10 Biggest Upsets Of The Football Season So Far
What have been the biggest upsets in football this season? Today Abhisar Gupta takes a look over the top 10 biggest upsets so far in football season 2013/2014.
As long as it's not my team at the receiving end, I really enjoy supporting the underdog. Whether it's the thrill of a rival dropping points, the excitement created by uncertainty till the very end, or the thought of making good money by predicting such results, every result that goes against predictable patterns makes the game that much more enjoyable.
The following is a collection of the 10 biggest upsets from Europe's major leagues - English, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, and French – so far this season. While there have been many games that seemed like big upsets to me subjectively, pre-game odds are the only criteria for making this list.
#1: Monaco 1, Valenciennes 2
Ligue 1, 20th December 2013
Big spending Monaco missed the chance to go top of Ligue 1, albeit temporarily, when they suffered their first home loss of the season against relegation candidates Valenciennes. The principality side came into this game on the back of five straight League wins and dominated this game with over 70 percent possession.
The visitors dug in though and made the most of their luck - Falcao missing a penalty, Abidal putting the ball in his own net without much pressure, and Moutinho hitting the post - to record the biggest upset across Europe's top competitions.
#2: Manchester United 1, West Brom 2
Premier League, 28th September 2013
The Baggies have had a very strange season. Steve Clarke lost his job and the team have been perilously close to the drop zone but they've also produced some surprise results against the big sides away from home. Draws at Goodison Park, White Hart Lane, and Stamford Bridge (only a dubious late penalty prevented that game from ending second on this list) show this win at Old Trafford, West Brom's first at the Theatre of Dreams since 1978, wasn't that big a shock.
Recent events have further dulled the aura around United's fortress but it was the Baggies who inflicted their first blemish of the season. Seasoned bettors probably know to keep an eye out on odds for games at this historic ground as there could be good value if the bookies keep factoring in past performances into their calculations.
#3: Feyenoord 1, Heracles Almelo 2
Eredivisie, 27th October 2013
Ronald Koeman's side had a chance to go top with a win in this match but a surprise defeat at De Kuip provides our first entry to the list from the Eredivisie. Just in April, Feyenoord had won this fixture with a 6-0 scoreline and you'd have to go all the way back till 2008 to find a Heracles win against one of the giants of Dutch football in Eredivisie.
#4: Borussia Dortmund 1, Hertha Berlin 2
Bundesliga, 21st December 2013
When Marco Reus ran in behind the Hertha defence in the 7th minute to put the hosts ahead, it appeared that the bookmakers had got their odds spot on. But two goals stemming from individual errors condemned Dortmund to another defeat in the League just as the Bundesliga was heading into the winter break.
Only two places separate the sides now and the fact that Dortmund have lost all their games against other sides in the top 6 in the Bundesliga this season - with defeats against Bayern, Leverkusen, and Wolfsburg coming in three of the five previous games - suggests that the game presented a good opportunity for bettors who were following the trends.
#5: Wolfsburg 0, Eintract Braunschweig 2
Bundesliga, 5th October 2013
Unless you are an avid follower of German Football, chances are, like me, you too wouldn't know much about Eintract Braunschweig. A quick internet search tells us the club were founding members of the Bundesliga and were one time champions in 66-67 but haven't been in the top flight for 28 years.
Die Löwen went into that game with just 1 points from their first seven encounters. Wolfsburg had an alternating loss-win record in their opening seven fixtures but were deemed superior enough to merit those odds. That they've gone unbeaten after losing to Braunschweig and risen to within 2 points of Dortmund in fourth somewhat explains what the bookmakers were thinking.
Braunschweig's win at home against Leverkusen was also a surprise result, although not big enough to make this list, and they'll probably need a few more giant killing acts if they're to survive in the top flight this season.
#6: Evian Thonon Gaillard 2, Paris Saint-Germain 0
Ligue 1, 4th December 2013
The first home win on this list comes in the form of another reversal in Ligue 1 that features a financially dominant side losing against one of the so-called minnows.
