Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical elements and players of the three clubs joining the Premier League in 2022/23.
Nottingham Forest’s most exciting talent is 21-year-old forward Johnson.
The Welshman had made just four Championship appearances ahead of 2021/22, but he was a revelation last season, scoring 18 goals and providing 10 assists.
Quick, direct and calm in front of goal, the academy graduate has been a talisman for head coach Steve Cooper, who has got the best out of Johnson by moving him from a wide role into a front-two partnership.
On their long-awaited return to the Premier League, Forest are likely to be a counter-attacking side. This was where they were at their best last term, springing fast breaks to hurt the opposition.
Johnson, who excelled on loan for Lincoln City in 2020/21 in League One, is integral to that approach.
Thanks to his speed and mobility, he produced the second-most shots from fast breaks last season.
|Big chance conversion*||75%||1st|
|Shots from fast breaks||11||2nd|
|Shots from inside box||77||5th|
|Chances created from open play||61||5th|
*Minimum 10 big chances
Johnson was at his most impressive in key matches.
Statistically, Johnson boasted the highest conversion rate from big chances in the second tier, scoring with 75 per cent of those opportunities.
He also offers terrific creativity, regularly showcasing his skill down the flanks to set up team-mates.
In open play, just four Championship players created more chances than he did last term.
Premier League defenders will not just be wary of Johnson’s speed but also the direct way in which he brings the ball forward.
|Player||Ave. ball carry distance||Ave. ball carry progress|
Last season he carried the ball 14.8 metres on average and made more progress than any other Championship player (10.5m on average).
Five of his carries resulted in assists and three ended with him scoring.
The most-improved player since Cooper took charge is Yates, a homegrown central midfielder who has developed into an all-action star.
The 24-year-old gets around the pitch superbly to break up play and is excellent at dropping into his own area to clear danger.
However, it is his unexpected goalscoring prowess last term that elevated his status.
Scoring eight times in his last 36 Championship appearances, compared with six in his previous 84, Yates delivered end product at crucial moments throughout Forest's promotion campaign.
He is very good at making late runs into the opposition box. From one such burst, he helped to force Levi Colwill’s own-goal winner against Huddersfield Town in the Championship playoff final.
Yates also boasts a real threat from corners and wide free-kicks.
No Championship player registered more goals from set-pieces in 2021/22, with seven of his eight strikes coming from dead-balls.
In a season where set-plays are likely to be of huge significance for Forest, Yates is very much their danger man.
|Player||Set-piece goals (exc. pens)|
Despite operating in a box-to-box role, Yates is Forest's most defensive-minded midfielder.
He will help out his three central defenders when crosses come into the box, often covering for a centre-back who has been dragged towards the wings.
For this reason, and his strength when defending set-pieces, Yates' 91 clearances were far more than anyone else who played in central midfield for the majority of last season.
He also makes a string of interceptions and wins more than his fair share of tackles and headers.
|Player||Aerial duels won||Player||Clearances|
|Gardner (BIR)||100||Smallwood (HUL)||60|
Yates has offered plenty for Forest in every area, on and off the ball, during a brilliant promotion campaign.
Forest supporters will now be hoping he can take that form into the Premier League.
Part 1: Fulham back with exciting attack
Part 2: Wilson to deliver for Fulham again
Part 3: Parker has the tools to succeed
Part 4: Kelly and Billing key for Cherries
Part 5: Forest counters can cause problems