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Opinion: Surprising Premier League teams this season

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With the Premier League now in its final stages, the time has come for certain awards to be handed out.

The Premier League title race may not be over yet but when it comes to the likes of Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year are looking like they are done deals.

Likewise, while the table is by no means set, it is easy to determine who has impressed and who hasn’t this season.

With that in mind, we’ve taken a look at the top five teams who have surprised in the Premier League this season.


Liverpool FC v Burnley FC - Premier League
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MARCH 10: Sadio Mane of Liverpool celebrates. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

After spending a world-record fee for a goalkeeper on Alisson, a record broken by Kepa Arrizabalaga’s move to Chelsea, many expected big things from Liverpool.

Coupling the Brazilian with Virgil van Dijk, who they paid a world-record fee for as well, meant that the Reds had solved their defensive issues and should be challenging.

That has proven to be the case, although nobody expected Liverpool to be quite this good.

Not only have they closed a 25-point gap on Manchester City but they’ve conceded just 20 goals all season and lost just one game. Those are surprising numbers from a Liverpool team that often prioritises the offence over defence.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 07: Wolverhampton Wanderers celebrate. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

There was much hype surrounding Wolverhampton Wanderers when they came up from the Championship last season.

Under Nuno Espirito Santo they dominated England’s second flight, and many were predicting big things from them this year.

Few would foresee them being this good, though. Wolves have adapted to life in the Premier League like a duck to water. They’ve done so playing a superb brand of football and picking up massive results across the campaign.

Most surprising has been how they’ve taken on the top six, beating several of them and putting in top performances against all of them. Wolves, it seems, are here to stay. This has been one of the best campaigns from a promoted side in several years.


Watford v Crystal Palace - FA Cup Quarter Final
WATFORD, ENGLAND – MARCH 16: Andre Gray of Watford celebrates. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

Watford showed signs of improvement under Javi Gracia last season, but it’s been a surprise how good they’ve been this season.

The Hornets have been in and around the top seven picture all season and played some excellent football to get there.

Under Gracia they’ve pushed forward from what they were doing under Marco Silva, developing a defensive style that wholly benefits their desire to go forward.

Couple the fact they’re currently 10th in the table, just a point behind 7th, and in the FA Cup final, this has been a surprisingly good campaign from Watford.

Newcastle United

AFC Bournemouth v Newcastle United - Premier League
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND – MARCH 16: Rafael Benitez, Manager of Newcastle United. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

It may seem strange to include a side that are five points outside of the relegation zone as a team that have surprised this season but bear with us.

Newcastle United have been surprisingly good, according to online odds and predictions, considering how little money they’ve spent compared to everyone else.

The Magpies have the second lowest negative net spend this season, with Rafa Benitez given little funds by Mike Ashley to improve his squad.

Yet, despite that, they’ve never really been in a relegation battle and are comfortable in mid-table. It’s surprising how good a job Benitez has done given the squad and stringent financial situation he’s working under.


Watford FC v Fulham FC - Premier League
WATFORD, ENGLAND – APRIL 02: Calum Chambers and Maxime Le Marchand of Fulham look dejected. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

No, we’re not claiming that Fulham have been surprisingly good this season. In fact, we’re going the complete opposite way.

The most surprising thing about Fulham this season is how bad they’ve been. This campaign was just not meant to go this badly.

They came into the Premier League playing great football under Slavisa Jokanovic and spent over £100 million bolstering their squad in the summer transfer window. Unfortunately, none of those signings were good enough.

Fulham’s terrible defence, which has conceded 76 goals so far, have seen them relegated with five games remaining. It was surprising just how bad the Cottagers were this year.

Fancy Liverpool, to win the Premier League? Or Watford to win the FA Cup? How about Fulham to concede over 100 goals this season?