Avoiding the drop: Why Brighton, Huddersfield, Newcastle can all survive

The Premier League’s newly promoted clubs are refusing to follow the script. Brighton & Hove Albion, Huddersfield Town, and Newcastle United all tallied three points, placing the newcomers in three of the top 11 spots in the standings. It’s still early days in English football’s top flight, but the trio are on pace to avoid relegation.

Only in 2001-02 and 2011-12 did all three of the newly promoted clubs survive the Premier League. Fulham, Blackburn Rovers, and Bolton Wanderers made history in the former, while Queens Park Rangers, Norwich City, and Swansea City emulated the feat in the latter.

Could it happen for a third time this season?

Brighton & Hove Albion

Brighton, gracing English football’s top flight for the first time since 1983, tallied its first-ever away victory in the Premier League with a 3-0 win at West Ham United. It was a result that some Seagulls supporters surely thought they’d never witness, and it was a prime example of what can happen when Chris Hughton executes a plan to perfection.

Hughton’s tactics were also the source of Brighton’s 1-1 draw versus Everton, which would’ve been a win for the Seagulls had Bruno not inexplicably charged at Dominic Calvert-Lewin and conceded a late penalty kick. The Englishman is taking the Seagulls to new heights, and it shouldn’t be forgotten that, in 2008, Newcastle avoided relegation with his assistance.

Anything is possible for Brighton with Hughton at the helm.

Huddersfield Town

Huddersfield’s 2-1 victory over Manchester United marked the Terriers’ first win against the Red Devils since March 1952, and it provided the market-town club with reason to believe that its first-ever season in the Premier League can have a happy ending.

At no point in the game did Huddersfield look out of its depth, and the Terriers ensured United was never allowed to settle. When Marcus Rashford found the back of the net in the 78th minute, Huddersfield came together, showing a cohesion that will absolutely be needed in the race against relegation. Bodies were thrown in front of shots and the ball was cleared with urgency.

Camaraderie can keep Huddersfield in the Premier League.

Newcastle United

Newcastle is sixth in the Premier League after Mikel Merino scored in the 86th minute to give the Magpies a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace. They’re showing a determination not seen at St. James’ Park in a long time, and a willingness to grind out a win when things aren’t going their way.

It was reported in September that Rafa Benitez was open to job offers after losing all trust in Mike Ashley’s regime, and his anger at Newcastle’s lack of signings in the summer transfer window is no secret. What a difference a month makes. The Magpies are up for sale and the club is living up to its reputation as one of the biggest in the United Kingdom.

If Newcastle can avoid falling into old habits, both on the pitch and off the pitch, the Magpies should not only be capable of avoiding relegation, but competing for a spot in the top half of the standings.

EPL | theScore

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