It’s not a popular saying, mainly because teams don’t even want to entertain the idea of it, but second season syndrome is a very real thing. It’s the idea that teams who come up from the English Championship have a decent first season in the Premier League and manage to avoid relegation, but then in the second season, they just can’t replicate that accomplishment and they wind up going back down to the second tier.
It’s happened quite a lot throughout the history of English football, and while Norwich City may not get the chance to find out if it’ll happen to them, Sheffield United and Aston Villa are in a position whereby they could fall victim to the SSS.
They lost to Villa and Wolves in the league and they were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Burnley on penalties. It isn’t exactly time to push the panic button or anything like that, but Chris Wilder needs to address the fact that there are some issues that need to be resolved. Sheffield United fans want to believe that they can force their way into the top half again and they’ve got the grit necessary to do so, but maybe, just maybe, their style has been found out.
They’ve got a tough few games coming up that are bound to test them even further, but beyond anything else, they have to try and inject some real quality into their squad during the remainder of the summer transfer window. If they don’t, eyebrows will start to be raised.
They’ve only had one game so far this season and, ironically, it came against the Blades. They may not have put in their best shift under Dean Smith but they were able to grind out a big way to get them up and running with three points on the board. Ironically enough, with some of the signings they’ve made this summer, they actually may be improving if nothing else.
Smith knows where this club wants to be and he knows what they have to do in order to get there. They aren’t going to be challenging for Europe or anything like that, but they don’t really need to. They just need to steady the ship and establish themselves as a legitimate Premier League side and if they can do that, the rest will figure itself out.
It’s not going to be easy or simple for either of these two clubs to stay in the Premier League, but we do think both will do so. One of the main reasons for that is the other teams involved in the relegation battle, and if we had to give a formal prediction right now, we’d suggest Fulham, West Ham United and Brighton & Hove Albion will go back down. It’ll be close, though, and fans need to prepare themselves for that.
You can go and put some money down on games involving these two clubs throughout the course of the campaign by visiting the betting page.