The gap between the top teams in the Premier League to the promoted sides from the Championship keeps getting bigger with each passing season.
However, some teams have bucked this trend and gone on to achieve great things in their first season in the top flight.
Here are five teams who had the most impressive first seasons in the Premier League…
Blackburn Rovers [1992/93]
One of the lucky three sides promoted for the first season of Premier League football, Blackburn proved to be one of the best teams in the division, finishing in fourth place with 71 points on debut. Returning to the top flight for the first time since 1966 and bankrolled by the riches of owner Jack Walker, the Riversiders managed to secure the services of Alan Shearer from Southampton for a then British transfer record, with the England forward finishing as the side’s top scorer. Under manager Kenny Dalglish, Blackburn would narrowly miss out on the UEFA Cup by one point, despite ending the season with eight wins from their last ten matches.
Newcastle United [1993/94]
An even more impressive debut season in the Premier League for the competitions second year, with Newcastle United returning to the top flight and finishing in a lofty third place. Promoted to the top flight as Champions, the Magpies made an instant impact under the tutelage of the legendary Kevin Keegan. Peter Beardsley returned to the club and instantly formed an incredible strike partnership with Andy Cole, with the pair notching up 55 goals between them in the league, with Cole scoring 34 of them. Keegan’s side ended the season qualifying for the UEFA Cup, their first foray into Europe since the 1970s.
Nottingham Forest [1994/95]
Three seasons in a row where one of the newly promoted sides have gone on to reach Europe or miss out on it by a thread. Nottingham Forest’s return to the top flight yielded much success, as the post-Brian Clough era continued to excel. Under the management of Frank Clark, Forest finished the season in third place, 12 points off Champions Blackburn and secured a UEFA Cup spot in the process. A young Stan Collymore lit up the league, scoring 22 times, but the midlands outfit could have had greater success had it not been for a run of five wins from 20 games. Nine wins from their final 12 games ensured a top three finish.
Ipswich Town [2000/01]
Fast forward six years and newly promoted Ipswich Town started off the new millennium with a bang, securing fifth place and missing out on the Champions League by three points. Tipped for the drop, the Tractor Boys ripped up the form book and were on course to finish the season in the top three under manager George Burley but poor mid season form and a 2-1 defeat to Charlton put an end to those dreams with two games remaining. However, it was not all doom and gloom for the Suffolk based outfit, as they qualified for the UEFA Cup for the first time since 1982. To put some perspective onto how well Ipswich did this season, the following campaign saw them relegated after finishing in 18th place.
Leeds United [2020/21]
Arriving back in the Premier League for the first time in 17 years, and in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Leeds United caused a stir under the leadership of the legendary Marcelo Bielsa. The Argentine’s ‘murder ball’ tactics conjured up a season of superb viewing, with the likes of Pablo Hernandez, Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford all excelling, with the latter scoring 17 league goals. Ninth place in the top flight might not look like the most impressive result, but with the insane amount of finances glittered around the division, Leeds still managed to finish only three points off a European spot. Sadly this would be as good as it got for the Yorkshire outfit, with a 17th placed finish in 2021/22 followed up by 19th place and relegation back to the Championship.