The greatest football league on earth kicks off once again on the 10th of August and with a busy transfer window already along with three newly-promoted teams entering the fray, we all start to wonder – who will shine on this magnificent stage this season?
In this article we will analyse the potential rising stars looking to make a name for themselves this season along with the established big guns aiming to be top dog. And for you fantasy football scouts there could be some vital additions to your team listed below.
The New Boys On The Block
Diogo Jota – Wolves
With 17 goals and 5 assists in Championship last season, Jota can be utilised on the wing or as striker and he’s not shy of the occasional penalty should his team require. He registered 46 shots on target and 37 off target while creating 49 big chances making him both creative and selfish.
This 21 year-old has made an impressive impact during his time at Wolves so far and has also seen success as part of the Portugal under 19’s, 21’s and 23’s. If he continues playing like has has been we could see a major club try to snap him up in the near future.
Joe Ralls – Cardiff
As seen we’ve in the World Cup this year, there has been an emphasis on no grappling from corners which makes set piece takers vital. Joe Ralls is the key man for all set pieces and penalties for Cardiff. Cardiff scored 21 set piece goals last season, more than any other Championship team and certainly a vital part of their promotion success.
The decline in the power of possession football has been evident in the World Cup this year with Spain (74% avg) and Germany (72% avg) both being knocked out early by smaller, more counter-attacking teams displaying this shift to direct, attacking football. Cardiff finished measly 21st in the Championship in terms of possession last season with an average of 45% possession and 59.4% pass accuracy but this shift could bode well for their direct style of play that wins lots of set pieces with Ralls ready to step up and create chances.
With Cardiff’s centre-back Morrison heading home 7 times last season this proves the importance of set-pieces in the modern game – he might even give Maguire a run for his money.
Ryan Sessegnon – Fulham
This young Englishman exploded onto the scene in a big way last season and was a massive part of their promotion success. He scored 16 goals and has 8 assists to his name which saw him pick up 5 awards including Championship Player of the Season and Young Player of the Season. Sessegnon has been extremely versatile for Fulham playing as both left-wing and left-back over the course of the season and making 48 appearances, making him indispensable to the club.
Look out for this young man with a point to prove in a major league as well as a potential future England star.
The chase for the Premier League Golden Boot starts again and there will be many eyeing their chances. To name a few favourites, Harry Kane who picked up the World Cup equivalent this year (albeit the majority of the goals were penalties) will be aiming to take it home again after Mo Salah’s 32 goals robbed it from him last season. Other favourites include: Romelu Lukaku, Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Our Top Pick
Aubameyang, in only 13 games last season he scored 10 goals. That’s an average of 0.85 goals per match (gpm) with 24 shots and a conversion rate of 41.7 – a much higher conversion than other top premium forwards. Don’t forget he achieved this in an Arsenal side that struggled to produce results on the road and never really reached the form their fans have come to expect.
He is our tip for top scorer this year under new manager Emery, who emphasises on pressing high which Aubameyang thrived off in his Dortmund days. His blistering pace, along with the creativity of Arsenal’s midfield, should see him skip past many defencive back lines and his finishing is never in doubt. Arsene Wenger’s last gift to the club he spent over a decade at could well be this prolific scorer.
Time To Shine
New Chelsea manager, Sarri, plays traditional formation 4-3-3 with his wingers not expected to strack back and do any defensive work with an emphasis on staying high to attack. This means for players like Eden Hazard their defensive shackles will be removed and they will be free to cause problems high up the pitch.
Insigne, at left wing in 2016/17, scored 18 goals and got 9 assists in a Napoli side that challenged Juventus and Roma to the Italian title despite spending considerably less. Hazard is a far superior player will likely be moved to his favoured attacking left wing role which he played for Lille before signing for Chelsea where he scored 20 goals and got 16 assists. He has never had the opportunity to play there for Chelsea and will relish the opportunity to match the best in the world for scoring and assisting. This will be a nice change for him compared to being more of a team player role as he has done every season so far for Chelsea.
Hazard played a similar role in the Belgium squad and picked up 3 goals and 2 assists so we could see him really shine over the course of a Premier League season.
West Ham have already spent close to £100m in the transfer market during this window, breaking their transfer record to sign 25 year-old Lazio winger Felipe Anderson (£38m), well-known Dortmund winger Andriy Yarmolenko (£20m) and promising 21 year-old defender Issa Diop (£25m) from Toulouse.
Despite all this investment it’s their current frontman, Marko Arnautovic, who has been in blistering pre-season form picking up 5 goals in 4 games so far. With more creativity in the team this season, his supply should increase perhaps making him one of the big hitters this season up top.
Bringing Up The Rear
Van Aanholt had more big chances than any other defender with 6 big chances over his last 18 games. He is on par with some of the top attacking players like Alexis Sanchez in terms of chances. He’s scored 4 goals and 1 assist in this period.
This pre-season he already has 2 goals and 2 assists (Both assists to Zaha who he seems to have a good connection with) and seems to be thriving under Hodgson’s defensive solidarity that lets him play as a constant attacking threat. We fully expect him to smash his 5 goals 1 assist from last season. Hodgson has had time to get his team into a structure he’s happy with and we saw this pay dividends towards the latter stages of last season, his first full season as Palace manager should be the perfect time for Van Aanholt pick up where he left off.
If all this talk of the start of the new season has got you itching for a football away day check out some of our awesome packages. These are great for stag-dos and corporate events and go to countries across Europe including Germany, Holland, France, and Belgium. Game on.