Since the turn of the decade the form book has been flipped and at least one team surprises everyone in Europe every season; See Dortmund 20(11/12/13), Atletico 2014 who next. That’s what I am here to tell you and help you join the elite ranks of football hipsters personified.
Dark Horse one: AS Roma & Ashley Cole (separate entities but same affiliation if you catch my drift), Rudi Garcia has made them very enjoyable to watch and even without Strootman they pushed an all-conquering Juventus all the way and with the signings of Ucan, Urby, Keita, and last mid season signing Radja Nainggolan they basically have an unrivalled midfield depth and a triple pronged attack of Iturbe, Destro and Gervinho with Ljajic, Sanabria and Totti to supplement them they will be devastating and I predict at least a semi final berth for them if they manage to hold on to Benatia, compact in defense, ruthless in transitions and fierce pressing Roma will be flavour of the year.
Dark Horse Two: Bayer Leverkusen, yes that team that was thrashed by David Moyes’ United, in Roger Schmidt they have a football purist straight from the school of football invention and inversion at the helm, and he’s no Sami Hyppia. With the addition of Hakan Calhanoglu, Papadopolous( the injured one), Josip Drmic and Tin Jedvaj to supplement the existing talents of Heung Min Son, Kiessling, Julian Brandt and Bender Schmidt will revolutionise the very definition of pressing(Angriffpressing, Mittelfeldspressing, Abwherpressing), his former team Red Bull Salzburg played football the ‘right way’. Expect their style to disrupt a lot of sides and perplex many.
Dark Horse three: Red Bull Salzburg, yes Roger Schmidt’s former team. They are scoring goals for fun and last season they gave Europe a taste of things to come with that annihiliation of Ajax with total voetball and Jonathan Soriano scored 48 goals in 43 games for them and five yesterday, he is in a purple patch moment and he isn’t letting go. If they qualify for the Champions league group stage I expect they should be able to reach the quarter finals.
Dark Horse four: Tempting as it is to mock Liverpool they are a very unpredictable animal at the moment, full of Saints teams in Europe might not find their lightning quick transitions in any way Holy. Brendan is always a word away from making a fool of himself but he has his team playing entertaining football and scoring goals with consumate ease and may shock a few big guns in Europe. In Lazar Markovic, Sterling and Jordon Ibe they have a very exciting triumvirate of youth and a blend of experience in Lambert and Lallana. They might go far or fail miserably, the dark horse of my dark horses.
Dark Horse 5: Athletic Bilbao, the favorite of my dark horses. Ernesto Valverde has restored the panache with which Athletic carried themselves and in the Nueva Mames even real Madrid and Barcelona tremble when they have to play there, it is a far cry from the Old San Mmaes but it is just as intimidating and even if they lost Ander Herrera the UCL finally offers Benat Extebarria the chance to grace us with his presence and a midfield with him, the magnificent Iturraspe, Ibai Gomez and Susaeta with Muniain is hard to suppress, quarter finals at least.
Dark Horse 6: Atletico Madrid, yes again! Their most important players might have been adopted by Chelsea but the replacements are of a very high quality and at par or even better than the people they replace. It is arguable but Mandzukic is an excellent defensive forward whose output could be phenomenal if he is the main man, Antoine Griezmann is an excellent wideman/ inverted forwrd and with the retention of Arda Turan, Koke, Mario Suarez and Tiago Menedez Cholo Simeone felt secure enough to send O.liver Torres on loan and might just get Jimenez in to bulk up the squad. Might go all the way this time, still irrepressible.
And that ladies and gents is my two cents worth of hipster talk, till these teams either stutter and fail miserably after which no one will remember this article or till they do well and I join football hipster Sainthood.
P.S: Might I add F.C Porto just because of Oli Torres and Slimani.
By Cabral Opiyo make sure to follow him on Twitter
If you too are interested in writing articles for us, get in contact via email@example.com or our twitter @TouchlineFracas