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  • When Did The Wheels Fall Off For Previous Premier League Surprise Packages?

When did the wheels fall off for previous Premier League surprise packages?

Six defeats in seven have Brentford anxiously looking over their shoulders. They’re not the first newly promoted club to see their bubble burst as the harsh realities of top-flight football kick in.

Brentford are on the slide.
After three wins and three draws from their first seven games they sat seventh in the Premier League.

However, since Christmas, Thomas Frank's side have lost six in seven and now lie 14th and uncomfortably close to the bottom three who all hold games in hand - Burnley have five.

They aren't the first newly promoted club to seduce the media only to buckle as the realities of top-flight football start to bite. Their slide down the table will be all too familiar to fans of Hull City, Burnley, Blackpool and Huddersfield.

But where did it go wrong for those four teams? Planet Sport looks back on the seasons in which the quartet made landmark returns to the top tier (or in Hull's case a first appearance) and looks at when the wheels started to fall off. We may even be able to pinpoint a date.

Hull City 2008/09 season

Fresh from a dramatic play-off win final win over Bristol City, Phil Brown's side were a breath of fresh air for the Premier League, winning their first-ever top-flight fixture 2-1 against Fulham and going on to taste victory in six of their first nine.
Those included a 1-0 win at Tottenham and, most memorably, a come-from-behind 2-1 victory at Arsenal which included a blockbuster from Brazilian Geovanni.

The sixth of those wins, a 3-0 success at West Brom, saw Hull City go joint top of the table alongside Liverpool and Chelsea and put them five points clear of eventual champions Manchester United.

It couldn't, and wouldn't, last. They won just twice more all season and escaped relegation on a nervy final-day, with Damian Duff deflecting home a shot from Aston Villa's Gareth Barry to condemn Newcastle to the drop.

Outsiders often point to Brown's half-time on-pitch dressing down at Manchester City on Boxing Day as the turning point of the season - the Tigers were losing 4-0 and Brown kept the players on the pitch at the interval to read the riot act.
However, those looking for an exact moment would do better to look to six days earlier when the Tigers were thrashed 4-1 at home by relegation-threatened Sunderland, caving in to concede three goals in the final 12 minutes.
Unable to halt the slide, Hull were relegated the following season.

Date when it started to go wrong: December 20, 2008 - losing at home to Sunderland

Burnley 2009/10 season

Robbie Blake and Brian Jensen were the heroes as Burnley beat champions Manchester United in their first home top-flight game for 33 years.

Blake's explosive volley put the home side ahead but it would need a Jensen penalty save - from Michael Carrick - and a typically resolute rearguard action from the hosts to keep the Red Devils at bay.

The win was the first of four on the bounce at Turf Moor as the Clarets - the first newly promoted club to achieve the feat - defied pre-season predictions of an early return to the Championship.

However, after beating Hull City at the end of October, Burnley went 12 games without a win.

Manager Owen Coyle departed on January 5, lured to fellow top-flight side Bolton and Brian Laws came in to replace him.

It was as if Burnley had already accepted their fate. Burnley were relegated in 18th, five points adrift of safety (six with their massively inferior goal difference).

The four points gained away from Turf Moor points to where their troubles lay but it could have all been so different had they held on to a 2-0 lead at Manchester City at the start of November.
The Clarets eventually scraped a 3-3 draw but had they beaten City, their away-day troubles may not have been as debilitating as they eventually became.

Date when it started to go wrong: November 7, 2009 - failing to hold on to a two-goal lead at Manchester City

Blackpool 2010/11

Before enigmatic gave way to irritating, Ian Holloway was winning over the media as manager of newly promoted Blackpool, a side who scored goals for fun but couldn't defend to save their lives.
Opening the season with a 4-0 win at Wigan, they then lost 6-0 to Arsenal before drawing 2-2 with Fulham.

A 2-0 win over Newcastle, courtesy of a Charlie Adam penalty and a DJ Campbell goal, lifted them up to fourth and the goals continued to flow as Blackpool's slick passing game and cavalier approach caught the top flight unawares.

Four wins in seven games between November and January were capped off by a 2-1 victory over Liverpool to complete the double over the Merseyside outfit. The three points lifted the Tangerines above the Reds and into ninth - they even had a game in hand on the Anfield side.
However, like Phil Brown before him, there were signs Holloway was starting to get carried away with his own hype.
Conceding late goals was also proving a problem, with Peter Odemwingie's 87th-minute winner for West Brom on January 15 the tenth time Blackpool had conceded in the final ten minutes of a game.
As the offbeat quotes stacked up, the points dried up and Blackpool won just two of their last 18. They were relegated by a point having conceded 78 goals in 38 games. Their goals for of 55 was the same as Spurs, who finished fifth.

Date when it started to go wrong: January 15, 2011 - losing to a late Peter Odemwingie goal at West Brom

Huddersfield Town 2017/18

The fourth of our quartet and the fourth to gain promotion to the Premier League through the play-offs, Huddersfield returned to the top flight after a 45-year absence and immediately made waves.

With an astute array of signings, including Australian international Aaron Mooy, an £8million capture from Manchester City, Town hit the ground running.

David Wagner's side beat Crystal Palace and Newcastle and then drew with Southampton to sit third in the table three games in.

The highlight of their start was a 2-1 win over Manchester United on October 21, with goals from Mooy and Laurent Depoitre earning them their first win over the Red Devils in 65 years.

Wagner was even linked with the Arsenal job, such was the regard he was held in (and not because he was friends with Jurgen Klopp).

Eleventh after a 4-1 win over Watford on December 16, the Terriers would go on to win just three of their remaining 17 top-flight games to limp in 16th, just four points above the drop zone.

That they were only able to call on influential winger Elias Kachunga twice more after the Hornets game was undoubtedly a factor in their slide. The DR Congo international suffered ligament damage in the Watford win and fought his way back to fitness only to suffer an ankle injury two games into his comeback.

Goalscoring proved a problem with Huddersfield's output of 28 the joint lowest in the league alongside relegated Swansea City. The fact that Tom Ince registered just two Premier League goals from a staggering 67 shots perhaps illustrates where the problem lay.
It was a failing that continued to dog the Terriers the following season as they scored six fewer on their way to finishing bottom.

Date when it started to go wrong: December 16, 2017 - losing Elias Kachunga to a long-term injury

READ MORE: Why Brentford signing Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen is a great idea

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