5 teams exceeding expectations so far in Europe this season - 2017/18

Watford v Liverpool - Premier League
It is a joy to watch football teams excelling against the odds
Modified 28 Oct 2017
Top 5 / Top 10

Football has a tendency to produce underdog stories that lead to some of the most significant upsets in some of the most demanding leagues.

Giant clubs boasting wealth usually fight for the title among themselves, leaving mid-table and relegation teams out of the picture.

Newly promoted and average teams sometimes perform beyond their club's expectations - placing smiles across the faces of the ultras.

Here are the clubs in Europe's top five leagues that are playing beyond their potential.

#5 FC Nantes (Ligue 1)

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Ranieri's FC Nantes hoping to replicate the success of Leicester City

With Claudio Ranieri at the helm, the Canaries will be looking to emulate the fairytale story of Leicester City. Sitting in third place on the table with 20 points, Nantes have taken Ligue 1 by storm with their efficient and effective style of play.

Last season's opening ten rounds saw Les Jaunes et verts (The Green and Yellows) in a predicament, losing half of their fixtures.

Ranieri's arrival has immensely improved the team's defence - an indicator of why The Yellow House are one of the best defensive sides in France so far. With Nantes fielding a formidable defence line, their attack has only managed to score nine goals.

Ranieri's men may not be playing the most attractive brand of football, but the 4-4-2 formation - parallel to the style used at Leicester two seasons ago - seems to be paying dividends thus far.

However, things look optimistic at the moment for the eight-time Ligue 1 champions. Ranieri plying his trade at Nantes has reinvented the players, although the key for future success will be to keep on scraping wins and applying pressure to reigning champions AS Monaco and current league leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

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Published 28 Oct 2017
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