Football as simple and straightforward as it is can sometimes set us up for major surprises. Fans of the beautiful game have witnessed some absolutely unbelievable surprises in the past; Leicester City winning the Premier league, Denmark winning Euro ’92, Greece winning Euro 2004, Athletico winning the La Liga in 2014, Ajax and Lyon reaching the UEFA Champions League semi-finals in the last two seasons respectively and so many more.
The 2020/21 season, due to circumstances (mostly caused by the coronavirus pandemic), promises to be an unusual season loaded with surprises.
TOP SOCCER BLOG looks at the teams who are potential surprise packages this season
With the major suspects in the Premier league title race floundering, there is a good chance that an underdog could pull off another “Leicester” this season and Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham seems the most likely to do so. Apart from the shrewd signings Spurs made in the summer, attacking duo, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min are in imperious form — the kind of form that wins you titles. Tottenham are currently second on the log in the Premier League and should things remain the same, don’t rule them out of causing a stunning upset by winning the league title against all odds.
2. AC MILAN
Years ago, AC Milan were the top team both in Italy and in Europe. The club have experienced some terrible moments since then and have lost their standing among elite clubs. But the current squad — led by the enigmatic Zlatan Ibrahimovic — seem ready to recapture those glorious moments of the past. The Rossoneri are currently on a 24-match unbeaten run and are top of the Serie A.
With Juventus struggling for consistency under new manager, Andrea Pirlo, could Milan end the Bianconeris’ dominance in Serie A? Yes they can.
On this present form, Milan also stand a good chance of winning the Europa league.
Carlo Ancelloti has done a great job since taking over as manager at Everton. The experienced Italian has the club fans dreaming once again. The players he brought in this summer have also improved the squad significantly, and for the first time in many years, Everton have a real chance of breaking into the top six or even… the top four. The club have made a flying start to the new campaign and are currently sitting in 3rd position on the Premier league table. Their absence in any European competition gives them a huge advantage over their rivals this season that comprises of an over congested fixture list.
Cadiz are back in La Liga after a 14-year absence. The club are famously nicknamed the Yellow Submarine due to their tendency to pull off surprises in La Liga by escaping relegation towards the end of seasons after languishing in the bottom of the table for the most part of the season. This time around it seems like they have a bigger surprise for us, they are not just battling relegation but look set to finish high up in the table or even secure a European competition slot next season. This newly promoted La Liga team could be the surprise package of the Spanish League this season. Don’t rule them out because Granada did the same thing in La Liga last season!
Cadiz currently occupy the 4th place on the La Liga table.
5. ASTON VILLA
Last season, Aston Villa miraculously escaped relegation from the Premier league on the final day of the season. Due to their poor performances last term, most people penciled them down for relegation this season, but Dean Smith’s men have a different plan. With the likes of Ross Barkley, Bertrand Traore, Emiliano Martinez and Ollie Watkins signed during the transfer window, Villa are a different team to what we saw last season and have proven it to us this season so far with some impressive performances — most notably the 7-2 demolition of Liverpool. Villa surprisingly look set to finish in the top ten this season and are currently in 7th position in the Premier League.
6 & 7. GRANADA/REAL SOCIEDAD
La Liga, due to its conservative nature, doesn’t provide followers with regular surprises like the Premier League. The title race and the European places are mostly won by the traditional suspects; Barcelona, Real Madrid, Athletico Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia, Athletico Bilbao and Villarreal.
But last season offered a major surprise as two teams (Granada and Real Sociedad) broke the regular trend. Both qualified for the Europa league (even, Sociedad almost qualified for the 2020/21 Champions League but their inexperience cost them towards the end of the season). This season, both teams seem ready to capitalise on their successes last term by matching it or even going one step better. Sociedad currently sit top of La Liga while Granada occupies the 5th place.
Granada also sits top of their Europa League group, and they (and also Sociedad) can go far in the competition. Spanish teams have a good record in the Europa league, think of Sevilla and Athletico Madrid.
Use the comment box below to let us know your own potential surprise packages this season. Thanks for your time.