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European Football’s Early Surprise Packages

European Football's Early Surprise Packages

24 October 2019, by: Leonard Solms

European Football’s Early Surprise Packagess

As November approaches and the tables for Europe’s big leagues begin to take shape, one or two of the early surprise packages remain at or near the top.

Some may fall off as the season progresses, while others could pull off shock title challenges. Either way, in an attempt to help you build your bankroll, we bring you the teams we think are worth keeping an eye on after their positive starts to the season.

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Deadly duo Marcus Thuram and Alassane Pléa have been instrumental in Gladbach’s rise to the top of the Bundesliga table.

New head coach Marco Rose favours an attacking style of play, with aggression off the ball and no time wasted on it.

The imposing Thuram, son of former France international Lilian Thuram, has formed a telepathic understanding with the skilful Pléa. The latter’s clever passes and runs ensure that opposing defenders never have a moment to rest.

It is worth noting that Pléa picked up a muscular injury in the recent 1-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund, but that does not make Gladbach any less dangerous to Germany’s big guns in the title race at large.

Hot on Gladbach’s tail are VfL Wolfsburg, the only unbeaten team in the 2019-20 Bundesliga to date. The intelligent Wout Weghorst has been central to Wolfsburg’s strong start with five Bundesliga goals this season.

A true poacher who loves scoring from close range, Weghorst’s tackling ability and clever movement make him difficult to defend against.

Wolfsburg have been rock solid at the back this season with just five league goals conceded, the least in the Bundesliga. They trail Gladbach on goal difference.

Newly-promoted Granada have stunned the traditional top brass with their superb form early on in the 2019-20 campaign. They sit third in La Liga presently, behind only Barcelona and Real Madrid.

A 2-0 win over Barca helped put them on the map, with Nigeria’s Ramon Azeez scoring the opener. He has been one of many impressive players in a team which has spread its 16 league goals to date this season across 10 different scorers.

One cannot help feel a sense of déjà vu watching Leicester City this season. However, the difference between the current crop and the class of 2015-16 is that Leicester’s team under Brendan Rodgers has the feel of one which could have a long shelf life.

Claude Puel was unfortunate to be shown the door despite having stabilised the club, but Rodgers has undoubtedly taken the Foxes to the next level.

This despite the recent departure of Harry Maguire. Leicester made up for that by giving game time to Çaglar Söyüncü, a 23-year-old ball-playing centre-back who looks destined for the very top of the game in years to come.

Jamie Vardy remains as clinical as ever, while Ricardo Pereira, Wilfred Ndidi, and James Maddison have also been instrumental this season.

Brendan Rodgers led Liverpool back into the top four after some time out of the UEFA Champions League. In what should be an unpredictable scramble for third and fourth place this season, don’t rule out the Foxes just yet.

A team built on a solid backline, Nantes have come into their own this season after a difficult 2018-19.

Midway through last season, they had agreed to sell star frontman Emiliano Sala to Cardiff City. Tragically, he passed away en route due to a plane crash.

Furthermore, head coach Miguel Cardoso was sacked early last season, and then replacement Vahid Halilhodzic left shortly before the start of the current campaign.

However, under Christian Gourcuff, Nantes appears to have finally found a winning formula and sit second in the league, behind only Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).

The third-place team in Ligue 1, Reims, have an even more impressive defensive record than Nantes. In 10 league games, they have conceded just four goals.

Furthermore, Reims beat PSG 2-0 with former Orlando Pirates midfielder-cum-defender Marshall Munetsi playing a starring role.

Having finished eighth in 2018-19 after securing promotion during the previous campaign, Reims are a team to watch as they continue to build year-on-year.

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