Soccer is the biggest sport in the world. Although it classically hasn’t been quite as big in the United States, the Premier League has grown considerably in popularity here in the past few years. NBCSN has been broadcasting nearly every game since the 2013-14 season, and they recently established a 6-year deal worth a deceptively inexpensive $1 billion deal. I say deceptively inexpensive because the company’s deal with the NFL costs them a whopping $1.9 billion a year, which makes the first deal seem like pocket change. This move across the pond has been extremely successful and exciting for us fans of the Prem here in the States.

The Premier League is always full of surprises and intense competitions, but this year has been especially intense and astonishing. Among the many surprises lay newly promoted Watford’s place in the table, Manchester United’s lack of goals, Chelsea’s horrible season, and of course, surprise leaders Leicester City.

Manchester United is a massive, legendary club who built a strong starting 11 and won 49 trophies under arguably the best manager ever: Sir Alex Ferguson. After his retirement in 2013, United have struggled to win any trophies or even find a decent manager. They moved on to David Moyes, who was extremely disappointing and fired less than a year later. After Ryan Giggs, an interim manager, they brought in Louis Van Gaal with high hopes and a sense of desperation of restoring some consistency into the club. Although he has done that with a great back line, conceding the least amount of goals in the league, fans are very frustrated with the lack of excitement and offense the club is playing with. At a legendary stadium such as Old Trafford, teams should be afraid to come in and play a strong United team, but they’ve dropped an unacceptable amount of points at home. This is why they sit abnormally in 5th, just outside the Champions League spots.

In contrast, Watford is a tiny club located just northeast of London. After having achieved promotion last season, they were projected to finish fighting a battle against relegation, but that would not be the case. They made very good signings, including manager Quique Sanchez-Flores, who has clearly built a style of play compatible with the squad he’s been given. With the exceptional strike partnership Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo running the show, they reached an astonishing 7th place in the table. Although they have dropped off in recent weeks, it was a shock to all Premier League enthusiasts to see a Watford side challenging for the top half of the table with Odion Ighalo up there with the top scorers in the league.

Chelsea is another huge, wealthy club in the Premier League. They won the title in 2014-15, with Eden Hazard performing on a higher level than the rest of the league. The first half of the 2015-16 season has been absolutely horrific for the Blues, with Hazard’s morale and goal drought being at an all-time low. Jose Mourinho, the manager of Chelsea, was only recently fired after having made his title run last season, and being a goliath in the industry. Ever since the interim manager Guus Hiddink has taken the job, Chelsea are on an unbeaten run, which shows the lack of inspiration Mourinho had created within the club. The Blues were thought to have another go at the title, but they’re currently sitting just 8 points out of the relegation zone in 13th place. They have an upcoming Champions League fixture against French club PSG, which will truly show whether or not they’re clear of the slump.

Last but definitely not least, Leicester City. Leicester are another one of those small clubs who barely stayed up last season, but have made an astonishing start to the season. They don’t have an expensive starting 11 by any means, put together with less than £22 million. Their main contributors include the BPL leading scorer Jamie Vardy, and the insanely talented Algerian Riyad Mahrez. Manager Claudio Ranieri has done wonders with the squad, currently sitting on a 5-point cushion above second-place Tottenham. Ranieri’s goal was 40 points by the end of the season in order to stay in the top flight, and he maintained focus on this goal until they hit it before the halfway point in the season. They were top of the table past Christmas, and despite everyone counting them out week after week, they remain title contenders at this late stage in the season.