With the conditions anything but normal in the world as well as in football, few teams have gained an unparalleled advantage to flourish. The so-called big teams or giants are falling off the pace due to multiple reasons prompted by the pandemic situation. Players continue to test positive, injuries deeming the team's power and congested schedules proving too hot to handle.
As a case, this season has opened up the gates for surprises. Low to mid-table sides are pouncing for European places with few turning out to be in title contention. Hence, the 2020/21 Premier League campaign is now widely being considered to be the most open season ever. We put forward five such teams that you should seriously keep a track of.
5. Leicester City:
Brendan Rodgers's Leicester is looking promising yet again. They are one of the few sides out of the top six to play on a consistent level. Although there have been a few slips from the foxes, their flashy attacking play spearheaded by the evergreen Jamie Vardy is once again giving them hope of being in the top four. They brilliantly dealt with injuries to key players. At the time of writing, they sit third on the table with 32 points to their name. They are trailing Manchester United and table-toppers Liverpool just by a single point. Last season, Leicester were excellent but their lukewarm form t the end of the campaign cost them Champions League football. The Foxes will be wishing to fulfill the objective this time out with a more decisive attitude in the second part of the 2020/21 season.
4. Leeds United:
Much anticipation built around Leeds United's return to top-flight after 16 long years. After multiple failures in getting themselves promoted, the Peacocks are finally in the place they belonged. However, the interesting factor behind their success is Marcelo Bielsa. The tactical genius whose praise is on everyone's lips including modern-day managerial greats. Bielsa's scintillating attacking football has not only conquered the championship but has now lit the Premier League as well. Their attacking brand of football has helped them score lots of goals and cause trouble to each side they play against. They have indeed conceded too in big numbers but that can't resist the entertaining display they put forward. Their determination and fight show they are here to add more than just numbers to the league.
Ralph Hasenhuttl's resurgent Southampton has been a treat to watch this campaign. Their pragmatic pressing football guided by a rigid back four and exciting frontline has helped them prevail in the league yet again. The Austrian has transformed them since their 9-0 demolition in the hands of Leicester in 2019. Despite injury delays, Danny Ings has continued his ferociousness in front of goal with Che Adams a prominent strike partner. Also, James Ward-Prowse's screamers from freekicks have been compared to those by legendary David Beckham. Alex McCarthy has been superb under the stick. Southampton are a more possession-based side this time, clogging up any possible penetration done by the opposition. Excelling in every sector on the pitch, the Saints are a tricky side to face for top oppositions this season.
When Carlo Ancelloti was appointed at the Goodison Park, it was clear the Italian will be a part of an ambitious project at the club. Rescuing the Toffees from a downward season, Ancelloti has made Everton a top-four contender. The key has been their summer transfer dealings. The high voltage signing of James Rodriguez from Real Madrid, Allan from Napoli and Abdoulaye Doucoure from Watford has proved to be a major shakeup of their squad. Added to that, Ancelloti has transformed Dominick Calvert Lewin into a goal-scoring beast. Everton's defense has also been hard to breach. Their start the campaign was excellent but then injuries to key players resulted in a drift from the title chase. However, they are a dangerous side to compete against as proved by their recent shows and with such a manager in the hot seat, a lot of positive is yet to flow this season.
1. Aston Villa:
It's hard to tell that Dean Smith's Aston Villa escaped relegation just by a solitary point last season. In this campaign, they are a different animal. The 7-2 thrashing of Liverpool early on showed their lethal character. While their early dominance cooled off, their mentality remained the same. Captain Jack Grealish is carrying the team with a 12 goal contribution, the best return of his career, so far. Emiliano Martinez's transfer from Arsenal has resolved their goalkeeping issues for the Argentinian keeping the most clean sheets in the league. Ross Barkley and Bertrand Traore's acquisition added more strength to the squad. John McGinn's terrific performances after regaining fitness have also been a factor of Villa's indomitable nature. Altogether, It won't be a surprise if the Villans secure European football ahead of some known names.