The English Premier League season is just getting underway, and the league has a few teams that could surprise a lot of people. TWSN Soccer analyst Christian De Block lists three clubs that could take a jump in the league table over the 2022-23 season.
Newcastle United: 11th Last Season (49 Points)
The Magpies were a much better side once they appointed former Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe in November of 2021. At the time, the club was in a relegation battle looking for a way to escape trouble. The combination of Howe’s management mixed in with the new club owners investing money into the team propelled Newcastle a mid-table finish, something that may have felt impossible two or three months into the league season.
Newcastle had a fantastic window of business in January, maybe the biggest reason why they were able to finish that far up the table. Brazilian midfielder Bruno Guimarães came in from Lyon in France and immediately put his mark on the side, giving the team a dominant force in the middle of the park. The additions of left-sided centreback Dan Burn and left-back Matt Targett were impactful signings as well.
A first St. James' Park appearance for Sven Botman this afternoon! 🇳🇱 pic.twitter.com/l2M7Mc5PcG
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) July 30, 2022
The club has made two marquee signings this summer: centreback Svev Botman from French side Lille for a deal worth up to £31.8 million and goalkeeper Nick Pope from recently relegated Burnley for a fee in the region of £11 million. Botman is the more impressive signing of the two, mainly because of who Newcatle was able to beat to the young defender. Italian champions A.C. Milan were heavily interested in signing the Dutch centreback, but were never able to strike on a deal.
If Callum Wilson can remain fit and get amongst the goals this season, Newcastle have a great opportunity to finish in the top half of the table. Allan Saint-Maximin will be important in their quest for improvement as well. Eddie Howe will look to get the club to a place they have not been since the 2013-14 campaign.
Crystal Palace: 12th Last Season (48 Points)
The Eagles showed a lot of promise in their first season under manager Patrick Vieira. Crystal Palace invested in youth with their signings, and that decision certainty paid off. Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher was the great example of that, contributing eight goals and three assists in 33 league starts.
While Gallagher was excellent over the course of the 2021-22 campaign, the midfielder returned to his parent club after the end of the year. Palace will need someone to step up in his absence, and that player could be Michael Olise. The 20-year-old Frenchman contributed to seven league goals, but was only able to make 12 starts. If he can avoid having any major injuries this season, the attacker could be in for a big second season in the English top division.
24-year-old midfielder Eberechi Eze should come back into the side after fully recovering from a ruptured achilles. Forward Wilfried Zaha could be in his final season at the club, as he is in the final year of his deal. The 29-year-old has made 265 appearances for Palace since the 2014-15 season.
Palace may have a young squad, but the group has the talent to finish in the top half of the table. Viera will need to keep his group focused and motivated in order to accomplish their goals, both individually and collectively.
Aston Villa: 14th Last Season (45 Points)
The Claret and Blue had a really difficult 2021-22 season, beginning with the sacking of manager Dean Smith in November. Former Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard came into the club, but the side lacked consistency over his first few months in the job. Villa would pick up a good result, but follow that up with one or even two bad results.
Still, Villa had a few shining stars that gave fans hope the team would be able to pick up their performances. Creative midfielder Philippe Coutinho was excellent after his January move from FC Barcelona, showing signs of life after a few difficult seasons away from the Premier League. The Brazilian international agreed to a four-year contract with the club in May.
A lot of the additions Villa made prior to last season did not perform to the level they expected. Forwards Danny Ings and Leon Bailey along with attacking midfielder Emiliano Buendia struggled throughout the campaign. Bailey will need to stay away from the injuries in particular, as the Jamaican international only played 761 league minutes last year.
Aston Villa have the talent in their squad to finish much higher in the table, especially considering how much money they have spent over the last few transfer windows. Gerrard was able to convince centreback Diego Carlos to join from Sevilla. Central midfielder Boubacar Kamara joined the club on a free from Marseille in Ligue One. Villa will drastically improve if these signings hit the ground running and the returning players can get back to playing their best football.