The 2021-22 Championship season was a cracking affair. Fulham and Bournemouth both secured a return to the top flight, in a close-run title race, before Nottingham Forest followed that by finally securing a return to the Premier League, overcoming Huddersfield Town in the play-off final to do so.
While the season would have ended in celebration for the three teams heading up, that winning feeling will have faded as the clubs refocused on the task at hand. The trio will be well aware that, when three go up, three must come down, and they’ll be working to avoid that fate next season.
Fulham and Bournemouth are both all too aware of the pain of relegation, having suffered that fate in recent years, while Forest will be desperate to make sure their return to the top flight is more than just a fleeting visit. The chances of all three teams staying up are incredibly long, and we wouldn’t recommend placing a football accumulator on that possibility, but we’ve run the rule over all three teams to see who has the best chance of avoiding the drop.
The Whites won the Championship at a canter, seeing out Bournemouth in the process. Head coach Marco Silva already has experience in the Premier League, having taken charge of Hull City, Watford, and Everton.
Having been in the Fulham dugout for 50 games, he’s now settled in West London. As Fulham return to the Premier League, Silva will be looking for the likes of Aleksandar Mitrovic and Harry Wilson to fire his team to safety in attack.
Fulham scored goals for fun during their promotion campaign, but they may need to tighten up at the back if they’re to survive. The loss of Fábio Carvalho is likely to stunt the team in attack. A regular starter for Silva’s side, Liverpool came to an agreement with the youngster, bringing him to Anfield after the expiration of his contract this summer.
Bournemouth are back in the Premier League, under the guidance of Scott Parker. The former Fulham manager moved to the south coast after his Fulham team were relegated, but he’ll be joining his former side in the top flight next season. Parker will be hoping to avoid that fate this time around.
Bournemouth’s promotion campaign was impressively consistent, with Parker’s outfit spending most of the season in either first or second. Bournemouth were a little tighter at the back than Fulham, and a solid defence is something they’ll be relying on.
However, concerns persist regarding the Bournemouth attack. Dominic Solanke was the main goalscorer for the Cherries last season, and the English forward’s ability to perform at the top level is in question. The only other Bournemouth player to score over 10 goals last season was Philip Billing in midfield, and that lack of firepower is something Parker will need to address in the summer if he’s going to keep Bournemouth up.
After more than two decades, Forest are back where they belong, or so their fans will tell you. Whether they remain is another matter. Steve Cooper took over a club that seemed destined for a relegation battle, rather than a promotion campaign, and the Welshman looks nothing short of a miracle worker.
Appointed to keep Forest in the Championship, keeping the side in the Premier League will be a whole different challenge. Although Brennan Johnson looks a star in the making, he’s one of just two Forest players who managed double figures for league goals during their promotion campaign.
The Premier League is likely to provide the youngster with a steep learning curve and, although Lewis Grabban is likely to shoulder some of the goalscoring burden, the Midlands side will need more firepower at the top end of the pitch if they’re likely to stay up.
Survival is a real possibility for all three sides, who have emerged out of a strong, crowded Championship field, but all three clubs have question marks around them ahead of next season, and their summer business is likely to go a long way to determining whether they’re able to stay up.