The Championship is one of the hardest leagues in world football to get out of but Cardiff, Fulham and Wolves achieved that feat last season. Newly-promoted sides often hit the ground running in the opening games and all three will have been hoping to do the same. But how have they found the transition to top-flight football?
Wolves put the rest of the Premier League on notice over the summer with the signings of Portuguese internationals Rui Patricio and Joao Moutinho, as well as promising winger Adama Traore. After winning the Championship in dominant fashion last season, Nuno Santo’s side was expected to adjust well to life in the top flight. They got off to a positive start by picking up a point against a dangerous Everton side at Molineux on the opening day.
They struggled in their first league away game of the season, falling to a 2-0 defeat against Leicester at the King Power Stadium. However, they bounced back with an impressive point against reigning champions Manchester City in an entertaining 1-1 draw at home.
Their first league win of the campaign came in their recent trip to West Ham where Adama Traore struck a dramatic stoppage-time winner to seal all three points, following a world-class save by Patricio earlier in the game to keep his side level.
Wolves currently sit in 11th place which is a positive start considering they have already faces two of the traditional top seven sides. While their loss against Leicester was frustrating, they certainly look at home in the Premier League and are in a good position to push on and chase a top-half finish.
Fulham also made their intentions clear in the summer transfer window, becoming the first newly-promoted club to spend over £100 million in Premier League history and bringing in highly sought-after midfielder Jean Seri.
However, their campaign got off to a disappointing start as they lost 2-0 to Crystal Palace at Craven Cottage on the opening day, despite wasting several golden chances to go ahead in the first half. They also came up short in their trip to Tottenham where they fell to a 3-1 defeat at Wembley, even though they were level with 15 minutes to go.
Despite this, they picked up their first points of the season in a six-goal thriller at home to Burnley where they found their goalscoring form from last season in a 4-2 win. New signings Seri and Schurrle got on the scoresheet as well as Mitrovic, who bagged a brace.
They blew a two-goal lead in their most recent league game, drawing 2-2 with Brighton at the Amex after going ahead thanks to Schurrle and Mitrovic once again. Like Wolves, they also look at home in the top flight based on their performances so far this season. Their quality in the final third will please manager Slavisa Jokanovic and, although their defensive record is a slight concern, they look destined for at least a comfortable mid-table finish.
The Bluebirds came out of nowhere to earn automatic promotion from the Championship last season, a feat that manager Neil Warnock earned lots of plaudits for. However, they became early favourites for relegation after failing to match the spending of many of their rivals over the summer.
They got off to a lacklustre start in their opening game at Dean Court, losing 2-0 to Bournemouth after the hosts also missed a penalty. Their lack of attacking prowess quickly became apparent as they also failed to find the net in their first home game, a 0-0 draw with Newcastle who played the last half-hour with ten men after midfielder Isaac Hayden was sent off.
Despite failing to score yet again in their trip to Huddersfield, they picked up their second point of the season following another goalless draw, despite ending with ten men after midfielder Jonathan Hogg saw red. The analogy of goals being like London buses came true as they scored twice at home to Arsenal, with Victor Camarasa and Danny Ward finding a way past Premier League stalwart Petr Cech. However, they came up short as Unai Emery’s side took all three points thanks to a late winner from Lacazette in a heart-breaking 3-2 defeat.
While they currently sit above the bottom three, Cardiff’s lack of composure in the final third is a huge concern for the season ahead. The Bluebirds will struggle to beat the drop if they fail to become more of a threat going forward.