The Premier League is anything but predictable, here are the five biggest surprises of the season so far...
High flying West Brom
Ask West Brom fans if they are surprised at their excellent start, and there will be quite a few split opinions. Prior to the season's kick-off their was a vocal confidence among fans, happy with the new signings of Steve Clarke and hopeful he would swim rather than sink as a number one manager. To the rest of the league, the Baggies have been a real surprise. Even the bookies have upped Clarke's odds on losing his job from 6/1 to 25/1, but with them riding high in sixth, above Arsenal and Newcastle, in the table the truth is it should be a lot higher. The Hawthorns is suddenly a place opposing teams do not relish traveling to, and their big test will come on October 20 when champions Manchester City come to visit.
Manchester City's leaky defence
Manchester City's defence was the cornerstone of their success last season, and going back further the campaign before that which saw them finish third. As we reach October, City are still to keep a clean sheet, failing to keep one in all competitions so far. Roberto Mancini has been continually chopping and changing his centre-backs and full-backs in an attempt to find a solution, but you feel this is adding to the problem rather than solving it. Others have pointed to Nigel de Jong's sale, but Javi Garcia and Jack Rodwell should be able to help plug any gap. If they continue shipping goals at the rate they are, Roberto Mancini could be tearing his hair out to such an extent he resembles his number two David Platt by the end of the season.
West Ham's impressive form
Hands up, who would have predicted that when West Ham face Arsenal this coming weekend they will enter the game above them? Riding high in seventh, Sam Allardyce is showing his managerial skills at the top level, and highlighting just what folly it was by Blackburn's owners the Venkys to sack him and replace him with Steve Kean. The Hammers have been impressive, and clinical, effectively dispatching the talented west London sides of Fulham and QPR, and their defeat at Swansea remains their only one so far in the Premier League. This is all with Carroll barely featuring, so signs are promising for supporters, who may now start want to adjust their aims towards a top half finish.
AVB ends hoodoo
Tottenham's win at Old Trafford was a landmark victory for the club, and one which made the rest of the Premier League sit up and take notice. AVB had a tough start, made difficult by the club's questionable transfer method of leaving it all until the last minute, but signs are that the team is clicking into gear. Even so few gave them a hope of winning away to Manchester United, but they did it on Saturday, emerging 3-2 winners. The win was even more timely given ridiculous 'Tottenham turmoil' headlines which appeared on the morning of the game, but the magnitude of the win should not be forgotten. It was the first time an opposition Spurs manager had won at the stadium for 23 years, and nobody had given AVB a shot of turning that around. Harry who?
QPR's dismal start
When QPR lined up against Swansea on the opening day, a 5-0 loss for the home side was a result nobody saw coming. It has served to set the tone for a disappointing start to the season, which sees them bottom of the table and six games without a win. How has this happened? It is hard to pinpoint, other than that they have had so many incomings over the past 12 months, and the summer especially, that the players do not yet resemble a team. 20th place was not what former Inter Milan stopper Julio Cesar had in mind when he joined, prior to the season many were tipping a resurgent QPR for a top half finish. That optimistic time suddenly seems a lifetime away right now, and will continue to do until they get their first win on the board.
What has been the biggest surprise for you this season?
image: © Ben Sutherland
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