It is a new season, a new beginning. Finally, after a long summer break, the Premier League is back.
Last season, we saw the likes of Michu and Benteke making a name for themselves in arguably the best league in the world.
However, things are really different this time round. After four games of Premiership action already, who are the ones that will maintain their rich vein of form, and who are the ones that will rise from zero to hero?
In this article, I will give my views on five promising players whom I feel will make a significant impact in the Premier League this season.
So who will be this season’s Michu?
*The players are in no particular order
Hatem Ben Arfa
The 26-year-old French play-maker, labelled a 'prodigy' at the age of 15, Ben Arfa made his senior debut for Lyon in 2004 as a 17-year-old, and quickly displayed his undoubted talents. He moved onto Marseille in 2008, where he managed 60-odd games but again failed to reach his potential on a consistent basis.
Then came Newcastle. Over the past 3 seasons, Ben Arfa hasn't been able to get an extended run of games due to various injuries. His best season for the Toon army in 2011/12 saw him provide 7 assists and 6 goals in 26 appearances. However, Ben Arfa always had one major problem. Inconsistency. He never scored in consecutive games and has failed to produce consistent returns on a weekly basis.
Things have changed. This 2013/14 EPL season has seen a new Ben Arfa. He is brimming with confidence, getting more involved in attacking play as seen in the first 4 games of the Premier League so far. This season, Ben Arfa has had a shot every 19.5 minutes, which is simply phenomenal. He has even claimed that he can win the Ballond’or, the award for the best player in the world, at some point of his career. That really shows how much confidence he has.
Ben Arfa has all the traits of a complete attacking midfielder and if he can stay away from injury, he will be absolutely vital for Newcastle’s hopes in the Premier League. We can expect more consistency from Ben Arfa this season, and more versatility from a player of this worth.
For a fee of £11.5m, Tottenham have successfully captured this extremely talented playmaker from Ajax. Danish midfielder Eriksen has a goal and assist to his name after just 2 appearances. He was involved in both of Gylfi Sigurdsson's goals in Spurs’s 2-0 win over Norwich City, and came off the bench to net a stunner from distance in the Europa League that contributed to Spurs’ 3-0 victory.
Given that the chief criticism of Tottenham this season has been a lack of creativity, Eriksen will definitely change that. He has a penchant for creating chances and will certainly bring much more creativity to Spurs. On top of that, Eriksen has really good vision with the ability to make defence splitting passes.
Christian Eriksen is the man that Spurs have been missing. Everytime this young dane gets a touch on the ball, he never fails to produce that little bit of magic. Already established in the Eredivisie, this ultra-talented midfielder has the technical ability and vision to go to the very, very top.
At the tender age of 11, Ross Barkley joined the Everton youth academy. He has since then, gone through the ranks and he made his first team debut with Everton against QPR in the opening match of the 2011/12 season.
However, Barkley has since been troubled with many injuries and was sent out on loan. He had spells with Sheffield Wednesday and more recently, Leeds United. Barkley has hugely benefited from these loan spells and he has matured as a player tremendously. After having a decent pre-season, Barkley went on to start all 4 of Everton’s opening matches this season and in particular, his sublime strike from distance that gave him his first ever Premier League goal against Norwich.
Since then, he has had 13 attempts on goal, more than any other midfielder and equal to the amount of shots on goal by Manchester United’s Robin van Persie. In a team that is struggling to find the net, Ross Barkley looks set to be a major provider of goals for Everton and we can expect much more creativity and goals from such a talented young player who could go on to represent England in the near future.
Norwich’s youngest signing of the summer, Nathan Redmond is only 19 but what he may lack in experience, he certainly makes up for in drive and enthusiasm.
Redmond began his career as a youngster with Birmingham City, his home-town club. Since then, Redmond has left Birmingham and rejoined manager Chris Hughton at Norwich. He possesses a lethal weapon that is his speed. This quick young winger will prove key on the counter-attack for Norwich. From what I have already seen, he will certainly be running rings around numerous defenders and wreaking havoc among the top defenses in the league. He is certainly not afraid to take his chances and try a shot on goal, and on top of that, he can also whip in a ball towards the goal or the box with great power.
Although can run, shoot and cross very well, one disadvantage of Redmond’s game is that he seldom passes. However, this is something that comes with age and practice so fear not. I believe that Redmond is a very special player that can only get better and better with experience over time. He will be absolutely crucial to Norwich’s survival hopes and he should shine and make his mark in the Premier League this season.
This young Brazilian talent was an exceptional additional to the Chelsea first-team during his inaugural year in the Premier League. Oscar has since adapted well to the physicality of the Premier League and had his fair share of experience in games in different competitions at vastly different levels.
With 59 matches under his belt for the Blues, contributing 11 goals, the 21-year-old has already become a key member of the Chelsea side that lifted the Europa League trophy last season. Oscar has already started 3 of Chelsea’s opening 4 EPL games and most notably, scored in the first game against Hull. With the second coming of Mourinho, he has raised the standards to get even more out of this talented youngster.
This hard-working midfield maestro offers copious amounts to the Chelsea side, possessing dazzling talent with the ball at his feet while also using his strong engine to get up and down the pitch to back-up his team-mates. Already labelled as Mourinho's main No.10, Oscar will be Chelsea’s main playmaker in their bid for the title.
He can certainly contribute with his exceptional vision and his wondrous passing. Although he might not do as well in terms of scoring goals, expect Oscar to wow us with his unbelievable vision,creativity and skills whenever he gets a touch on the ball.
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