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Profiling The Premier League New Boys

18 June 2015


With the announcement of the 2015/16 fixtures yesterday, many Palace fans will have quickly looked to see when the Eagles will come up against some new faces in the form of the three promoted clubs during the next 10 months.

Here we profile each of the clubs who made it out of the Championship last season to take their place alongside the Eagles in the top-flight next year.

NORWICH CITY
8th August – Carrow Road
9th April – Selhurst Park


Palace's first game of the season will be against a familiar foe in Norwich City, who returned to the Premier League after a one year absence by winning the Championship play-off final against Middlesbrough. 

The clubs have met in six of the last 10 seasons, with the last coming in 2013/14 when Palace were edged out 1-0 in Norfolk in Tony Pulis' first game before the sides played out a 1-1 draw on New Year's Day 2014.

The Canaries were relegated that season under Neil Adams' management who kept the majority of his squad together, seeing Leroy Fer, Robert Snodgrass and Anthony Pilkington depart and replaced  by former Eagles Cameron Jerome and Lewis Grabban, as well as Kyle Lafferty.

After a sticky patch mid-season, Adams was replaced by former Hamilton manager Alex Neil who finished the campaign strongly to ensure the club finished third in the table and set up a play-off semi-final clash against local rivals Ipswich Town.

The Tractor Boys were dispatched 4-2 on aggregate over two legs and left Middlesbrough as their final hurdle to the Premier League at Wembley, and strikes from top scorer Jerome (his 21st of the season) and Nathan Redmond saw them lift the trophy and clinch promotion.

So far this summer they have signed loanee Graham Dorrans on a permanent deal from West Bromwich Albion, and released a number of fringe players including Luciano Becchio, Carlos Cueller and Javier Garrido.

A number of household names from their time in the Premier League remain, such as England international John Ruddy, Wes Hoolahan, Gary Hooper, Bradley Johnson and Jonny Howson.

WATFORD
26th September – Vicarage Road 
13th February – Selhurst Park


Towards the end of September the Eagles will make the short trip to Hertfordshire to take on Watford who missed out on the Championship title on the final day of the season.

It will be the Hornets' first season in the Premier League for eight years and only their third in the division since it started in 1992. The closest they came to returning since 2006/07 then was when Palace beat them in the play-off final in 2013 thanks to Kevin Phillips' penalty.

Incredibly Watford gained promotion despite four changes of manager during the season. Beppe Sannino lasted just five games, four of which were won, before he was replaced by Oscar Garcia. Ill-health led to Billy McKinlay being installed as boss but two games later he was gone and Slavisa Jokanovic was brought in.

However despite the revolving door in the dugout, the goals of Troy Deeney, Odion Ighalo and Matej Vydra saw them remain at the business end of the table and a run of one defeat in their final 14 games led them to the brink of the Championship title, but a last minute goal from former Palace trialist Atdhe Nuhiu denied them the win they needed against Sheffield Wednesday and Bournemouth snatched the trophy.

At the end of the season Jokanovic's contract wasn't renewed and so yet another new man will take Watford into the Premier League next season. Former Atletico Madrid and Benfica manager Quique Flores replaced the Serbian, having been in charge of La Liga side Getafe last season.

Further changes have been made to the playing squad with the arrivals of Giedrius Arlauskis from Steaua Bucherest and Sebastien Prodl from Werder Bremen on free transfers, while another former Palace star in Ben Watson remains at the club but Adlene Guedioura has returned to SE25 after his loan spell ended in May.

BOURNEMOUTH
26th December – Dean Court
2nd February – Selhurst Park


Making their first appearance in the top-flight of English football, Bournemouth managed to clinch the Championship title from under Watford's noses to continue their rapid rise through the divisions.

Having been in League Two as early ago as 2010, they spent just two seasons in the second tier to reach the Premier League where they will face Palace for the first time since March 1989 when the Cherries got the better of their visitors to the south coast.

Much of Bournemouth's recent success has been down to Eddie Howe who helped them out of League Two before an unsuccessful spell at Burnley. He returned to the Cherries and finished off the job as he won two further promotions to reach the top-flight, and was named LMA Manager of the Year last season.

Like a number of his squad, Howe made a shrewd signing in Callum Wilson from Coventry City at the start of last season and the striker banged in 22 goals in all competitions to finish as the club's top scorer. Impressive performances from the likes of Harry Arter, Marc Pugh, Matt Richie and Yann Kermorgant saw them break into the top three by November and they would remain there for rest of the season to eventually finish on top.

They have begun their recruitment drive early, bringing in a pair of goalkeepers in Artur Boruc (who spent last season on loan at Bournemouth) and Adam Federici from Reading. Promising striker Joshua King has been added to the ranks from Blackburn Rovers and Ghana international Christian Atsu has been loaned from Chelsea.

While there may not be too many household names in their squad, Dan Gosling has Premier League experience with Everton and Newcastle United, Shaun McDonald is a Wales international and Brett Pitman continues to bang in the goals for the Cherries, with 101 to his name over nearly a decade.

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