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Upsetting The Establishment: Who are the European dark horses that are looking to make history this season?

Arsenal Arteta

As all of Europe’s elite were forced into a winter break due to the 2022 Qatar World Cup, this season always had the feel of something unique and unpredictable.

With the likes of the Premier League, Ligue 1 and Serie A almost broken into two separate campaigns, plenty of new challengers from across the continent have emerged.

While European giants such as Chelsea might have struggled to find any kind of fluidity this season, heavyweights such as PSG and Manchester City face potentially monumental title scraps in 2023 and you should look the new bookies offers if you want to bet on any of the big European league conclusions this season.

With a host of iconic upsets on the cards this year, we have taken a look at three clubs who have cemented their spot as Europe’s ultimate dark horses.

 

Will Arsenal win the Premier League?

While Arsenal might have eventually missed out on a top-four return last season, few would have expected what has been an astonishing rise for Mikel Arteta and his young squad.

Although the Spanish tactician might have found himself under increasing scrutiny during the early stages of his tenure in north London, the Gunners are on the cusp of making real history this season.

Only continuing to gain a string of plaudits from across the Premier League on either side of the World Cup break, Arsenal still hold a five-point buffer over reigning champions Manchester City and the mood in their blossoming camp is at a red-hot high.

Although Arteta’s side might have simply opened the 2022/23 campaign with their sights set on securing a much-awaited Champions League return, the Gunners are now firing on all cylinders and are dreaming of causing an almighty upset come May.

Suffering just a single Premier League defeat as they reached the halfway point on this season’s campaign, Arsenal sit in pole position to claim a first domestic crown since way back in 2004.

Set to open February priced at 8/11 to end their 19-year top-flight draught, Arteta’s youngsters face what will be a psychological test as they inch closer to the history books.

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Napoli to win a History Making Double?

While Arsenal might have continued to steal plenty of the headlines following their Premier League romp this season, many will argue that it is Napoli who have cemented their spot as Europe’s ultimate dark horse.

Laying down what was a remarkable Champions League marker last year as they breezed their way to the knockout stage ahead of English heavyweights Liverpool, Luciano Spalletti’s men are enjoying what has quickly become an iconic purple patch.

Although both of the Milan-based giants might have been tipped as the leading contenders in this season’s Scudetto chase, it has been the Azzurri who have taken Serie A by storm on either side of the World Cup’s winter break.

Reaching the halfway point of this season’s title scrap holding a commanding 12-point buffer at the top of the table, Napoli appear to be breezing their way towards a first Serie A crown since 1990.

With Napoli’s current crop of superstars quickly becoming compared to Diego Maradona’s famed era from over three decades ago, Spalletti’s high-flying squad could also be eyeing up a major Champions League upset in 2023.

Mustering 20 Group A strikes last year – the best-attacking tally among Europe’s elite – the Azzurri are priced as high as 14/1 to claim a history-making domestic and European double.

 

Lens to pip PSG in Ligue 1 Title Race?

Although PSG might have once again opened the 2022/23 campaign tipped as a landslide pick to defend their Ligue 1 crown, the French giants are facing what has been a stunning title scrap.

While the Parisians might hold a fearsome heavyweight attack that includes the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi, it is Lens who find themselves going toe-to-toe with one of Europe’s biggest giants.

In what is quickly being billed as a real David vs Goliath battle in France, Lens have only continued to receive a string of admirers from across the continent and many are desperate to see Franck Haise’s side pull off what would be an upset that sits level with Leicester’s Premier League title success from 2016.

Suffering just a single Ligue 1 defeat as they reached the halfway point of this season’s campaign, they also find themselves sat just three points adrift of PSG and still breathing firmly down their neck.

Plying their trade in France’s second-tier just two years ago, Lens are enjoying what has become nothing short of a real fairytale.

Although Haise’s men might find themselves priced as high as 25/1 to lift a first top-flight crown in 2023, the Yellows aren’t showing any signs of letting up.

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