Laurent Blanc's side came into this game on a 36-game unbeaten streak (did lose to Evian on penalties in Coupe de France in April) and on the verge of equalling club record streak of 27 league games without a defeat. But they produced one of their most lacklustre displays to succumb to a couple of well-taken goals on the counter late in the game. It remains their only defeat in Ligue 1 this season.
#7: Everton 0, Sunderland 1
Premier League, 26th December 2013
It's hard to think of a game between the Toffees and the Black Cats as a tussle between two sides vastly different in quality to justify such long odds on an away win. Only six places separated these teams a couple of seasons ago and it was just three positions in 10-11. Even when the teams were separated by eleven places last season, Sunderland won the last encounter between the sides in April, although that was at the Stadium of Light.
In the previous games on this list either the gulf in pedigree seemed obvious, or there was a historic context, or squad quality disparity based on a financial angle that stretched the odds. This time around it seemed current form was the biggest factor. Sunderland came into this game languishing at the bottom of the table and winless in their last 6 League games. Everton were in the top four having lost only one game all season and none at home in 2013. Tim Howard's first red card in the Premier League probably had the decisive impact and it's doubtful many would have predicted this result as the hosts dominated possession and chances even with a man down.
#8: Tottenham 0, West Ham 3
Premier League, 6th October 2013
Spurs had a good start to the League season and were third after six games in which they'd conceded just two goals. It seemed, at the time, that the investment during the summer window was bearing fruit. West Ham, on the other hand, were already in the relegation zone and were yet to score an away goal.
Two freakish goals in seven second half minutes put the Hammers on the path to an unlikely, and their only of the season thus far, away win. Big Sam's side have since lost on the road to fellow strugglers Norwich, Crystal Palace, and Fulham to reemphasize the magnitude of this debacle for Spurs.
#9: PSV Eindhoven 0, Cambuur Leeuwarden 0
Eredivisie, 31st August 2013
That is not a typo. A drawn game has made it to this list!
As with Braunschweig above, I know very little about Cambuur Leeuwarden. It turns out they've spent a lot of time in the Dutch second division in recent years and finally achieved promotion in 2013 after reaching play-offs for promotion in the previous four seasons.
When the unbeaten-at-the-time PSV side met Cambuur at the Philips Stadion earlier in the season, most people expected Cocu's side to win comfortably. That stumble was a sign of things to come as one of the biggest names in Dutch football only won two of their next eleven games. PSV's drop in form has been a punters delight as good odds were available for their draws against Heerenveen and Zwolle as well as defeats away to NAC Breda, Roda JC, and FC Groningen.
#10: Sunderland 1, Manchester City 0
Premier League, 10th November 2013
While some of the other underdogs mentioned here have come close to achieving this, the Black Cats are the only side to appear twice in this list.
Pellegrini's side have consistently been one of the favourites for the Premier League title and that has also translated into short odds for them winning some of the supposedly easier away games. But the Citizens have taken a while to get into their stride and this has resulted in a string of away defeats that would have hurt the bookmakers. The three home wins in the Premiership with the highest odds for the winning side have come against City. Sunderland were the longest in that because of their own dodgy form but Cardiff (Odds of 7.4) and Aston Villa (6.66) have also produced big upsets against the Sky Blues.
Their recent form seems to have picked up though, as eight wins in a nine game unbeaten streak suggests, and the opportunity to win big on City's away form has probably slipped. Did you cash in on it?
That completes the list for the 10 biggest upsets across Europe's top six Leagues. Keen observers will have noticed the conspicuously absent entrants from La Liga and Serie A. The odds for results just haven't been long enough to make the list. In Spain, the biggest upset according to the odds was Almeria's win at Valencia at 7.30. Napoli's draw against Sassuolo at 7.70 was the most surprising result in Italy.
Let's see if that changes in the second half of the season...
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Follow Abhisar on Twitter: @goonerdesi
And read more of his work on his blog Desigunner.wordpress