THE BLOG

The Premier League's Biggest Over and Underachievers So Far This Season

03/10/2014 16:09 BST | Updated 03/12/2014 10:59 GMT

Six weeks into the Premier League season is possibly too early to know for sure the sides or players who will shine or fail. However, in those six weeks, there have been a number of surprises, some good and some quite terrible.

Players tipped for success have struggled and others have surprised, settling into life in the world's top league. Some teams have bought well and improved on last season's outing, but others have inexplicably struggled.

Here is the ultimate collection of the Premier League's biggest over and under-achievers so far.

7. Overachiever: Aston Villa

Aston Villa suffered an abysmal season last time around, narrowly avoiding relegation and ending up 15th.

This season however, they currently sit 6th in the league, having impressively beaten Liverpool at Anfield a few weeks ago.

Paul Lambert was criticised over the summer for bringing in a number of players judged to be too old or lacking sufficient quality for the Premier League, along with Manchester United laughing stock, Tom Cleverley.

However, even without the injured Christian Benteke, who is close to a return, the Villains have been fantastic this season and if they continue, relegation won't be an issue.

6. Underachiever: Mario Balotelli

When a club fork out a reasonably large fee for what is essentially just a big name, questions are asked as to whether the player can live up to expectations.

In Mario Balotelli's case, he has yet to impress.

Brought in to improve Liverpool's front line following the departure of star player Luis Suarez, Balotelli has failed to light the Premier League on fire as easily as he did his bathroom thanks to a firework or two.

His laziness is his most frustrating attribute and due to Daniel Sturridge's injury, the troublesome Italian is lacking a partner who can fashion chances for him.

In his last 20 Premier League appearances, Mario Balotelli has hit 63 shots but only scored one goal. So perhaps it isn't a surprise that he isn't impressing at Liverpool.

5. Overachiever: Diafra Sakho

With news that Andy Carroll would again be injured for the start of the season, Sam Allardyce's main aim was to strengthen their attack.

The two big names brought in were Enner Valencia and Mauro Zarate, somewhat overshadowing the arrival of Metz striker, Diafra Sakho.

Many fans questioned the signing of Sakho, as his goal record is average at best and he has come from the second tier of French football.

However, three goals in four Premier League games and one in the Capital One Cup have thrust him into the limelight.

Sakho's best moment so far was a fantastic lobbed goal in his side's 3-1 win against Liverpool. He has proved to be the Hammers' star signing so far.

4. Underachiever: Everton

For years now, Everton have been a solid, promising side and although their team is incredibly similar to that of last season, they have struggled so far this time around.

Roberto Martinez's side sit 15th in the table with only one win under their belt, although Phil Jagielka scored a contender for goal of the season last weekend.

Usually a solid outfit defensively, Everton have conceded a whopping 14 goals this season, more than any other side.

The quality is there in terms of players, but something just isn't right at Everton this season.

3. Overachiever: Graziano Pelle

Following Southampton's wholesale changes in the summer, many predicted a difficult season ahead for Ronald Koeman's boys, some even mentioned relegation.

However, the Saints have been in magnificent form this season and find themselves 2nd in the table.

Their star performer so far has undoubtedly been Graziano Pelle. The Italian joined in the summer and has already netted four times in six games, prompting speculation of an international call-up.

Where some fans thought they might miss Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez, the latter through injury, Pelle has stepped up and calmed nerves and been a joy to watch, scoring a phenomenal volley against QPR.

2. Underachiever: Newcastle United

One team that manage to make the headlines every week is Newcastle United. Unfortunately, it is for all the wrong reasons.

Alan Pardew's side sit 19th in the Premier League table at the moment, having failed to win a single match so far, scoring only five goals.

Pardew's future is constantly in doubt, but the owners insist that he has a future at the club, despite their poor performances and the fan's anger towards the situation.

His big summer signings have failed to make an impact and Newcastle look set to have to endure a difficult, painful season.

1. Overachiever: Diego Costa

In some ways, Diego Costa's success is not a surprise and therefore he arguably has not overachieved.

However, regardless of how well people thought he may do, no one expected this.

The former Atletico Madrid frontman has netted an outstanding eight times in the opening six games.

Some thought he would struggle at Chelsea following a forgettable World Cup and a long list of prior injuries. However, Diego Costa has been the signing of the season so far and has achieved more than even the most optimistic of fans could have predicted.

If Chelsea win the league this season, Diego Costa will have played a huge part in it and may even finish with a personal award or two.

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