This week we cover another team that is a darkhorse team based on their having not yet won a Premier League Championship. They do have two championships prior to the 1992 creation of the Premier League, but none since, nor have they managed to lift trophies beyond the FA Cup on two occasions, 1998-1999 and 2007-2008.
Normally our focus is on the English Premier League, but this week I felt a short flight across the channel into Spain (and La Liga) seemed reasonable. This week’s Darkhorse is Real Club Celta de Vigo (Celta Vigo), who started off +100,000 to win the league and are currently at 14/1 odds to finish top 4, are currently residing in 3rd place after dispatching Atlético Madrid 2-0 (yes – I’m aware that Atletico played a man down for 20’, but Celta Vigo were already up 2-0), who finished as runners up last year in the league. Yes, I know we’re only a few games in, but this series isn’t about projecting the winner, it’s about featuring a team that has the possibility of really mixing things up.
In the 2017-2018 season, Celta Vigo managed a 13th-place finish on 49 points (on tiebreakers being used for 11th-13th). They also finished with a -1 Goal Differential last season averaging basically a goal and a half scored and conceded each game. So far during this season they averaging almost 1.7 goals a game, and conceding .7 goals a game. If this continues they would project for a 65 goal season, while conceding only 27 goals on the season, which would place them in the top-5 for goals scored and 2nd for goals allowed behind only Atletico Madrid. So, long story short – they look like they are on track to do very well.
What’s caused the change?
This series will feature a club each week starting from this week that looks poised to shake things up a bit. This week we’ll talk about Liverpool (currently with 14/5 odds to win the league). Now, before you get all up on me about them being the topic of this “darkhorse” series — hear me out. They haven’t finished top of the division since the creation of the Premier League, so despite them having some phenomenal talents and insane expenditures, I feel comfortable calling them a darkhorse. This doesn’t take into account their stature or involvement in other competitions, because those affect their competitiveness in the Premier League. They are also well below the “surefire favorites” in Manchester City who are 4/6 odds on winning the League.
Since the inception of the league, founding-member Liverpool’s average position has been just under 5th, however, they have recorded no Premier League Championships. Instead, Liverpool have stood by the wayside while a number of their fiercest rivals have dominated the top spot including Manchester United (13 times), Chelsea (5 times), Arsenal and Manchester City (3 times each), and Blackburn and Leicester City (once each) rounding out the League Championships. Liverpool may well be one of the best sides to have never won the Premier League along with fellow “Big Six” member Tottenham Hotspur. Don’t get me wrong. Liverpool has been crazy successful, just not in the Premier League era; they’ve spent a combined 104 seasons in the top flight with 18 titles and an average finish during that time of 6.5 (For comparison, Manchester United has 94 seasons in the top flight, 20 titles, and an average finish of 6.6).
This series will feature a club each week starting from this week that looks poised to shake things up a bit and this week, there’s only one option for me to cover. I mean, who else has max points from all their matches to this point, is tied for 1st place (by points) in the league and is 3rd on goal difference? The same team that is leading last season’s champions by 2 points and just knocked off Tottenham, that would be Watford.
Their season started off as normal enough, they had horrendous odds, Bovada put them at +100,000 odds to win the league and as of yesterday they are still ranging from 33:1 to 50:1 odds for even a top-four finish. If that doesn’t make them a darkhorse, I don’t know what does.
So we’ll begin our first edition of “The Darkhorse Chronicles,” looking at what has helped this Watford side have such a phenomenal start to the season.
Results (obviously, you already know they are all wins — but stick with me):