After such an eventful weekend, it would be easy to lose sight of some of the Premier League’s lesser lights but away from the glitz and glamour of the Manchester and London derbies a strange thing happened – all three promoted teams won. Stranger still, it wasn’t the first time such an event has happened this season.
As a result Burnley, Birmingham City and Wolverhampton Wanderers all find themselves positioned safely in mid-table and with established Premier League sides like Portsmouth and Bolton Wanderers struggling badly, they may just be good enough to stay there.
For those battling the drop home form is crucial. Stoke City are a perfect example – last season they won just two games on their travels but ended up finishing in a comfortable 12th position after picking up a very impressive 31 points at the Britannia Stadium. This season, relegation favourites Burnley are already well on the way to replicating such a feat, with three wins from three home matches.
What makes Burnley’s feat even more impressive is the quality of opposition that has been dispatched – Everton, Sunderland and champions Manchester United have all left Turf Moor with tails between legs.
Another good way to beat the drop is by defeating your fellow relegation candidates. In this sense Birmingham City have got off to the perfect start. Their football isn’t always the most exciting to watch (in the Championship last season they managed just 54 goals in 46 games) but three in six this season has proved enough for a respectable seven points. Crucially six of those points have been secured against the bottom two of Hull City and Portsmouth, giving the Blues an immediate advantage over two of their main rivals.
As for Wolves, they don’t seem to be following any sort of pattern, claiming four points from a possible nine at home and three from nine on their travels but for boss Mick McCarthy that will not matter one iota. Last time he led a team in the Premier League (Sunderland) they finished with just 15 points, which at the time was a record low. With seven points already, it looks like McCarthy may have learnt from past errors.
For all three promoted sides to survive this Premier League season would be unprecedented but with the relegation odds on each club lengthening on a weekly basis, some of the Premier League’s more established teams may be in for a nasty surprise.