Premier League: Can West Ham, Southampton & Reading stay up?

They say what goes up, must come down.

Reading, Southampton and West Ham will this season hope to disprove that theory, even if the weight of history is stacked against them.

The grim reality facing this season's elevated trio is that in 20 years of the Premier League, only twice have the three promoted teams all survived relegation.

When all three promoted teams have beaten the drop

  • 2002: Bolton, Blackburn and Fulham become the first promoted trio to all survive relegation.
  • 2012: Swansea, Norwich and QPR become the second trio in 20 years of the Premier League to stay up.

Last year, QPR, Norwich and Swansea did it, and in 2002 Bolton, Blackburn and Fulham prolonged their top-flight stay into a second season.

But can the Royals, the Saints and the Hammers do likewise?

The bookmakers think not, with Reading and Southampton favourites for the drop, although West Ham are backed to stay up.

However, former Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp believes the bookies may have got it wrong.

"I think all three will do well," he told BBC Sport.

All three have invested heavily on player recruitment over the summer and have the infrastructure in place off the pitch to establish themselves in the Premier League.

The trio also have previous experience of playing in England's top division - something that could prove vital.

Adkins "excited" by Premier League opener

Redknapp himself thinks it will be two of last season's promoted teams that may be in for a long slog, along with perennial overachievers Wigan.

"There will be one or two who have been in the league for a while that may struggle," added Redknapp.

"But it'll be harder this year for Norwich, I think Wigan might find it tougher this year, as will Swansea."

Redknapp, who managed both West Ham and Southampton, is full of praise for the job Nigel Adkins has done at St Mary's.

"Southampton have performed a miracle to come from League One to the Premier League," he said.

"The job Nigel has done there is fantastic. Two consecutive promotions, it's brilliant. He looks a fantastic manager.

Reading promoted to Premier League

"When I see him he's so positive, he's just an unbelievable lad. He'll do a great job there.

"I think they will stay up. They've got fantastic support, the stadium is excellent, the training ground is fantastic and they have a great academy. Everything is in place, it is a Premier League club already."

Saints started their transfer activity early with the acquisition of Jay Rodriquez from Burnley in early June but were largely frustrated in their attempts to bring in new faces until late July when they added Steve Davis and Nathaniel Clyne to their squad.

Adkins has experimented with a 4-3-3 formation in pre-season with midfielder Adam Lallana central to those plans, but the loss of Jack Cork through injury is a significant early blow.

There will be no experimenting with formation at the Madejski Stadium with Brian McDermott committed to 4-4-2.

Opening day fixtures

West Ham v Aston Villa

Reading v Stoke

Man City v Southampton

McDermott and new owner Anton Zingarevich acted swiftly in building their squad for their return to the Premier League.

And in signing Pavel Pogrebnyak, Danny Guthrie, Chris Gunter, Adrian Mariappa, Nicky Shorey and Garath McCleary they have added quality and strength in depth to an already impressive squad.

Zingarevich has big plans for Reading and Redknapp believes the Royals are a club with a bright future.

"Brian has done an amazing job, but he's been around a long time," said former Spurs boss Redknapp.

"He knows the players, he was scouting for the club before becoming a manager. Every time you went to a game in France he would be there, watching games. He got his chance and grabbed his opportunity with both hands.

"Again, they've got a great stadium and everything is in place for them to do well. They've got a new owner as well and they're a club with a big future."

West Ham joy at Premier promotion

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce is a man under pressure despite a ball not being kicked.

His squad were already the best equipped to deal with the rigours of a Premier League season with experienced players such as Kevin Nolan, Carlton Cole and Matt Taylor. And eight new faces have walked through the door at Upton Park this summer including James Collins and France midfielder Alou Diarra.

But all that has increased expectation at Upton Park and 'Big Sam' is the bookies favourite for the first manager to be sacked.

For all his critics though, Allardyce has never taken a club down and his experience could be vital in their bid to beat the drop.

"I'm always slightly nervous, apprehensive and not too sure what we're going to be like against Premier League opposition," Allardyce said this week.

"I think if we're at our best we can do very well but the bottom line is we've got to be at our best every game."

Only time will tell if their best is good enough to keep them up.