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Manchester City v Nottingham Forest - Premier League

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Can Sunderland eventually bridge the gap between the Championship and the top flight?

The likes of Burnley, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield United and Luton are showing Sunderland what may be needed for success in the Premier League.

Photo by Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Sunderland’s 1-0 defeat at home to Cardiff was as frustrating as they come, but it’ll hopefully be just a bump in the road for our young team.

On the same day, newly-promoted Sheffield United were in action against Newcastle and hoping to recover from a poor start to their Premier League campaign. However, they got absolutely battered at home 8-0, and put in one of the worst defensive displays the league has seen for a long time.

Sheffield United v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by SportImage/Sheffield United FC via Getty Images

Their heavy defeat leaves the three newcomers with a dire record in the Premier League so far.

They’ve played a combined total of sixteen matches and have only amassed three points, with no wins from any of them.

Thirteen defeats from sixteen matches doesn’t make for great reading, and it shows just what many people fear- that the gap between the Premier League and the Championship is widening to a point where many teams may simply get promoted to make up the numbers.

Judging by score lines alone, some of the matches involving the newly-promoted sides do have a touch of bad luck.

Burnley have had a pretty tough start, with Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United all having visited Turf Moor this season, and they snatched a late leveller at Nottingham Forest to secure their only point of the campaign so far.

This was a team who won the Championship at a canter last season, and are now right up against it in the Premier League.

Burnley v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Burnley, Sheffield United and Luton have set the standard of what other Premier League sides expect from newly-promoted teams. The previous season saw all three promoted teams remain in the league, but not without splashing a fair amount of cash.

Nottingham Forest have spent hundreds of millions of pounds in the fifteen or so months since being promoted, and that’s been enough for eleven wins in forty four matches in that time.

Their sixteenth-place finish was a good achievement, but the truth is that they’ll likely be in the bottom eight again this season, having spent an eye-watering amount.

Bournemouth, meanwhile, finished a place above Forest last season, and this summer they spent over £20 million on three separate transfers.

After six games of the new campaign, they’re without a win and it’s a cold hard truth that these two teams, as well as Luton, Burnley and Sheffield United, have shown what’s needed to succeed or at least survive in the Premier League.

Sunderland v Sheffield United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Sunderland being in the promotion picture this season is entirely possible, but if it was to be achieved, a huge next step would follow.

In recent seasons, certain teams have been promoted and have nailed the next season, gradually building into a side who look like they belong in the top flight. Brentford and Brighton are the best examples of this, with Crystal Palace being another.

They’ve shown that it can be done, and Brighton and Brentford are two sides whose models we’re aiming to emulate, albeit we’re a few steps behind them at the moment.

We’re on the right trajectory, but the majority of recent seasons have shown that remaining in the Premier League is getting harder, with injections of money and investment becoming ever more vital for survival.

The barometer for promotion and staying up can be the promoted teams in the last three seasons, and reaching this level is the next step for Kyril Louis-Dreyfus, Kristjaan Speakman, Tony Mowbray and our exciting squad.


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