Bournemouth, Norwich and Watford were all relegated from the Premier League in the 2019/20 season, all suffering poor campaigns that resulted in their respective drops into the Championship. However, all three teams have shown signs of being able to bounce back to the top flight at the first attempt.
Fulham were the last club to achieve the feat, recovering from their own relegation in the 2018/19 season to return to the Premier League with their victory over Brentford in the 2019/20 Championship playoff final. Bournemouth have the best Championship odds to win promotion back to the top flight this term, although Norwich and Watford are right in the running.
All three teams have an excellent chance due to the quality and experience of their teams compared to their rivals in the second tier. However, the Cherries have proven to have the strongest squad in the division to date. Other than Nathan Ake, Callum Wilson, Aaron Ramsdale and Ryan Fraser, the club were largely able to keep their team intact from the side that competed in the Premier League last term. Bournemouth were only relegated by a point under Eddie Howe. Even though Howe departed the club, promoting his assistant Jason Tindall to the manager's position has allowed the south coast outfit to enjoy continuity at the top.
Dominic Solanke has benefited from the drop into the Championship more than most. The 23-year-old endured a miserable time in the Premier League in front of goal, taking 39 appearances to get off the mark for the Cherries before breaking his duck in a 4-1 win over Leicester City. He has carried that form onwards in the second tier and scored six goals in his first 17 appearances in the term.
The former Chelsea and Liverpool man could be their key alongside Arnaut Danjuma in the final third. Bournemouth have the right blend of experience and quality. Asmir Begovic, Steve Cook, Adam Smith and Dan Gosling are all seasoned campaigners, while Lewis Cook, David Brooks, Chris Mepham, Philip Billing along with Danjuma and Solanke are players on the rise. It would be disappointing for them to miss out on automatic promotion.
Watford are in the same mould as the Cherries, boasting experience and talent. The Hornets were not raided by Premier League teams other than the loss of Abdoulaye Doucoure, being able to hang on to Troy Deeney, Andre Gray and Ismaila Sarr in the final third. Ben Foster, Craig Cathcart and Christian Kabasele were also retained, handing new manager Vladimir Ivic the perfect balance. Youngster Joao Pedro has also been a bright spark and there is great hope that Premier League football could return to Vicarage Road as soon as next term.
Norwich are eerily similar to their rivals, although they lost their talented young players. Jamal Lewis and Ben Godfrey were plucked away by Newcastle and Everton, respectively. Max Aarons was a target of Barcelona in the summer, and speculation regarding his future has not diminished. Emiliano Buendia and Todd Cantwell have also been linked with moves away. Teemu Pukki has returned to his prime goalscoring form after a difficult season in the Premier League. For manager Daniel Farke, his side's hopes will hinge on whether the Canaries can keep their squad together in the next transfer window. In some ways, they are probably the victims of their own success regarding their youth policy.
It will be fascinating to see whether the three teams can maintain their charges towards the Premier League. The three relegated sides have never all bounced back at the first attempt, highlighting the difficulties of the Championship and also keeping a team together. History could well be made in 2021.