As we enter the final stages of the 2021-22 Premier League season, it’s the time of year where it’s worthwhile to take an all-encompassing view of the campaign. From the title race to the relegation battle and everything in between, it’s been a thrilling campaign that has kept us entertained every step of the way.
For some teams, it has been a campaign of defying the Premier League odds to exceed expectations. Read on, as we take a look at three clubs that have surprised some this season.
When Brentford earned promotion to the Premier League by winning the Championship play-off final last season, it’s fair to say that many thought they would be heading straight back down to the second tier. Some felt that their recruitment strategy and somewhat limited budget just wouldn’t cut it in the top flight.
How wrong they were. Brentford have been a revelation this season, settling in to life in their new stadium and delivering a campaign that looks all but certain to end in survival. Staying up would have been the simple aim for head coach Thomas Frank, and if they do manage to secure their Premier League status, the Bees will have a great platform on which to build for next season.
The arrival of Patrick Vieira at Crystal Palace last summer had many questioning whether they’d be able to keep their heads above water this season, but the Eagles have enjoyed a solid campaign that has featured plenty of highlights. Vieira’s task upon taking the reins from Roy Hodgson was to promote youth and improve Palace’s style of play, and he has certainly made strides in both of those areas.
The form of Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher has been one of the highlights, and it would be no surprise to see Palace swoop for his permanent signature this summer. Add in the performances of Marc Guehi and Tyrick Mitchell, and Crystal Palace have a recipe for future success.
A run to the FA Cup semi-finals represents another pleasing aspect of the campaign, and although results have been inconsistent at times, Palace have proven that there is a bright future ahead with Vieira at the helm. Don’t be surprised if you see them favoured in the EPL predictions next season.
Another team who faced an uncertain campaign after managerial upheaval, Wolverhampton Wanderers supporters will be pleased to see their team on course for a top-half finish. The Nuno Espírito Santo era had gone stale by the end, and there were question marks as to whether Bruno Lage would have the experience to oversee improvement, but Wolves have enjoyed some fine form this season.
Lage has encouraged a more expansive style of play at Molineux, and although it’s not long since Wolves were playing in Europe, it’s been a marked improvement to see them challenging for the European places this time around after such a disappointing 2021-22 campaign. With another summer ahead, Lage will have more opportunities to shape the squad in his image, and you can bet that Wolves will be an even greater threat next season.