Football

Five European Teams over-performing this season

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Across the continent there are band of plucky underdogs who deserve your support, battling against the odds to overachieve throughout the current campaign despite limited resources.

GMS academy member Graham Leydon has decided to profile five sides worthy of your attention, who continue to punch above their weight despite not being expected to lift silverware at the start of the underdogs.

Villarreal CF

Villarreal is a straight forward case of over-achieving. After going straight back up after going down in 2011/2012, this season they have spent the entire season in La Liga's top six. It was naturally expected that they would be a bottom-half team at best, but they have turned heads in a sense with their shrewd buying and loan deals such as Giovanni Dos Santos and Tomas Pina, who have flourished immensely since joining from Mallorca.

The Yellow Submarines are playing with continuity and have shown that since being relegated that there are no ill effects of rebuilding over time, especially with the calibre of players they had in their team including Borja Valero, Giuseppe Rossi and Jonathan De Guzman to name a few.

If they maintained this push to the end of the season, it will be an interesting observation to see if they can maintain this form for next season over in both Europe and La Liga, as they don't want to suffer the same fate as 2011/2012 or look at Real Betis as a prime example of a collapse.

PEC Zwolle

After a successful first season back in the Eredivisie finishing 11th, it was expected they would maintain around this position maybe challenge in the top half at best this time round. When Ron Jans took over in the summer, it was expected PEC Zwolle could be relegation fodder, as Jans had a mixed record as a manager most notable with Standard Liege only lasting a few months leaving them in October 2012 and had them in 12th place while Heerenveen before that he started slow with them in 12th in his 1st season and then made them title contenders in 2011/2012.

This season however PEC Zwolle were firing with them in the top four for the first 12 games, while maintaining a top eight push since then. They are currently eighth after a drop in form lately and others recovering after a bad start. Of course if they get their early season back, they could end up in Europe, but time will tell of course either way if they have done better than anyone expected, especially in their second season.

Monaco

After sweeping to the Ligue 2 title last season, this season they were expected to basically buy the best players and challenge PSG for the title, this they have managed to do in a sense but too many draws and losses to St Etienne and Valenciennes lately have not helped their cause plus Falcao's injury has dented them further.

However what has to be noted here is, that Monaco have not exactly bought world-class players, yes Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez are solid international players, I wouldn't have them top of my list of players to buy, while Eric Abidal, Ricardo Carvalho, Dimitar Berbatov and Jeremy Toulalan are all players have had great careers and now in their twilights, are not players who are going to help win you a title.

The team in essence is still a strong Ligue 2 influence with players not worthy of being at the 2nd best team in France this season. While Youngsters such as Lucas Ocampos and Geoffrey Kondogbia just may however be the future and could be long-term prospects for the team eitherway this is a team in essence which is in a transition period, with the lure of big wages for players, it may be expected next season that they buy more high calibre players, to try and eradicate the weak links, while look at becoming a team that can go the whole season for the title, potentially a Falcao-Diego Costa strike-force next season?

Hertha Berlin

After the last few seasons between Bundesliga. 2 and Bundesliga. 1 it was unknown after gaining promotion in 2012/2013 what team would appear this season. However Hertha have certainly shown what it is capable of but in essence really it is has over-performed, as they were expected to be a team hovering above relegation, but have been in the top 8 teams all season.

With good enough form could sneak them into the Europa League places, but who knows of course on their current form they are looking good for a top ten place which is much higher than anyone predicted.

Verona

After 11 years in the 2nd and third tiers respectively Verona have spent this season delighting many teams with their play back in Serie A, giving a career renaissance to Luca Toni in particular up front to sit a stunning seventh in the table.

It has to be noted that at the start of the season, they were expected to be in the bottom five-six teams due to a lack of star summer signings, but they have delighted the league with their style of football nearly all-year long.

Hellas have dipped slightly in 2014 but remain safe and on the fringes of European qualification, quite an achievement for a side who were expected to struggle.

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Topics:
La Liga
Eredivisie
Ligue 1
Germany Football
Football
Bundesliga
Italy Football
Serie A

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DISCLAIMER

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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