The 2018/19 Premier League campaign has had a predictable relegation battle so far, with four of the six clubs promoted in the last two seasons making up the bottom-four places in the table.
However, there have been a number of sides outperforming their expectations and defying their critics less than a third of the way into the season. Here are four examples.
Brighton & Hove Albion
Chris Hughton’s Brighton side have enjoyed a bright start to the new season, beating Manchester United and putting in impressive performances against Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.
The Seagulls finished 15th in the Premier League with 40 points last season, having won just nine games. Brighton have already amassed 44% of that tally in less than a third of the games played.
Albion currently sit 12th in the table after 11 matches, boasting a better defensive record (16) than Manchester United (18) and being closer to the top-six than the relegation zone.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side are the highest promoted side in the table. Wolves currently sit 11th with 15 points, boasting a better defensive record (12) than Arsenal (14), Everton (15) and Manchester United (18) among others.
August’s 1-1 draw with defending champions Manchester City will be a big highlight of their season, in addition to the nine-point gap currently separating them from the drop zone.
There’s still plenty of the campaign remaining, but it’s so far so good for Wolves.
Little was expected of Watford this season, but the Hornets have started the new campaign on fire. Javi Gracia’s side are currently ninth in the league table and have beaten the likes of Tottenham Hotspur for their troubles.
Only Manchester City (6) have won more home games than Watford (4) who have 19 points to their name less than a third of the way into the season – 1.73 points-per-game. As things stand, Watford are on course for 66 points if they maintain their current form.
It’s also worth noting that the Hornets have already amassed 46% of last season’s goal tally in just 29% of the games played. Watford look on course for a successful campaign.
Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth side finished in a respectable 12th place last season with 44 points but look on course to surpass such an achievement in 2018/19. The Cherries are sixth in the table with 20 points to their name after 11 games, having already won 55% of last season’s win tally and amassed 45% of last season’s point tally.
Bournemouth have been full of goals, scoring two or more in seven of their eleven Premier League outings, while keeping three clean sheets from their last four. Manchester United are the only side to beat them at Dean Court and Burnley are the only team outside of the top-six to pick up all three points. They’re certainly moving in the right direction.
It’s the Cherries’ fourth season in the Premier League and their best points tally stands at 46 (in 2016/17). As things stand, based on Bournemouth’s current trajectory, they would finish the 2018/19 campaign with 69 points. It’s likely they will tail off during the season but their rise up the table has been impressive while it lasts.