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When Southampton, Reading and West Ham respectively got promoted to the premier league all three clubs knew that they would have a battle on their hands if they wanted to stay in the “big time”.
Speculation surrounded all three clubs, would they be like the Derby of 2007/2008, who endured an absolutely torrid season or would they, be more like the Swansea of last season and impress those who doubted them.
Now with seven games into the season, (or in Reading’s case six) it is now time to judge how well each promoted team has started.
They’ve gone on the offensive in virtually every single game so far, with players such as Jason Puncheon, Ricky Lambert and Jay Rodriquez all performing impressively. However, their defence has let them down, having conceded twenty goals already this season.
Southampton have already played both of last season’s top two, Manchester City and Manchester United, losing 3-2 against both sides, both due to late goals after the Saints led.
In many ways, these matches have summarised Southampton’s start, plenty of attacking intent and prowess, but defensively, far too weak.
Their matches have proved to be entertaining, but with such a leaky defence, Southampton’s first Premier League campaign in seven years, could be very brief indeed.
Brian McDermott’s side are currently one of only three sides who are currently winless in this season’s Premier League campaign so far. However, three draws against Stoke, Newcastle and most recently Swansea have given the Royals some hope. Before the season, many pundits believed that one thing Reading needed to do if they wanted to stay up was to make the Madjeski stadium a fortress.
So far, although they are yet to win a game, only Tottenham Hotspur have won at the Madjeski, while Reading themselves have managed to score a respectable four in three games there, and eight in their six Premier League matches, including two away at Chelsea, in an eventual 4-2 defeat.
With Pavel Pogrebnyak already having four goals to his name so far this season, it shouldn’t be too long before Reading break their winless streak, and when they do they could very well do more than simply stay up.
Out of all three of the promoted sides, the Hammers are arguably best equipped to deal with the top flight due to the wealth of Premier League experience in the squad. Now having played seven games, the East London side have looked generally good upon their return to the league they were relegated from just two seasons ago.
The loan signing of Andy Carroll from Liverpool has looked to be a good choice, with Carroll impressing on his debut against Fulham, rekindling his relationship from his Newcastle days with Kevin Nolan.
Although they have showed signs of defensive frailties, particularly in their 3-0 loss away at Swansea where James Collins and James Tomkins were run ragged by the Swansea attack, the Hammers’ fans will generally be pleased with their side’s performances and results this season.
Now with Andy Carroll back fully fit, and Mohammed Diame, Kevin Nolan and Mark Noble all looking industrious in central midfield, I see no reason why West Ham can’t finish well clear above the relegation zone this season.
Written by Joshua Sodergren
Follow him on Twitter @chelsealad1365
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