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Premier League: Surprise contenders for top 10 finish

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With the Premier League season up and running, many clubs will be desperate to crack the top 10 of England's elite division. 

The usual suspects will all take their place towards the top of the league come May, however here's a look at three teams that can crack the top half of the table: 

1. Southampton

Eyebrows were raised when Nigel Adkins was sacked in January, after a highly prosperous spell in which he won over half of the games he was in charge.

However, Mauricio Pochettino's men have made a flying start to this campaign, losing just one of their opening eight Premier League fixtures. Such form has propelled them up to an unexpected sixth place in the table.

The Saints recorded an impressive 1-1 draw at Old Trafford last weekend, thanks to a dramatic 89th minute equaliser from Adam Lallana - a player whose dynamism has epitomised the way his side have approached their early-season games.

The key to their success has been a resolute back-line, having only conceded three goals in the league - the fewest of any side this season. Consequently, Pochettino will look to his defence to continue their magnificent displays. If their performances can reach the levels shown in the first three months of the season, there is no reason why Southampton cannot challenge for a Europa League place.

2. Newcastle

Alan Pardew came into the season under big pressure for his side to get off to a good start. As it stands, the Magpies sit in tenth position having won three and lost three out of eight league games.

It is fair to say that Newcastle's form so far this season has been characterised by inconsistency. Superb away victories at Aston Villa and Cardiff and the hard-fought draw at home to Liverpool are coupled with a 4-0 opening game thrashing at Manchester City and a shock home defeat to Hull City.

The signing of Loic Remy has boosted their firepower in attack, but the once prolific Papiss Cisse is seriously struggling for confidence. If the Senegalese frontman can rediscover the form which brought him 13 goals in his first 14 games at the end of the 2011/12 season, the Toon Army could be celebrating a top-half finish.

Ultimately, Newcastle need to make St. James' Park a fortress once again - they lost nine at home last season - if they are to break into the top ten.

3. West Bromwich Albion

The Baggies have started this campaign poorly, failing to register a victory in their first four games, losing at home to both Southampton and Swansea. They finally recorded their first victory of the season against a Sunderland side then led by Paolo Di Canio, triumphing 3-0 at the Hawthorns.

Steve Clarke's men currently lie in 12th place in the table after a mixed start. However, they are one of only three teams (along with Arsenal and Liverpool) yet to lose away on their travels, having won one and drawn three of their four away games so far.

This impressive away form, coupled with their victorious performance at Manchester United indicates that West Brom have the potential to record a second successive top half finish, after finishing 9th last season.

Summer signing Morgan Amalfitano has already put in some dazzling displays, netting in back-to-back wins at the end of September. If the well-travelled Nicolas Anelka can start adding goals to aid the contribution of his fellow countryman, a successful term could be in the offing.

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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