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5 clubs that have surprised everyone in Europe this season

ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
638   //    29 Dec 2017, 21:46 IST

The first half of the 2017/18 campaign has seen a number of clubs across Europe defy pre-season expectations and enjoy surprisingly strong starts. Improvement is usually a gradual process but for some coaches, positive shifts in performances and results can be obtained more rapidly.

Others draw every last ounce from meagre budgets to shock their country’s big boys. Here are 5 European clubs that have surprised everyone so far this season.


#1 Burnley (Premier League)

Burnley v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League
Sean Dyche has worked wonders with Burnley.

Sean Dyche did an excellent job to keep Burnley in the Premier League last season, taking a team whose wage bill was among the very lowest in the division to a 16th place finish. But what he has achieved this time around is even more impressive.

With no appreciable increase in budget, Dyche’s Burnley currently sit 7th in the Premier League table - just four points shy of Arsenal in sixth and a full 16 points clear of the relegation zone. A strong defensive record and enough goals to secure points currently sees them on course for their best top-flight finish since the mid-70s.

They have also managed to cause some problems for the country’s biggest clubs, winning away at Chelsea on the opening day of the season and then securing draws away at Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, and Manchester United.

Dyche may not be the most fashionable choice and his methods may require fidelity he is unlikely to find in more well-established players, but his work at Burnley deserves to earn him the chance to try his luck at a bigger club.

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Edward Yap is a London-based sports writer.
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