As the countdown to the start of the new domestic season continues, fans and punters are eagerly examining the Premier League odds in the hope of finding some good value. While the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United will be considered favourites in the Premier League winner odds, it’ll be interesting to see which of the not-so-fancied sides can cause a stir and perform above expectations.
There is always a team or two that punch above their weight in the Premier League each year. Last season, it was Leeds United who caught everyone’s attention, eventually securing a ninth-place finish in the table. It’ll be the aim of every lesser fancied club to break into the top half, so let’s take a look at a few teams who might do just that.
Brighton & Hove Albion
While the departure of centre-back Ben White means that Brighton & Hove Albion have lost one of their defensive pillars, the £50 million they received from Arsenal offers plenty in the way of consolation. With that money, there is a chance for Graham Potter to inject some much-needed quality to the squad, as Brighton seek to finally pull clear of the bottom quarter of the Premier League table.
They have already spent big in bringing RB Salzburg midfielder Enock Mwepu to the south coast, and goalkeeper Kjell Scherpen has also joined from Ajax as Potter seeks to mend a problem position. There are rumours linking Brighton with Liverpool defender Nathaniel Phillips as a replacement for White, and it has always felt like the team are a few shrewd acquisitions away from emerging from the mire of the bottom half. This could be the season they finally do that.
There has been a lot of anxiety surrounding Patrick Vieira’s appointment as Crystal Palace manager, with many pointing to his so-so record in previous jobs as a cause for concern. But with the departure of old-timer Roy Hodgson, this is the start of a new era at Crystal Palace, and if Vieira is given the time to impose his style on the team, the experiment could bear fruit.
Vieira has already made a few intriguing recruits, with defenders Marc Guehi and Joachim Andersen arriving to inject some younger energy into the backline. Talented teenager Michael Olise has also been brought in from Reading, along with 21-year-old Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallager on loan, who impressed at West Bromwich Albion last season. There is a clear focus on youth, and if Palace can click this season, they could cause a few surprises.
Having finally made it into the Premier League at the second time of asking last season, Brentford are out to impress. Thomas Frank’s side are poised to do well in the top flight, with the upcoming season providing the ultimate litmus test for the club’s shrewd recruitment strategy. Much of the squad which flourished in the Championship will remain the same, although Brentford have splashed the cash on Celtic centre-back Kristoffer Ajer, who will complement Pontus Jansson and Ethan Pinnock — the Bees’ reliable duo from last season.
Much of their potential success will hinge on the form of Ivan Toney. The striker took to the Championship like a duck to water last season, and if he can replicate his fine scoring form in the Premier League, Brentford could make a real impression on the division.