The three teams that were relegated from the Premier League last year are having very different seasons. Newcastle are the class of the EFL Championship; Norwich are mid-pack; and Aston Villa are closer to being relegated to the third division than getting back to the top-flight of English football.
It’s always difficult to predict how a team will react to relegation. They could pull together and claw their way back up, like what we’re seeing with Newcastle. But it can also lead to a mass exodus of players and management, hollowing out the club and inflicting irreparable damage.
The top two teams in the Championship at the end of the 2016-17 season will be promoted to the Premier League, and the teams ranked third to sixth will enter a play-off for the final spot.
Who will move up to the top flight of English soccer next season?
Odds to be promoted to the Premier League for 2017-18
Newcastle (24-4-7, 76 points): 1/100
Newcastle’s promotion is all but guaranteed. Their world-renowned manager, Rafael Benítez, decided to stick with the team after they were relegated, and the club – undefeated in its last ten – is playing much better than last season in the Premier League. Newcastle are five points clear of the league and 11 points up on third-place Huddersfield 35 matches into the 46-game season.
Brighton (21-8-6, 71 points): 1/5
Brighton have lost their last two Championship games, but they’re still comfortably in second with a six-point buffer on third-place Huddersfield. Don’t expect the losing streak to last. Their +27 goal difference (also second in the league to Newcastle) is a sure sign of their quality. After almost 60 years toiling away in the lower leagues, Brighton should find themselves back in the EPL next season.
Huddersfield (20-5-9, 65 points): 5/2
Before losing to Newcastle last week, Huddersfield were on a seven-game unbeaten streak. The Terriers entered the Championship in the 2012-13 season and had consistently finished close to the relegation zone, but this season they find themselves in third place.
Their chances of finishing in the top two are slim, but they qualify for the four-team playoff comfortably, sitting nine points up on seventh-place Fulham at the moment. definitely in the running for the playoff spot.
Leeds United (20-4-11, 64 points): 5/2
Leeds United are a great example of how relegation can destroy a club. From the mid-60s to late-70s, they competed against the best in all of Europe. But relegation left them broken and unable to rebuild. They had a mild resurgence in the 90s, but later sank back to the Championship.
Finally, the three-time Premier League winners have a chance to climb back to the top tier. They’re currently in fourth place in the table (one back of Huddersfield for third) and will have as good a chance at winning the playoff as anyone. Their +14 goal difference is eight better than Huddersfield.
Sheffield Wednesday (18-7-10, 61 points): 10/3
As Jamie Vardy’s Leicester City fights relegation in the Premier League, his childhood club is in with a real chance of promotion in the Championship. Sheffield Wednesday are currently in sixth place with little chance of making the top two, but every chance of winning the playoff.
The club has a proud history, but it’s been almost twenty years since they played in the Premier League. This is the first time in a while that they’ve had a real chance of promotion.