The first round of Premier League fixtures are in the book, which means that it seems like a great opportunity to look at the teams that potentially shock fans this season. While there will be some that could go under the radar, there will also be some teams that fall flat on their face and flatter to deceive. These are some of the teams we have picked out that could be a surprise package and some that will underwhelm in 2020-21.
Potential Surprise Packages
Brighton & Hove Albion
Brighton looked like a very well organised side during their opener against Chelsea on Monday night, and they have brought very well again over the summer months. Right-back Tariq Lamptey caught the attention in that game as he was racing up and down the right-hand side like a steam train. As well as the talented 19-year-old, Brighton will also be a stronger side this season following the return of Ben White, and the solid base that the club built during last season.
Graham Potter was brave to change the complete style of the club last season, but it would appear that they have ridden that storm and this season could be the one when they have extra freedom in their play. Potter is already the manager that I believe will replace Gareth Southgate at some point, and he will further those credentials this season with a charge for a place in the top ten.
While it’s hard to call a side that has brought in three established midfielders a surprise package, there is always a feel surrounding Everton that things always appear too good to be true. However, with Carlo Ancelotti at the helm, there is no doubt that Everton will be a completely different proposition this term. James Rodriguez brings the quality that the Toffees have been missing in recent years, while Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure offer a backbone that Everton haven’t had in their midfield since the days of David Moyes.
They will be a difficult team to bring down this season, and with the attacking flair they have at the other end of the pitch, they could be pushing for a place in the top six. The difference that Ancelotti has made regarding the mentality of the players could easily be seen in their 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur, which was more comfortable than the scoreline suggested.
Potentially Disappointing Sides
It wasn’t the best of starts for Tottenham Hotspur as they were lacklustre against Everton on the opening day. It feels as though the wheels are already coming off with Spurs, as Jose Mourinho has already laid into his players claiming that they were ‘lazy’ on the opening day. The summer business has been decent, with the standout signing being Matt Doherty, but after just one game, the same problems that Mourinho was disheartened about in the All Or Nothing documentary remains.
The mentality of the squad is still weak, and defensively they give up goals far too easily. It will be interesting to see whether Mourinho will still be there at the end of the season, but a top-four challenge looks way out of the question, and they may instead be struggling for a top-six finish.
West Ham United
West Ham United are keen to take the tag of the unhappiest team in the Premier League from Newcastle United, as fans have already set the tone for what is likely to be an extremely long season at the London Stadium. The Hammers were abject against the Magpies and showed very little in the way of an attacking threat.
There seems to be a divide that looks irreparable between the fans and owners, with the departure of Grady Diangana just fuelling that fire. David Moyes will likely be the one to pay for that, as the Hammers fans have never truly taken to the former United boss, and his departure could be the beginning of the end for the Hammers this season.
How About The Promoted Teams
Leeds United, Fulham and West Bromwich Albion all have one thing in common- they can not defend. In the Premier League that is a recipe for disaster, and for that reason, I predicted at the beginning of the season that all three of them would go down. However, a point can obviously be made for Leeds as an attacking threat, but the £30 million signing of Rodrigo is unlikely to get the goals that they need to stay up judging from his tally of six in over 30 league games in La Liga last term. However, Marcelo Bielsa ensures that they have a chance, and the carnage at the London Stadium could be their route to safety.
As for Fulham and West Brom, it’s hard to see either staying up. They were both hammered on the opening day, but rightly they would claim by two teams that will be finishing in the top six. However, neither Arsenal nor Leicester City needed to get out of second gear to show their class, and Fulham and the Baggies both rolled over. Both have weaknesses in the middle of the park and will struggle to hit the back of the net. Defensive inexperience at this level will also go against them, which could mean that their stay in the top flight is short-lived.
Article contributed by Contributor Alex. Comments are appreciated on our Facebook page.