The English Premier League is one of the most fiercely contested leagues in world football. For newly promoted teams to make a mark in this highly competitive arena is a testament to their skill, spirit, and determination. This season, we have seen two newly promoted sides – Fulham and Brentford – rise to the occasion and surpass all expectations with their impressive performances in the league (they are seventh and eighth respectively at the time of writing). Their performance has been attributed to the quality of their forwards – Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham) and Ivan Toney (Brentford) – and quick playing style.
Over the years, several newly promoted sides have left a lasting impression in the league with their scintillating displays. In this article, we will look back at some of the best Premier League performances by newly promoted teams and relive some of the most memorable moments in recent history.
Newcastle United – 3rd in 1993/94
Newcastle United made a dream start to life in the Premier League after winning promotion from the old Division One. The Magpies took the league by storm, finishing third in the table and qualifying for the UEFA Cup. Their high-scoring attacking style of play, led by the dynamic duo of Andy Cole and Peter Beardsley, was a joy to watch and earned them many admirers. Newcastle’s impressive performances that season also saw several players, including Cole and Beardsley, earn international recognition.
Blackburn Rovers – 4th in 1992/93
Blackburn Rovers were another newly promoted side that greatly impacted the Premier League in their inaugural season. Under the management of Kenny Dalglish, Blackburn finished fourth in the league and secured a place in the UEFA Cup. They were led by the legendary Alan Shearer, who scored a decent 16 league goals in his first season in the top flight for Rovers and followed up with stunning hauls of 30+ league goals in each of the next three seasons for the club. Blackburn’s impressive performances that season set the tone for their future success, including winning the league title two years later.
Ipswich Town – 5th in 2000/01
Ipswich Town’s promotion to the Premier League was met with scepticism by many, but the Tractor Boys proved their doubters wrong with a sensational performance in the 2000/01 season. Ipswich finished fifth in the league, securing a place in the UEFA Cup, and their attractive, attacking style of play won them many admirers. The standout performer for Ipswich that season was Marcus Stewart, who scored an impressive 19 league goals, earning him the Premier League’s Golden Boot award.
Wolverhampton Wanderers – 7th in 2018/19
Wolves return to the Premier League after six years in the wilderness was triumphant. Under the management of Nuno Espirito Santo, Wanderers finished seventh in the league, securing a place in the Europa League. Wolves put in plenty of impressive performances that were built on a solid defence and a quick, counter-attacking style of play that often caught their opponents off guard. The standout performers for Wolves that season were Raul Jimenez, who scored 17 goals, and Portuguese sensation Ruben Neves, who bossed the midfield with his exceptional passing range.
Sheffield United – 9th in 2019/20
Sheffield United’s promotion to the Premier League in 2019 was met with much excitement, and the Blades did not disappoint in their debut season. Under the management of Chris Wilder, Sheffield United finished ninth in the league, ahead of established sides like Everton, West Ham and Burnley. The Blades’ impressive performances were built on a solid defence and an overlapping centre-back system that created many goalscoring opportunities. The standout performer for Sheffield United that season was Lys Mousset, who provided some crucial goals, while captain Billy Sharp chipped in with a handful of goals of his own.
Leeds United – 9th in 2020/21
Leeds United’s return to the Premier League after 16 years in the wilderness was highly anticipated, and the Whites put in a solid showing on their return to the top flight. Under the management of Marcelo Bielsa, Leeds finished ninth in the league just ahead of Everton and Aston Villa. Leeds’ impressive performances were built on a high-energy pressing style, quick transitions, and the goalscoring prowess of Patrick Bamford. That season, the standout performer for Leeds was Kalvin Phillips, who dominated the midfield with his exceptional passing range and defensive nous.
Wigan Athletic – 10th in 2005/06
Wigan Athletic’s promotion to the Premier League in 2005 was seen as a major upset, but the Latics more than held their own in their debut season in the top flight. Wigan finished 10th in the league, ahead of established sides like Aston Villa and Newcastle, and their performances that season earned them many plaudits. The standout performers for Wigan that season from an attacking perspective were Jason Roberts and Henri Camara, but it was the cohesiveness as a team that really served them well.
Leicester City – 14th in 2014/15
Finishing in 14th position in the Premier League might not sound all that impressive, even for a newly promoted side. Indeed, Leicester City’s promotion to the Premier League in 2014 and their relatively easy avoidance of relegation in their first season after promotion were met with little fanfare. But that 14th-place finish for the Foxes set up their chance to achieve one of the biggest upsets in football history the following season.
Under the management of Claudio Ranieri, Leicester won the league title in the 2015/16 season, defying odds of 5000/1. Their incredible journey was based on a solid defence led by Wes Morgan, quick transitions made possible by the intrepid tackles and spatial awareness of N’golo Kante, and the goalscoring prowess of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez. Leicester’s title win is considered one of the greatest achievements in English football and a testament to the club’s fighting spirit.
Best Promoted Sides: Conclusions
We’ve summarised some of the best Premier League performances by newly promoted sides in recent history. Each of these teams has a unique story and has left a lasting impression on the league through their ability to mix it with the best sides in the land. Whether it was through their attacking prowess, a solid defence, or a never-say-die attitude, these teams have shown that anything is possible in the Premier League with hard work, determination, and a bit of luck.
In conclusion, the Premier League is a league that never fails to surprise and entertain, and the performances of these newly promoted sides are a testament to its enduring appeal. As we look ahead to the future, we can be sure that there will be more fairy-tale stories, upsets, and scintillating performances, and we cannot wait to see what this current season brings.