There has been much buzz about the Premier league top seven clubs with their managerial and squad changes. It looks very certain that next year’s Premier League winners will come from that group with many bookies having already placed odds for those teams.
Amazingly there was only a difference of 10 points between West Brom Albion (8th place) and Sunderland (17th place), which means that the gap is very trifling.
This signifies that with the small differences between each club in the mid table, this season may provide numerous surprise packages that may challenge for a spot in the top seven.
In other words, should the big teams secure the cup competitions like they do in most seasons excluding the last, these are the teams that are potentially challenging for what may end up being a place in Europe.
Therefore this article will discuss only teams that are outside the top seven who are likely to surpass their expectations for this season.
Last Season’s Position: 16th
While competing in the Europa League last season, the Magpies were very disappointed to have been also fighting for relegation towards the end of the campaign.
Although, they were eliminated in the quarterfinals, the fans would have preferred if they had also maintained a decent Premier League run and losing 3-0 to Tyneside neighbours Sunderland, must have been a season low which incidentally came after a tiring Europa League tie against Benfica.
Presently, after making a lot of signings (all French) during the January window like Haidara, Yanga-Mbiwa, Gouffran, Moussa Sissoko and secured Loic Remy this summer on loan from QPR, the fans have substantial expectations for Alan Pardew’s side this season.
Although they lost Demba Ba during the winter, without any European distraction (or entertainment, depending on how you view it) this season, they look like reclaiming back their good form that got them into Europe and enabled them to finish above Chelsea.
Last Season’s Position: 9th
The current League Cup champions are presently on their way to Europa League group stages after defeating Swedish team Malmo 4-0 on aggregate.
They have already strengthened their team by breaking the past transfer record for Wilfried Bony whom they signed from Vitesse Arnhem for £12.2 million.
In addition they bought England U21 star Jonjo Shelvey from Liverpool for £5.1 million and Jordi Amat from Real Betis for £2.1 million.
All of this money being spent is huge for a club like Swansea who were the first ever-Welsh team to play in the Premier League.
Swansea celebrated their centenary year last season by winning their first ever-major trophy, and then right after that they continue to strengthen which is nothing short of incredible.
Last Season’s Position: 14th
Mauricio Pochettino has really impressed ever since taking over at the helm at St. Mary’s with victories over Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea.
Although the squad was assembled by previous manager Nigel Adkins, Pochettino has really made lemonade with his lemons by finishing four places above the relegation zone.
After surviving they have broken their transfer record for the second season in a row by securing the services of Victor Wanyama from Celtic for £12.7 million and also signed a highly rated Croatian Dejan Lovren from Lyon.
Securing defensive players is a very good move for a team that conceded 60 goals during the previous campaign.
Having excellent players in attack like Puncheon, Lallana, Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert who just received an - England call up - in combination to new defensive signings, Southampton may end up being a constant thorn the so-called “Big Clubs” will have to deal with.
Last Season’s Position: 17th
The dynamic Di Canio is transferring his passion into his squad and that emotional power slide he made after going up 3-0 against local rivals Newcastle epitomises his appetite for success.
Although the team just managed to stay afloat in the Premier League, with a fresh new start the manger can restructure the squad to his liking.
So far, they’ve signed Gold Cup winner Jozy Altidore, Italian international Emmanuele Giaccherini and young goalkeeper Vito Mannone from Arsenal.
They’ve let go of a couple of players this summer but that simply means that Di Canio did not want the player in the squad.
For example Alfred N’Diaye who only arrived in January has been sent out a loan again which is rare but only goes to show that the squad will only consist of players that he will work with.
Nonetheless, they showed a lot of strength in beating Spurs during the pre season tournament and perhaps can show more of this character once the season commences.
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