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Premier League surprise packages

Posted: Oct 19, 2021
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The Premier League is not always the easiest league to excel in. Stars of the Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1, and Eredivisie have all floundered in England. Maybe it is the weather, maybe it is the physicality, maybe it is the scrutiny. Who knows? Adapting to a new country and league is not always easy.

Sometimes, though, unexpectedly a player pops up and impresses everyone. Someone, who was never given a chance before the season began. Seven games in, let's see who have shown the potential to be the season's unexpected hit!


Arsenal: Aaron Ramsdale


Aaron Ramsdale is a goalkeeper with two full seasons of Premier League football as a number one under his belt, so it's feels weird to name him as Arsenal's unexpected star. Yet, that is what he is. He was a number one in the last two season, for sure, but he was relegated both times. Hopes were not high, but Ramsdale has added a fire to the team. Arsenal haven't lost with him in between the posts, and his reaction to conceding a goal against Tottenham is just the kind of commitment they need.


Aston Villa: Jacob Ramsey


Jacob Ramsey made his senior debut in 2018/19 and made 22 Premier League starts last season. In 2021/22, however, he has transformed into a first team regular. The 20-year old started four Premier League games - against Chelsea, Everton, Manchester United and Tottenham. He hasn't looked out of place, and has given his manager every reason to pick him again. England's midfield spots are heavily contested, but Jacob Ramsey already looks destined to reach there soon.


Brentford: Yoane Wissa




Yoane Wissa spent the last three seasons in Ligue 1 with French side Lorient, before Brentford came calling. There were some questions raised about the newly promoted side's strength in depth, and Wissa was signed with an eye on remedying that. So far, the DR Congo international has two Premier League goals, both off the bench - a late equaliser against Liverpool and the winner against West Ham. So far, he is doing a great job for a plucky Brentford side who are impressing everyone. He missed the Chelsea game through injury, and Brentford will want him back soon.


Brighton & Hove Albion: Shane Duffy


With an impressive loan spell at Leeds under his belt, Ben White walked into the Brighton squad last season, and Shane Duffy was the casualty. The Irishman went on to spend an underwhelming loan spell with Celtic. White's departure to Arsenal opened up another opportunity for Duffy this season, however, and boy has he taken it! He is the Premier League's most aerially dominant defender so far, and scored a wonderful header against Watford. He's been fantastic as Brighton sit among the big boys at the top of the table.


Burnley: Maxwel Cornet




There is a certain image that is associated with Burnley over the years. They're considered a touch-tackling, physical side, despite going 100 consecutive Premier League games without a red card. Even then, Maxwel Cornet from Lyon was a transfer no one expected. He has played 90 minutes of League cup football and 80 minutes in the Premier League, but he already has a goal and an assist. He looks like someone who can revitalise a winless Burnley side, and lift Sean Dyche's men to better results.


Chelsea: Trevoh Chalobah


Before the season began, the hype was all about Marc Guehi. Guehi, however, joined Crystal Palace, and instead, Trevoh Chalobah is the latest academy graduate to make his mark. Chalobah, who can play in midfield or in defence, was at loan with Ligue 1 side Lorient last season. He took advantage of Euro 2020 stars missing from pre-season and impressed Tuchel with his performances. He earned a start in the Super Cup, where he caught the eye, and after that brilliant debut goal against Crystal Palace in the Premier League, he is the new fan favourite at Stamford Bridge.


Crystal Palace: Conor Gallagher




Conor Gallagher is on his third loan spell away from Chelsea. After Swansea and West Brom, it is now Crystal Palace who are enjoying the fruits of his talents. Gallagher has been among the best players for Crystal Palace so far, scoring two wonderful goals in a 2-2 draw with West Ham. Those were Palace's first goals in the Premier League this season, and they have improved since then. Gallagher has drawn praises from all who have watched him. No one knows where his future lies, but at least for this season, Palace will be glad they have him.


Everton: Demarai Gray


Demarai Gray made his Championship debut as a 17-year old in 2013/14, and earned a move to Leicester City in 2015/16, picking up a Premier League winner's medal. Yet, his five-year spell at Leicester was one of stagnation. By the time he left, he was little more than bit-part. After a brief sojourn with Bayer Leverkusen, he returned to England, joining Everton for just 1.7 million. He is rejuvenated, and looks like a contender for signing of the season. He has started every game and contributed to Everton's good form this season. Eight appearances, three goals, one assist.


Leeds United: Raphinha




Raphinha's quality was clear last season itself. He settled very quickly in the Premier League, and ended the season with six goals and nine assists. Still, this season, he has taken it all up a notch. Leeds' start to the season has been difficult, with key players such as Bamford underperforming. However, Raphinha has been excellent every game, and he has tried his best to lift Leeds. He already has three goals this season, and he's created many more chances which were wasted.


