Many clubs will start the season with high expectations, some perhaps unrealistic.

However each season, a handful of clubs will do much better than expected of them, and end up finishing much higher than previous seasons.

Last season, West Brom and Swansea were the unexpected high flyers, with Swansea winning the Capital One Cup (and a Europa League place), as well as finishing ninth, while the Baggies finished eighth in the Premier League off the back of a spectacular run of early-season form. 

So, which clubs could be this year's Premier League surprise packages?

Norwich City:

Last season: 11th

Projected finish: 9th

After flirting with relegation at several points last season, Norwich finished strongly, and could potentially carry this form through to the next campaign. A raft of canny signings look to bulk up Norwich's attack, which last season was their Achilles heel.

The early grab of the talented Dutch forward Ricky van Wolfswinkel was a signal of intent from the Canaries, and they have since built on this coup with the signatures of such players as Gary Hooper and Leroy Fer.

Norwich have also been linked with Juventus striker Fabio Quagliarella, but even if this deal were to fall through, Norwich will have an exceptionally strong strike force, which coupled with a solid defence could see them go far in the 2013/2014 Premier League.

Cardiff City:

Last season: Promoted

Projected finish: 10th

Last season, the Bluebirds won the Championship with something to spare after missing out on promotion by a whisker in the previous few seasons. 

Cardiff have a stronger defence than some established Premier League teams, and have built on this base so far with the additions of Steven Caulker, England's most promising young defender, and Andreas Cornelius, the talented Danish striker, both of whom have the potential to succeed in the Premier League.

They are also making the right noises in the transfer window so far regarding more additions, even attracting rumours of a move for Benfica's Oscar Cardozo. 

While this is probably beyond their reach, the fact that the rumours exist is encouraging, as it shows that Cardiff's Malaysian owner Vincent Tan is ready to splash more cash before the end of the window.

Liverpool:

Last season: 7th

Projected finish: 4th

After years of underachievement, the signs look better for Liverpool this season, despite the poisonous Luis Suarez-to-Arsenal saga. Obviously, not selling their most talented player to a direct rival for a Champions League place would be good, but even should the worst happen, and Suarez move to the Gunners, Liverpool are still in a strong place.

The arrivals of Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho in January improved the team significantly, and showed that there is more to Liverpool's attack than the vampiric Uruguayan.

Coutinho in particular looks set to take the league by storm next season, whileLiverpool have strengthened in an un-flashy but steady way this summer, with Iago Aspas and Kolo Toure seeming like bargains in particular. The team is young, plays attractive football, and can seemingly only improve next season. 

 

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Topics:
#Premier League
#Norwich City
#Liverpool
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