The unpredictability of the Premier League continued tonight as two newly promoted sides, Cardiff and Wolves, clashed in the Welsh capital. Despite being 0-1 down for the majority of the game, it was the Bluebirds who clawed their way back and held on for a 2-1 win.
Even after tonight’s result, Wolves currently sit multiple places above either of the other new Premier League sides. Yet, it’s still somewhat debatable as to whether they have been the most impressive of the three this season. Many people thought today’s winners would be sitting securely at the bottom of the table and who can blame them? Whilst Cardiff did make a few acquisitions to their squad at the beginning of the season, including the likes of Bobby Reid and ex-Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter, they perhaps don’t have the spending power of Wolves or Fulham. However, this hasn’t prevented them from putting in some impressive performances beating both newly promoted sides as well as giving giants Arsenal some difficulties earlier in the season. Being 15th at this point has to be viewed as a success for the Welsh side who many spectators overlooked before any matches had even been played.
It may be slightly unfair to suggest that Wolves have underperformed so far this year. Any other side would be extremely happy to be sitting 11th after 14 games of their first season in English football’s top tier. However, Wolves aren’t necessarily alike to any other new top tier side. They completely dominated the Championship last season ending a point short of 100, 9 points ahead of today’s opponents. This and the number of players the West Midland side have bought led to most people having high expectations of the club; some even suggested they could push for a Europa League place. Although this season hasn’t exactly been what many would have hoped for, it certainly is something for Santo and his players to build on as they look to be a club who are here to stay.
One team we can comfortably say has underperformed so far is Fulham. The London club currently sit bottom of the table with a number of key players not being as effective as they were in the Championship last season. Winger Ryan Sessegnon is arguably one of England’s most exciting young prospects winning the Championship Player of the Year award for the 17-18 season, but he hasn’t been able to truly replicate such form in the Premier League. Having said this, a change of manager has brought instant success and hope for Fulham fans. Sessegnon in particular put in a strong performance as his side played some eye-catching football beating Southampton 3-2 in Ranieri’s first game at the club. If they can put in more performances like this there is no reason why Fulham can’t turn their season around and avoid the dreaded drop.
The London club may currently sit bottom of the table but we are yet to reach the halfway point of the season. The January transfer window is yet to take place providing a key opportunity for these teams to make improvements to their squads. These factors make it almost impossible to predict where the promoted sides may finish with the Premier League table potentially being a completely different picture this time in a few weeks, let alone at the end of the season.