, there is impressive depth in the side to pick up the slack and ensure that things keep ticking along.
Burnley had eight players involved in double-digit goals last season which is a seriously impressive number to show how they spread the ball around. By doing that they can pull teams from side to side and strike where they’re weak to push past the 40-point mark and then some. Add in that Burnely’s midfield will also be improving with them on the verge of signing Sander Berge from Sheffield United and the Clarets are officially operating like a big club and improving at the expense of their rivals.
Prediction: 14th place
Key additions: Auston Trusty, Benie Traore, Anis Slimane, Yasser Larouci
Key departures: Iliman Ndiaye, Edna Stevens, Jack O’Connell, Billy Sharp, James McAtee, Tommy Doyle
Last time they were in the Premier League: 2021
Player to watch: Oli McBurnie
How McBurnie and Traore are able to integrate leading the line will determine if Sheffield United can avoid the drop or not. Alongside Ndiaye, the duo combined for 23 goals and 13 assists in the Championship and McBurnie and Traore will need at least 25 goal involvements between them to stay in the league. It’s a tall order but if they can’t do that, it’s hard to see where Sheffield United’s goals come from. The wing backs will get involved and Oliver Norwood will pop up at times but they need a consistent threat and if there aren’t new additions, all the pressure will fall on the duo leading the line.
Outlook: After running rampant to make it back to the Premier League, Paul Heckingbottom has a lot of work to do ahead of the season with how much talent and experience the Blades have lost this summer. It will only become a tougher road if Berge makes a Burnley switch but losing your captain, best-attacking player and two key loanees in one swoop is a lot for any team to deal with. After the success that Doyle and McAtee had with the Blades in the Championship, it’s likely that at least one of them, or maybe even Cole Palmer, ends up with the club this season but that still leaves quite a lot up to chance.
Trusty could have a chance to start for the Blades which could help make the United States men’s national team’s depth at center back even deeper than it already is but he’ll have a lot of work to do as this team will be under pressure most weeks. Trying to keep the swashbuckling style that was forged under Chris Wilder could lead to them being overrun by more talented sides, so Heckingbottom will look to find an appropriate balance during the season.
To do that, he needs to know who will be available for him to work with as that’s not yet known and the Blades are leaving far too much late which is why they’re among the favorites to be relegated. There is talent in the squad but a lot will rest upon the shoulders of John Fleck to keep possession ticking over if Sheffield United aren’t able to score goals.
Prediction: 19th place