Football

Surprise XI of the Premier League so far

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With the season still young, the table is looking far from what it will be come May (or so Chelsea fans will hope), but there is some order with the top three consisting of powerhouses Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United.

However, after eight games some teams and players have surprised many with some very consistent and impressive performances. Here are the top surprises of the 2015/16 season so far:

GK - Heurelho Gomes

With Watford a newly promoted side, it was essential that they managed to create a solid defence to have any chance of keeping their top flight status.

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So when the new season started and Gomes, remembered by most as the calamitous Spurs keeper, was the man between the sticks many people wrote them off already.

However, Gomes has started the season well, keeping three clean sheets and saving a penalty against Bournemouth, leaving Watford in a comfortable 12th position. A place I think they'd be pleased to finish at the end of the season.

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RB - Hector Bellerin

Arsenal's marauding right back enjoyed an impressive debut season last year with the many injury complications with new signing Mathieu Debuchy.

However, still young and inexperienced it was thought Debuchy would take over the starting right back spot this season but that has not been the case. Bellerin has continued where he left off last year and then some, providing an extra outlet of pace down Arsenal's right flank. The 20-year-old is yet to provide an assist or goal this season yet, but once Arsenal's strikers come into form his many crosses may begin to be converted.

CB - Chris Smalling

Maybe something of a late bloomer, Smalling is finally looking like a composed top quality centre-back. Part of a formidable duo at the back with Daley Blind, he has managed four Premier League clean sheets already this term. Still only 25-years-old Smalling will be hoping to continue this good form long into the future, and maybe become one of the first choice centre backs for the England team for years to come.

CB - Scott Dann

Crystal Palace sit fourth in the table and although it is their exciting attacking players that get most of the attention, they are also a tight unit with the joint best defence in the Premier League only conceding seven goals so far.

At the heart of this defence is the towering figure of Scott Dann who has also managed to grab a league goal this season too. Having always been a solid performer for Birmingham and Blackburn, Scott Dann is really improving into a quality defender under the guidance of Alan Pardew.

LB - Aleksandar Kolarov

With Clichy injured, Kolarov has had to play every game at left back for Manchester City this season. Despite surviving at the club for five years, Kolarov has never looked a reliable defender, but rather an occasionally good free kick taker.

This season, however, Kolarov has improved on the defensive side of his game whilst also making better choices further up the pitch. His hammer of a left foot has already got a goal this season, and the crosses he whips in from the left vary up City's play as they usually have an inverted winger on the left flank.

CDM - Eric Dier

Having not brought in a defensive midfielder during the transfer window, Pochettino went about making one from his available resources. Dier has fitted snugly into the role and has been somewhat of a revelation in the Spurs side.

His tough tackling and efficient passing mean he is a useful yet unspectacular player, although he has also managed to add goals to his game in his new role higher up the pitch.

CM- Dimitri Payet

A £10.7 million signing from Marseille, much was expected of Payet, but it is not always easy adjusting from a less competitive league such as Ligue 1 to the Premier League. It has been easy for Payet though. The playmaker has taken to it like a duck to water scoring four goals and claiming three assists, being influential in a West Ham team that is highly effective in its counter attacking play in away games.

CM - Riyad Mahrez

The Algerian has been in inspired form this term and much of the good play by Leicester has come through this man. His dribbling skills are second to none and his ability to glide through player after player is sometimes breath taking.

Just like Payet, he has been prolific for his side, scoring five goals in the league and also getting three assists. If Mahrez can keep up this kind of play for a whole season very big clubs will be after him come the summer transfer window.

RW - Jamie Vardy

Perhaps the main other reason Leicester are doing so well is down to this man. Catching the eye of Roy Hodgson last season Vardy earned his first call-up for England but rather than sitting around and resting on his laurels he has found another gear this season.

Vardy is managing to channel all his energy and running at the right times, leading to him picking up an extremely impressive seven goals in eight games. That's world class striker form.

ST - Odion Ighalo

Another forward who is impressing in a lower team is Odion Ighalo. The top scoring man in English football in 2015 with 21 goals so far has adapted well to Premier League life, netting five goals in the league. He'll be hoping to keep up this form throughout the season and help Watford avoid the drop and maybe even finish in a mid-table position.

LW - Anthony Martial

When Manchester United announced the signing of Anthony Martial for £36 million at the end of the transfer window eyebrows were raised. The fee was thought to be far too much for a 19-year-old with 11 league goals to his name. But since then Martial has done well to silence his critics, bagging 3 goals in 5 league appearances.

He has looked electric in his play and his first goal against Liverpool showed everyone a glimpse of his quality. It will be interesting to see if he can keep this kind of form up because he is still so young, he could become a player valued at three times the transfer fee United paid.

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Topics:
Premier League
Leicester City
Manchester United
Heurelho Gomes
Crystal Palace
Scott Dann
Chris Smalling
Football

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