Another Premier League season has finished in dramatic fashion. At the end of a topsy-turvy relegation battle that went right to the wire, Watford and Bournemouth succumbed to the drop, meaning they will join Norwich City in the Championship next season.
We look at the coming challenges this presents for all three relegated sides, and what they can do to bounce back and attempt to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
The Immediate Challenges Facing the Clubs Relegated From the Premier League
Norwich – Keep Their best Premier League Performers
However you look at it, this has been a dismal season for Norwich City. The Premier League’s bottom side have suffered a record fifth relegation from the top flight.
Despite this season’s failings, the same Norwich side conquered the Championship in spectacular fashion under Daniel Farke last campaign.
If the German manager can keep the same nucleus of top performers together, Canaries fans can hope to see the same again at a level more suited to Norwich’s young squad.
Despite tailing off dramatically in the second half of the season, striker Teemu Pukki still ended the campaign with a respectable 11 league goals. Behind him, Todd Cantwell and Emi Buendia have earned plenty of plaudits as well. Add in the excellent Tim Krul and the base of another Championship-winning side perhaps exists already.
Should any of those big players leave following the club’s exit from the top flight, Norwich will find themselves in even bigger trouble than they are now.
Watford – Establish Stability
When the trigger-happy Pozzo family dismissed Nigel Pearson with two games to go – their third managerial sacking this season – they hoped doing so would instigate a great escape to help them avoid the drop.
It didn’t, and now the managerless Hornets have paid the price for the unstable foundations upon which the club is run.
In order to bounce back, the owners need to find a manager they can trust to carry out a long-term vision that involves getting back into the Premier League and staying there in a sustainable manner.
Goalkeeper Ben Foster recently stated that the players are well-versed in how the club always seems to operate according to a short-term basis. That will all have to change now they have lost their Premier League status.
Watford will have to start planning for the future. Doing so requires stability, and it is time the club found some.
Bournemouth – Rediscover Belief in Themselves
Bournemouth’s remarkable five-year stint in the Premier League is over. Despite victory on the final day, results elsewhere condemned Eddie Howe’s side to the drop.
It is a sad outcome at the conclusion of a shocking second half of the campaign. Since beating relegation rivals Aston Villa at the start of February, the Cherries have only taken eight points from 13 games.
At times during this run, Bournemouth have looked like a side that have run out of ideas. Their players seemed to lose belief in their ability to turn their season around.
An attempted revival has taken place too little too late, despite the final day win over Everton. Fighting spirit has nevertheless returned for Bournemouth, lending hope of an immediate recovery.
This is a sad day for all three clubs. Nevertheless, it must be seen as the first step on the path to recovery.