10 Biggest Surprises of the 2012-13 Soccer Season So Far

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 24, 2012

10 Biggest Surprises of the 2012-13 Soccer Season So Far

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    With every new season comes its fair share of surprises, and the start to the 2012-13 season is no different.

    Those surprises include some high profile clubs as well as some clubs who have flown under the radar in the past.

    Some of those high profile clubs that have gotten off to surprise starts are either under new management or old management that is failing to get the best out of the players.

    As for the surprisingly good clubs, they are coming out of nowhere to impress everyone at the beginning of the year and are looking to continue their success throughout the entire season.

Real Madrid

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    Real Madrid have been in the news for almost all the wrong reasons so far this season.

    After a slow start to the year with two losses in their first four La Liga matches, Jose Mourinho and company may have already resurrected their season after their come-from-behind 3-2 win over Manchester City in the Champions League last week. In their game after the Champions League win, Madrid were able to win 2-0 over Rayo Vallecano.

    Madrid are now up to seventh place in the table and look to be on the right track after their slow start.

Liverpool

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    Many people were wondering how Liverpool would fare under new manager Brendan Rodgers and so far not much has changed from last season. Liverpool are yet to earn a win through five Premier League matches and sit in the relegation zone in 18th place at the moment.

    The Reds have also struggled in the Europa League, but they have at least been able to win in that competition, with a 5-3 win over Young Boys in their first group stage.

    Liverpool are also showing signs of progress. They were the better club in their most recent match with Manchester United, despite ending up on the losing end.

Eintracht Frankfurt

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    Eintracht Frankfurt have been the surprise club in Germany this season as they are perfect through four matches. Frankfurt won promotion from the Bundesliga last season and only Bayern Munich have had a better start in the Bundesliga this year.

    The strength of the club will be tested on Wednesday as they face their first big test of the season at home against Borussia Dortmund in league play.

Bayern Munich

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    Bayern Munich's perfect start in the Bundesliga is not exactly surprising. It's the way in which they've won those games that was unexpected.

    In four matches, the Bavarian club have only given up three goals while scoring 14 of their own in league play. The biggest win of the season came in the second week of the Bundesliga season as Bayern beat Stuttgart by a 6-1 scoreline at home.

    Bayern also looked strong in their first Champions League match against Valencia as they dominated the Spanish club in a 2-0 win.

AC Milan

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    Just like Liverpool, AC Milan are a club that are struggling mightily and their fans are not used to it. AC Milan have just one win in four matches and, in their three losses, the club have only managed one goal.

    The latest addition to Milan's misery was Sunday's 2-1 loss to Udinese, a match where the Rossoneri finished with only nine men after Cristian Zapata and Kevin-Prince Boateng were both sent off.

Vitesse Arnhem

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    All people probably know about Vitesse Arnhem is their sale of Alexander Buttner to Manchester United this summer, but so far they haven't missed Buttner and they sit in second place in the Eredivisie.

    However, the club's 14 points in six matches may be a bit misleading as they have yet to play against first-place Twente, defending champions Ajax or PSV—the three contenders for the title this season.

Brighton and Hove Albion

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    Brighton and Hove Albion have taken the English Championship by storm in only their second season in the second flight of English football.

    Manager Gus Poyet has guided the Seagulls to the top of the standings with 16 points from seven matches. Poyet and company were one of the preseason favorites to win promotion to the Premier League and they are on pace to do so right now.

    After a loss to Hull City and a draw with Cardiff to start the season, Brighton have won their last five matches.

    The Seagulls will not be able to get a chance to play EPL competition until the FA Cup in January as they were knocked out of the Capital One Cup in the first round by Swindon Town.

Everton

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    While their fellow Merseyside club are struggling, Everton are off to a fast start. The Toffees started the season off with a statement win at home over Manchester United and they have not stopped since.

    Everton are traditionally a club that do not perform well in the first half of the season but they sit in third place with 10 points.

    They have a fairly easy schedule over the next few weeks before they face their crosstown rivals, Liverpool, in the final week of October.

Anzhi Makhachkala

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    After making plenty of big money moves under new owner Suleyman Kerimov, Anzhi are finally starting to put a title winning product out on the pitch.

    After nine matches in the Russian Premier League, Anzhi have moved up to second place in the table with 20 points.

    One of the keys to the club's recent success is the appointment of Guus Hiddink as manager. Hiddink has had plenty of success throughout his travels across Europe as manager of both club and international squads. English fans will remember Hiddink's most recent club success at Chelsea as he guided the Blues to the 2009 FA Cup title in his brief stint as the club's manager.

Marseille

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    After finishing in 10th place last season in Ligue 1, Marseille has catapulted to first place in the table. Not only do the French club sit on top of the French top flight, they are undefeated as well.

    Elie Baup was brought into the club as manager after Didier Deschamps left the club to manage the French national team.

    The only matches that the club have not won have been in the Europa League as they have drawn three matches in the qualifying and group stages in the competition.