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5 teams that can mount a surprise title challenge this season

Shambhu Ajith
FEATURED WRITER
Modified 12 Sep 2020
Top 5 / Top 10
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#3 Olympique Lyon (Ligue 1)

Manchester City v Lyon - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final
Manchester City v Lyon - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final

The start of Lyon's 2020-21 season was delayed due to their run to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League. They had a forgettable domestic league campaign last time around, finishing seventh on the Ligue 1 table- a major letdown after finishing third in the 2018/19 season.

However, Lyon did pretty well elsewhere. They knocked out European giants Juventus and Manchester City in their exciting run to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League. They also reached the finals of the Coupe de la Ligue, losing on penalties to Paris Saint-Germain.

If they can replicate their form from other competitions, Lyon could pose a serious threat to Paris Saint-Germain next season. Lyon have an array of talented players and the likes of Memphis Depay, Moussa Dembele, Houssem Aouar, Jason Denayer etc. have been exciting to follow.

They had the third best goalscoring record in the Ligue 1 last season. What could oddly work in Lyon's favour this time around is their absence in Europe. With more time to focus on the league and way less fatigue to negotiate, Lyon could really go on to upset the odds this time around.

#2 Sevilla (La Liga)

Seville v FC Internazionale - UEFA Europa League Final
Seville v FC Internazionale - UEFA Europa League Final

Sevilla have been one of the most consistent teams across Europe with respect to their performance in the league and trophy haul. Sevilla booked a spot in the UEFA Champions League for the 2020-21 season after finishing 4th in the 2019-20 La Liga season in addition to winning the UEFA Europa League.

Under Julen Lopetegui, Sevilla have improved greatly and earned 11 more points in the 2019-20 season than they did in 2018-19. There has been a marked improvement in defence that has come in sync with an improvement in results all around.

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Monchi's return as the Director of Football has also gone a long way towards Sevilla's current form. They conducted some great business last transfer window, signing Lucas Ocampos from Marseille for just €15 million. They also signed the likes of Jules Kounde and Diego Carlos for a combined sum of €40 million.

Kounde and Carlos have helped Sevilla become rock-solid at the back while Lucas Ocampos has been their standout performer on the other side of the pitch, scoring 14 goals and providing 3 assists from 31 starts in the league.

Jesus Navas, Sergio Reguilon and Fernando were all outstanding. Though Reguilon might not return, Sevilla now have a well-balanced squad that can give any team a run for their money. To make things even better, Sevilla have now added the likes of Suso, Oscar Rodriguez and Ivan Rakitic to their side.

Maybe it is finally time for a new entrant into the elite realm of Spanish football presently occupied by Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

#1 Chelsea (Premier League)

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Chelsea FC v Norwich City - Premier League
Chelsea FC v Norwich City - Premier League

Frank Lampard had quite an impressive debut season at Chelsea after taking over from Maurizio Sarri in the summer of 2019. After inheriting a young side reeling from the departure of Eden Hazard, Lampard guided them to a 4th place finish in the Premier League.

If there were any doubts about whether the club legend would be backed in the transfer window as the teams wound up their 2019-20 campaigns, there is none remaining any more. Chelsea have broke the bank and then some, in order to bolster their squad.

Chelsea have signed Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech, Malang Sarr and Thiago Silva. They have recruited quite wisely and now look powerful in all areas on the pitch.

Given how most of their rivals have struggled under the financial strain caused by the Covid pandemic, Chelsea seem to have aced their transfer business. Of course these players will take a while to settle down but now that they have such incredible squad depth, anything short of a title-challenge could be deemed underwhelming.

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Published 12 Sep 2020, 15:32 IST
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