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Possible Premier League European dark horses this season

24th Oct, 2020 | By Tom Dunstan, soccernews.com | ||

While a string of English Premier League stars might have their attention on international matters right now, penultimate weekend's stunning results really took Europe by storm. Watching Aston Villa pick up a 7-2 win against defending champions Liverpool, Tottenham hit Manchester United for six and West Ham picking up a 3-0 win away at Leicester, many feel this season could be the most unpredictable in history. With upsets coming left, right and center as we entered October, the race to secure a European finish could host a few dark horses this time around. So, while we might have only just opened the 2020/2021 campaign after a prolonged summer, who are the three teams who could mount a European charge this season?

Everton:
With many around Goodison more than open about their disappointment last season, few across the Premier League would have expected what has been nothing short of a stunning start to the New Year for Everton. Entering the international break with a thumping 4-2 win against Brighton on home soil, Carlo Ancelotti's men have skyrocketed to the top of the table and are now the only side who can boast a 100% start to the season among teams who have made four appearances. In fact, Everton have won each of their opening four games to a top-flight season for the first time since 1969/1970, when they went on to win the title. Suddenly considering themselves in pole position to secure a long-awaited European return this season, there is no doubt that the likes of Premier Player of the Month Dominic Calvert-Lewin and summer arrival James Rodriguez are spearheading a new-look Everton. With a mouthwatering showdown against bitter rivals and defending champions Liverpool when they return from the international break, you might be interested to know that the Toffees are priced high to bring Champions League football back to Goodison.

Aston Villa:
While penultimate Sunday's fixtures might have thrown up a string of drama and even more upsets, there is no doubt that Aston Villa stole most of the headlines after what will be remembered as a famous night in the Midlands. Putting on what was a real clinic against Jurgen Klopp's superstars that weekend, last year's relegation scrappers eventually landed a 7-2 romp on home soil and couldn't have laid down a more clinical marker. While Dean Smith's side might have only just about managed to hang onto their Premier League status by a one-point buffer over the summer, Villa have opened the new campaign with three wins on the bounce and their exploits in the transfer window have gained plenty of plaudits. Watching both Ross Barkley and that Sunday's hat-trick hero Ollie Watkins both open their top-flight account against the defending champions, skipper Jack Grealish committed his long-term future to the club and is in the form of his life. Although a top-four return might be a step too far, you might be interested to know that Aston Villa are priced to secure a Europa League return.

Leeds:
More than holding their own against Manchester City penultimate weekend and fully deserving of their point at Elland Road, many a neutral across the country were excited by Leeds' Premier League return, and they certainly haven't let them down. Marking their top-flight return with that highly-dramatic 4-3 defeat away at Liverpool on the opening weekend, Marcelo Bielsa's men have since collected seven points over their last three appearances since their rollercoaster Anfield performance last month. With the mood around West Yorkshire at a red-hot high and already proving that they can firmly mix it with the Premier League's big boys, the former Napoli boss has invested well and it is no secret a shock European finish is at the top of many a Leeds' fans agenda. Watching last year's top scorer Patrick Bamford prove some of the critics wrong and really hitting the ground running, the Whites have not recorded a top-six finish since 2002, the season before they so famously lost their top-flight status. You might be interested to know that Leeds are priced to secure a top-six finish this season.

News Update

Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT, Senator Abubakar Kyari, noted this last week when FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, presented the FCT 2021 National Priority Capital Budget to the Committee.

The UN envoy who gave the commendation when he led a team on a courtesy visit to FCTA, said his organization will continue to support FCTA in its fight to ensure that the virus is kept in check.

The Nigerian Institute of Town Planners have bestowed the Envoy Extraordinary award on the FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, for her meritorious service to the institute in particular and the nation at large.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Capital Market, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, has stressed the need to deploy the instrumentality of the capital market to revive the nation's economy, given the negative impact of Covid-19 and #EndSars protests on the country.


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