Top tier survival strategy

Crystal Palace survived in the Premier League at the cost of Hull City last season
Shrey Upadhyay

English Premier League is known as the 'Greatest Show on the Planet' with a viewership of more than 4.7 billion people, across 212 different nationalities. Playing in this league has been the ultimate dream of any football club in the Football Association.

This league gives any football club a chance to rub its shoulders with some of the most famous clubs in the world like Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.

It also provides opportunities to play in some of the best stadiums like Old Trafford, Anfield, Emirates. It is not only the charm that drags any football club to this league but also the participation amount the clubs receive after every season.

With the TV rights and sponsorship deals worth of billions of pounds, the prize money and participation amount took a steep rise over the past few years. Last year Sunderland, the team that finished last and got relegated to the second tier of the FA also received a mammoth sum of almost £100 million.

With the growth of viewership and money associated with the Premier League, the survival in the premier league has now become the fiercest battle among the clubs. Here are the top 5 tips for Premier League survival for any football club struggling in the Premier League.

#1 Trust your squad

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Bournemouth's Surman, Smith, Daniels, Francis and Arter have been with the Club since their days in the lower divisions

Bournemouth FC was promoted to the Premier League in 2015. The club survived the first season in the league and finished in the top half of the league in the 2016-17 season.

Many football pundits praised the club for the exponential rise in such a short time. But what was the reason for Bournemouth’s success story? Upon analysis, we can see the club has certain players in their current starting eleven that were part of the team when the club was struggling in the lower divisions of the Football League.

Captain Simon Francis, Steve Cook, Harry Arter, Charlie Daniels, Andrew Surman, Callum Wilson and Marc Pugh were part of the club since the days of their struggle in the lower tiers while Adam Smith, Dan Gosling and Arthur Boruc were part of their Championship winning season.

These players are still in the squad and some of them are even the regular starters. With players having experienced the struggles in the lower divisions with the club, they are more concerned towards the survival of their club at the top tier.

This makes them give their cent percent on the pitch day in day out. On the other hand, Middleborough bought an entire team of top players like Alvaro Nagredo and Victor Valdes yet failed to survive in the first season.

#2 Hire the right man for the job

Sean Dyche has been with Burnely since 2012
Sean Dyche has been with Burnley since 2012

Burnley was relegated in the 2014-15 season of the Premier League but they were promoted again a season later and now they are seeking to become one of the stable mid-table clubs of the Premier League.

The most fascinating thing about the club is they haven’t changed their manager forthe last 5 years. Nowadays, when the clubs are not performing, it takes only four games as a manager to get sacked (taking the most recent example of Frank De Boer).

Then how did Burnley stick to Sean Dyche through the thick and thin of the club? The Clarets management staff knows that a new manager cannot guarantee Premier League survival, but Sean Dyche is undoubtedly the best manager of the Championship.

Even if they get relegated, they know Dyche will be the best person who can make them come up again. In an interview, Dyche praised the Burnley management staff, saying he has been given full freedom to do anything, but with the limited budget allotted to him.

He not only helped Burnley survive in his second season as a Premier League manager but also converted Burnley to what it is today. It is prescribed for any team, to stick with their manager, but, if in dire need for a change, they should go for some names which are can guarantee survival like Tony Pulis and Sam Allardyce, rather than some fancy names.

#3 Stick with your playing style

Huddersfield Town is getting results with their unchanged style of play
Huddersfield Town is getting results with their unchanged style of play

Huddersfield Town has been the surprise of the year so far. Firstly, by getting promoted to the Premier League after winning the Championships Playoffs, and secondly, by performing the best among the newly promoted sides (well, until the end of game week 6 at least).

The reason behind their success is the fact that did not change their style of play. When the teams get promoted to Premier League, they often sit back and defend. But, Huddersfield under their German manager David Wagner continued their high-pressing high-tempo style of play even against the Premier League's experienced teams like Crystal Palace and got the result.

After just six games, they have 9 points, close to a third of the magical 40 points mark with 32 games left to play.

#4 Inspirational signings

The Golden Boy Award winner Renato Sanches inspiring Swansea on loan from FC Bayern Munich
The Golden Boy Award winner Renato Sanches joined Swansea on loan from FC Bayern Munich

Trusting the squad is very important, but making some inspirational signings before you head for the top tier is equally important. Swansea signed Renato Sanches and Wilfred Bony before the transfer window shut down.

Renato, the Golden Boy Award winner was signed on loan from European giants - Bayern Munich, and Bony, former prolific goal scorer for the Swans in the past, was resigned from Manchester City.

These signings not only boosted hopes of the players in the changing room but also lifted the fans that are often regarded as the 12th member of every team. A couple of additions like these uplift the morale of the team and gives them a positive vibe, keeping them away from negative thoughts of relegation.

Some teams also signed experienced leaders in their team, like Darren Fletcher was signed by Stoke City FC and Gareth Barry was signed by West Brom. I will not be surprised if these teams perform better this year.

#5 Proper game-by-game strategy

Burnley registered 33 points out of its total 38 points at their home, Turf Moor in 2016-17 season
Burnley registered 33 points out of its total 38 points at their home, Turf Moor, in the 2016-17 season

Last season, Turf Moor was the fortress for the Clarets. Burnley defeated the teams like Liverpool at their home, and it was their home form that helped them survive in the Premier League.

For almost a year-long survival battle, there had to be a proper game-by-game strategy and a target for points. To avoid relegation, the 40 point mark is usually regarded as the measured safety.

If the teams play game-by-game and avoid looking at the past or the future, they can help themselves in getting results. You cannot go into every game with the same strategy.

Adapting a defensive approach against the giants of the game will not be taken as a pessimist approach towards the game. It's necessary to decide which games can yield 3 points and which can only yield 1 point.

Keeping an average of a little more than one point-per-game can ensure survival for any club. Clubs and managers should understand that there can't be a Leicester City-esque fairytale every year, in which case, survival would be the next best outcome.

Edited by Aakanksh Sanketh


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