English Premier League: 5 Sleeper Teams to Watch in the EPL This Year

Dan Talintyre@@dantalintyreSenior Analyst IISeptember 27, 2012

English Premier League: 5 Sleeper Teams to Watch in the EPL This Year

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    Like every year, the English Premier League is most likely going to be won this season by one of the league giants—that of Chelsea, Arsenal or either of the Manchester clubs.

    Few teams in world football can compete with the teams mentioned, and few individuals would dispute the fact that the "Big Four" of the EPL have the best chance to clinch the title.

    But as far as sleeper teams go, there is little doubt that several clubs have the potential to upset many teams this season and have very solid seasons—perhaps even earning themselves a European qualification position at the end of the year.

    Who are the sleeper teams to watch out for in the EPL this year? Read on to find out.

5. Swansea City

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    Current position: 11th

    After starting the season with crushing wins over Queens Park Rangers (5-0 away) and West Ham (3-0 at home), Swansea City have struggled to pick up any points, or even any goals, through their last few Premier League matches.

    Aston Villa stunned them on the road before they were beaten by a far more dominant Everton side at Liberty Stadium, putting an end to their earlier good form and success.

    But that doesn't mean we can count out Swansea just yet; their midfield is still strong and dynamic and when full of confidence, they are an incredibly tough side to break down.

    How they perform over the next two months will be the key in seeing whether or not they can be considered a sleeper side in the EPL this year.

4. Newcastle United

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    Current position: 10th

    After being the biggest surprise of the Premier League season last year, Newcastle United are back in business once again this year and are shaping up as the dark horse to watch out for this year once more.

    Any attack that features the likes of Demba Ba, Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye, Cheik Tiote and Papiss Cisse must be considered a genuine threat in the league this season, even if the latter of those players is yet to find himself a goal this year.

    Alan Pardew's men have the advantage of a tough home ground, with the journey befalling many of the Premier League's best throughout the years. They've already toppled Tottenham and Norwich City at home this season and look primed for another big year in the EPL.

3. Sunderland

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    Current position: 12th

    It's perhaps a little audacious to include a side that is yet to win a game through their four Premier League matches so far, but Sunderland are, for me, a definite danger side to watch out for this season—particularly if they play at home.

    Ever since Martin O'Neill took over the Black Cats during the year last season, they have been a better side on the road and a far stronger side at home—pushing all of the Premier League giants last season and earning results against all of the top teams.

    The addition of Steven Fletcher is big for Sunderland, with the former Wolves striker already netting four goals this year—100 percent of the Black Cats' goals so far. Considering that their two best attackers from last season, Stephane Sessegnon and Sebastian Larsson, are yet to find goals, Sunderland no doubt still have plenty of room for improvement.

    If the Stadium of Light can turn into the fortress it is promising to become, there's no reason why Sunderland can't go a long way in the Premier League this season.

2. West Bromwich Albion

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    Current position: 4th

    West Brom, for me, have one of the most underrated defenses in the league and could well shock many of the Premier League's best as a result this season.

    Ben Foster is a top-three goalkeeper, given the work that he gets through with good results, and has only conceded four goals through five matches this year—three of which came against a Fulham side that simply found it's groove at Craven Cottage one week.

    The Baggies have beaten Liverpool and Everton at the Hawthorns—no easy thing to do—and picked up a valuable point on their trip to White Hart Lane earlier in the year.

    And considering that they have Southampton, Aston Villa and Queens Park Rangers all to play over the next few weeks in the Premier League, there's no reason why West Brom can't continue their good start to the year and stake their claim as a top side this season.

1. Everton

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    Current position: 3rd

    Yet as good as West Brom might have been so far this season, the sleeper team to watch out for this season is definitely Everton—who have shown this year that they can mix it up  with the best in the league and have the depth and talent to go a long way this season.

    Their opening-round victory over Manchester United was testament to that, whilst the Toffees were largely unlucky not to pick up all three points in their 2-2 draw at home with Newcastle United.

    I'm still not completely convinced about this team yet; they have yet to play a tough match away from home and have already dropped points to West Brom away from Goodison Park. If they can't compete on the road, then they will struggle to stay with the best this season—it's as simple as that.

    Having said that, Everton ooze class and talent at the moment and have a dynamic attack to provide goals, assists and plenty of excitement. There's a good feeling going through the Merseyside side—perhaps for more reasons than one—and they are definitely the sleeper team to watch this season.

    Who's your sleeper team to watch out for this season in the EPL?

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