Newcastle United were the surprise squad in the Premier League in the 2022/23 season: they produced a thrilling run into the top four standings, ultimately securing a place in the Champions League. The Magpies are now looking forward to Champions League nights against the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund.
Other Premier League hopefuls will be dreaming of matching Newcastle’s exploits within the current campaign, aspiring to make the top-four spots so that they too can book their place in Europe’s elite competition next season.
So far, it seems that Newcastle and Manchester United have struggled out of the gate, so there could easily be opportunities for another two teams to force their way into the reckoning. However, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur’s return to form could be an obstacle for teams looking to break up the status quo. Let’s see who could surprise the Premier League this term.
West Ham United
Two seasons ago, the Hammers were in the mix for a Champions League place until they fell by the wayside in the closing stages of the 2021/22 campaign. With 10 games to go, David Moyes’ men sat in fifth place, two points off the pace of Manchester United in fourth.
But, the Hammers would lose six out of their last 10 matches to spurn the opportunity and finish in seventh place overall. The loss of momentum carried over into the next season, where Moyes and his team battled relegation for the majority of the term.
A late surge, aided by the confidence built in their Europa Conference League campaign, pulled them clear. This concluded with the club’s acquisition of their first European trophy following a win over Fiorentina.
West Ham has seemingly brought this newfound momentum to the current campaign and now look like a side that’s built to last. For those who bet on football, it’s worth noting that West Ham’s odds of securing a top-four finish are looking up.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that the absence of an out-and-out goalscorer might be why they fall short along with the additional stress of their Europa League campaign. But, they have experience on the field and off it too with Moyes. They’ll be difficult to shift if they can maintain their strong start.
Brighton and Hove Albion
The Seagulls have become the model team for almost every side in the Premier League. They’re extremely efficient both on and off the field. Roberto de Zerbi has taken his team to the next level after he replaced Graham Potter, who left for Chelsea last season only to be sacked by the Blues.
Although Brighton has lost numerous players, they’ve replaced them with talent from across the park. Hungry players who continue to astound with their performances in each fixture. De Zerbi’s teams are exciting to watch, and even though the result may not always be in their favour, Brighton is always a threat.
They finished sixth last season and everything about the club is trending in the right direction. The Seagulls have quality where it matters the most in the final third and playmakers to trouble the best of defences. Their depth could be tested by their Europa League campaign, but there’s momentum there to break into the top four, and perhaps most importantly everyone at the club believes it is possible.
Only time will tell, but if Newcastle managed to defy expectations last season, it’s more than reasonable to hope that Brighton or West Ham could follow suit this time around.