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When the fixtures are released, we all usually look for the same things.

Who you get on the first and last day of the season, the derbies, and the ‘winnable’ games.

The rise of the mid-table club Leicester City, Crystal Palace and West Ham

The rise of the mid-table club Leicester City, Crystal Palace and West Ham

When the fixtures for this campaign were revealed, no doubt Arsenal fans thanked their lucky stars. Their opening game was winnable – starting the season off with West Ham at home, and therefore three points. How wrong they were. Are we now seeing a rise of the supposed ‘mid-table’ teams?

As it stood, going into the international break, Crystal Palace, Leicester City and West Ham occupied the 4th, 5th, and 6th league spot respectively. In contrast, Liverpool are in the 10th position and current Champions Chelsea trail behind in a dismal 16th.

Alan Pardew’s separation with his former club Newcastle may have been messy but he is breathing new life into Crystal Palace. So far, Pardew’s side has only lost to Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur; two of which are in higher league positions. Palace picked up where they left off, with a 3-1 win away to Norwich on the opening day of the season and are a side to keep an eye on. They strengthened their squad in the summer with additions of Patrick Bamford, who lit up the Championship last season, on a loan spell from Chelsea, and Yohan Cabaye from Paris Saint-Germain.

Leicester City did the unthinkable by keeping themselves firmly in the Premier League last season, yet people are still underestimating the Midlands side. The Foxes were the only unbeaten side in the Premier League until they met Arsenal. Their number 9, Jamie Vardy is the Premier League top scorer, ahead of the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero. Riyad Mahrez can only be described as a Fantasy Football dream, racking up 5 goals and 3 assists already this season. Pearson may be gone, but the ground work he put in last season is plain to see. Leicester City’s rejuvenated side are on a roll right now, with no signs of slowing down.

West Ham turfed out ‘Big’ Sam Allardyce at the end of the 2014/15 season, and brought in former player Slaven Bilic. On deadline day, West Ham were one of the very few clubs who were still operating, and they made some big signings including Victor Moses and Nikica Jelavic.

The Hammers also brought in Dimitri Payet, who took no time at all settling into his new league. Their home form may be hit and miss, but West Ham fans have enjoyed some huge away days already. West Ham have gotten results at the Emirates, Anfield and the Etihad – and it’s only October. Bilic’s men have hit the ground running this season.

At the bottom of the table though, there are absolutely no surprises. The relegation spots are filled by Aston Villa, Newcastle and Sunderland. Tim Sherwood, Steve McClaren and now Sam Allardyce certainly have their work cut out for them at their respective teams. Sunderland teeter in and out of the relegation zone every year, but can they stay up this season?

With Premier League new boys such as Watford and Bournemouth doing okay in the league, it will be that bit harder for the Black Cats. Newcastle aren’t much better, with their most notable result of this season thus far being a 2-2 draw with a struggling Chelsea. It’s early days, but if these three did get relegated, it’s safe to say few would be surprised.

Originally published at vivafootballcalcio.com

Post written by Laura Hamill
for VivaFootballCalcio, Blog: vivafootballcalcio.com, Twitter: @VivaFootCalcio

Note: The views expressed within this blog post are those of the contributing author, and may not necessarily reflect those of MatchDayApp Limited, its representatives or associated partners.

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