Burnley, Luton Town, and Sheffield United Seek to Revitalize Their Premier League Campaigns

Estimated read time 5 min read

After playing 19 matches this season, Luton Town had only secured a single win. However, their historic victory against Everton on Saturday marked not only their inaugural Premier League triumph but also the first three points earned by any of the newly promoted teams this season.

To provide context, prior to this campaign, the lowest combined points total for the three newly promoted top-flight teams after six games each was nine points in the 2004-05 season. Regrettably, two of those three teams, Crystal Palace and Norwich, faced relegation that season.

Between them, Luton, Sheffield United and Burnley have picked up just six points so far. That is with the Blades having played seven matches: they and the Clarets have gained a single point each.

Luton and Burnley meet at Kenilworth Road on Tuesday, a match postponed from August while building work was completed.

And, while the Hatters will be full of confidence after four points from their past two games, things look gloomy for the other two in the battle for survival.

No newly promoted club has ever had fewer than three points after seven Premier League games and managed to avoid the drop.

The table already looks ‘ominous’

“The Premier League looks ominous for those who support the underdogs,” said former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin.

“It’s hard enough staying in the Premier League after coming up, but giving the other sides a start is the worst of all possible worlds.

“To stay up, you need more than a point per game, which already looks like a tall order if you only have one point after six matches.”

But, as the three managers – Vincent Kompany, Rob Edwards and Paul Heckingbottom – will tell you, there is a long way to go.

Indeed, other teams have been in worse positions and come good.

Crystal Palace lost their opening seven Premier League matches in 2017-18 without scoring a goal, but still ended 11th, while Southampton (1998-99), Newcastle (1999-2000) and Sunderland (2013-14) all stayed up after drawing one and losing six of their first seven.

The optimistic Claret, Hatter or Blade can look at the Tottenham team of 2008-09, who gained two points from their first seven fixtures, yet ended eighth, only two points off European qualification.

Played: 6 Won: 0 Drawn: 1 Goal difference: -11

Kompany’s side breezed through the Championship in 2022-23, only losing three of 46 games as they earned 101 points and returned to the Premier League a year after relegation.

It has been tough for them back in the top flight, although five of their opening six matches have been against teams who finished in last season’s top seven.

Chris Sutton, a Premier League winner with Blackburn, speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, said: “At what point do you start to worry about these teams?

“Burnley have made a great deal of transfers and gone for young, hungry players. They’ve had the most difficult, brutal start with the teams they’ve played.

“I’m not sure defensively. They’ve got some good young attacking players, but defensively they look slightly vulnerable.”

Luton Town
Played: 6 Won: 1 Drawn: 1 Goal difference: -7

A non-league side as recently as 2013-14, Luton Town completed a football fairytale as they reached the Premier League by winning the Championship play-off final, beating Coventry City on penalties.

Dismissed by almost every football pundit, Edwards’ team were without a point from their first four Premier League games before surprising many with a draw at home to Wolves and a win at Everton.

Former Manchester City defender Micah Richards told BBC Match of the Day: “Luton played to their strengths on Saturday and Everton could not get to grips with it.

“Everything they did they went back to basics and it worked. That will give them real confidence.”

Burnley, Luton Town, and Sheffield United Seek to Revitalize Their Premier League Campaigns

Sheffield United
Played: 7 Won: 0 Drawn: 1 Goal difference: -14

After two years away, the Blades finished second last season in the Championship to regain their place among England’s elite.

They will feel they should have more points but lost to late decisive goals against Nottingham Forest and reigning champions Manchester City and were ahead after 97 minutes at Tottenham only to lose 2-1.

But their promising performances were forgotten with an 8-0 home hammering by Newcastle last week.

“Sheffield United are a strange team,” said Sutton. “They’ve been in games and pushed Manchester City close but then to get blown away… it’s how they respond to that and how it has affected the dressing room.

“Heckingbottom has done a fantastic job in getting them up, but it can unravel pretty quickly. He overachieved last season and that’s the danger when managers and clubs overachieve.”

Lack of Premier League experience proving costly

Michael Brown played in the Premier League for five teams and feels the gap between the top flight and Championship is getting bigger.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, he said: “Over the past few seasons, you had six/seven heavyweights at the top of the Championship that had the benefit of parachute payments and Premier League experience because they had been up and then down.

“But this year look at Burnley, who completely changed the team and managed to get promoted. Luton have come up but have no real Premier League experience. Sheffield United have a couple of players filtered in [with Premier League experience] but not many – that’s the difference.

“Take Nottingham Forest last year. They spent more than £100m at the start and still found it really tough and only just got over the line. These clubs are trying to do it without anything like the same financial outlay.

“In the Championship, confidence runs high. You eagerly seek possession, dominate opponents, and find the net with ease. In the Premier League, your chances may be limited, and you might go several games without scoring. Defenders face constant pressure.

Your comfort on the ball diminishes due to the higher level of pressing and the opponent’s increased tactical awareness.”

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