West Ham and Southampton will have a new level of confidence thanks to Leicester..

Which underdog can follow Leicester City's lead next season

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We have seen the biggest football fairy tale of our lifetime take place this season with Leicester City winning the Premier League for the first time in their history.

Their rise in the early part of the season looked like something we had seen before. Small club starts well, even sits on top of the table for a few weeks before slipping down to their usual place below mid table as the big boys wake from their early season slumber.

However, as the season progressed, astute observers realised that this was no fluke and that the Foxes were in for the long haul.


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Their title is a real game-changer for the league, in that it makes the usual suspects raise their game. It also gives middle to lower ranked teams hope that if they prepare themselves well and have a positive mentality, then anything can happen.

While many things have to play out before the new season starts in August, it is still a interesting exercise to discuss who can take Leicester's lead from the 'middle tier' and possibly claim Premier League glory.

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West Ham

The Hammers have had a tremendous season under Slaven Bilic.

As with Leicester, they signed players within their means who have excelled beyond recognition. Bilic has managed to combine the sublime play-making ability of Frenchman Dimitri Payet with the superb leadership qualities of Mark Noble in the midfield. While players that you wouldn't call household names like Michail Antonio and Manuel Lanzini have been pleasant surprises.

West Ham United v Watford - Premier League

The renaissance of Andy Carroll has also been nice to see. A player who has had his fair share of bad luck with injury, has put together arguably his best season in the top flight.

To take the next step, they probably need another striker to take the load off Carroll and perhaps another midfielder or two.

Their defence looks very solid, with left back Aaron Cresswell a standout and deserving of a place in England's Euro 2016 squad.

Moving into the Olympic stadium with a top six position and European football to look forward to, there is no reason why the Hammers can't aim even higher next season.


The biggest issue for Southampton is keeping their squad together. In the two previous years they have been raided by Liverpool and to a lesser degree Manchester United. However, Ronald Koeman and his coaching staff deserve the utmost credit for reconstructing their squad and playing some superb football.

Aston Villa v Southampton - Premier League

Not many teams can make Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City look second rate but that's what they have done at St Mary's this season.

Like West Ham, they have good organisation all over the pitch starting with Fraser Forster, Jose Fonte and Virgil Van Dijk in defence. Their attacking players such as Sadio Mane and Dusan Tadic are a delight to watch when in full flight.

If they can keep the vultures at bay and keep the likes of Mane, Tadic and Victor Wanyama as well as adding a few pieces, they are definitely a sneaky chance of achieving something special.

Newcastle United

It goes without saying, that the first priority is survival in the Premier League this season. If they achieve that, we have seen with Leicester what sort of positivity it can bring. The other main reason to be optimistic about their chances for a major revival is their manager.

Newcastle United v Crystal Palace - Premier League

Rafa Benitez comes with a whole lot of experience from his time in Spain, Italy and his previous spells in the Premier League. He has also won a range of honours over the years and could have easily chosen a more stable club after his turbulent spell at Real Madrid. A sleeping giant if ever there was one, 'the Toon Army' have ridden a range of emotions over the years since the days of Kevin Keegan.

The current squad at St James' Park has a large range of untapped talent which is arguably greater than what Leicester had at the start of the season. Talent is only a word, and it will be the Spaniard's job to harness it if they do stay up.

The appointment of Benitez was done to achieve one goal, survival. All going well, next season presents a outstanding opportunity to rise from the ashes.

The next era of Premier League football could be the most competitive we have seen for a long, long time. As football fans, we have Leicester to thank for making the impossible a possibility again.

Who do you think could shock the Premier League next season? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!

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