Leicester City: Ademola Lookman


Like Leeds, Leicester have also struggled this season. Their usual fluency is missing, and results have not gone their way. Ademola Lookman was one of the shining lights of a poor Fulham team that got relegated last season. Leicester City completed a deadline day loan capture, and while he he hasn't scored yet, he looks like a player who can conjure up a few moments of inspiration. He looks good, and if he can find the end product, Leicester will be able to return to where they were last season.


Liverpool: Kostas Tsimikas




Last season, Greek left-back Kostas Tsimikas watched from the bench as Andy Robertson went on proving his quality to the world. Robertson's injury at the start of the season, however, gave Tsimikas a chance to show his quality. What followed was some excellent showings which surely gives both, Klopp and Robertson some confidence. Klopp won't have to play a visibly tired Robertson for far too much or put a dependable but out-of-position James Milner at left back. Kostas Tsimikas has increased the squad depth of Liverpool this season, invaluably.


Manchester City: Bernardo Silva


Bernardo Silva has long been considered as one of the best players in his position, so calling him a surprise package is quite the surprise, right? But after a comparatively subpar season, the Portuguese international wanted to leave this summer. He didn't get his move, but he's successfully reintegrated into the squad now, and is excelling. Silva is back to his best, and with Manchester City arguably at a disadvantage without a striker, his form is crucial to overcoming that hiccup. He scored the opener last weekend against Burnley as City sailed to a 2-0 win.


Manchester United: Mason Greenwood




Mason Greenwood has a couple of senior caps under his belt, but problems have plagued that time. Injuries have struck, while the Iceland incident on national duty wasn't helpful either. This season, he's shot out of the blocks quickly. He spearheaded the attack before Ronaldo's arrival and scored in all three games, including an equaliser against Southampton and winner against Wolves. His scorcher against Leicester is further evidence that United can build around him. With United flattering to deceive, Solskjaer would do well to heed that.


Newcastle United: Sean Longstaff


There's not a lot that has gone right for Newcastle other than the success of their takeover. Allan Saint-Maximin is the one shining light who leaves spectators exhilarated, and creates goals. One positive that may be considered is Sean Longstaff. A couple of years back, Manchester United were being linked with a 50 million move for the older Longstaff brother, but last season was a step in the wrong direction. He is playing regularly again, and is doing a good job. Whoever takes over from Steve Bruce now, Longstaff has a case for continued involvement.


Norwich City: Mathias Normann




The Premier League is eight games in, and Norwich City already look doomed. That is not a good look for the Championship winners. Mathias Normann has added some quality in midfield. Along with Gilmour and Lees-Melou, he has made the midfield look better. The matches against Burnley and Brighton earned Norwich their first points, and hopefully, that is the start of something more. Normann is certainly going to be a crucial cog of the side, and with his help, Norwich may yet do something this season.


Southampton: Valentino Livramento


Before the season began, Valentino Livramento was an 18-year old Chelsea academy graduate without any senior football under his belt. He chose to join Southampton, however, and it has turned out to be a great move. He has started all eight games, even ousting Kyle Walker-Peters, who was one of the Saints' better players last season. The full-back even won a penalty for the equaliser against his boyhood club. Chelsea have a buy-back clause for Livramento, and they will certainly be using it soon enough.


Tottenham Hotspur: Tanguy Ndombele


For a while, it seemed like Tanguy Ndombele would leave Tottenham. The club record signing is a quality player, but is often plagued by inconsistencies. Much like Bernardo Silva, Ndombele did not get his move, but is now reintegrated into the side. He brings a certain set of qualities that no one else in the squad can provide. Excellent goals against Wolves in the EFL Cup and Newcastle in the Premier League are a demonstration of his all-round abilities.


Watford: Emmanuel Dennis


Emmanuel Dennis Premier League

Emmanuel Dennis started the season with a bang, scoring in Watford's win over Aston Villa. Things haven't gone so well since, and Xisco Munoz lost his job for that. Dennis, still, is one of Watford's best players so far, and his goalscoring prowess will be important if Watford are to extend their stay in the top flight beyond this season. Dennis is a player who has played in the Champions League as well, so he brings big-game experience to the table.


West Ham United: Said Benrahma


Said Benrahma did not look like a 20 million signing last season. He wasn't good enough, and it reflected in Moyes' team selections as the Algerian was often left on the bench. All that is now in the past, and Benrahma looks every bit the player advertised when West Ham went on to sign him from Brentford. His performances have added a different layer to their attack, and that's covered for their inability to sign Jesse Lingard on a permanent transfer. With European football in the mix now, Benrahma's form is ever more crucial for the Hammers.


Wolves: Hwang Hee-Chan


Premier League

Hwang Hee-Chan did not perform as expected at Leipzig. Essentially Haaland's replacement in Salzburg, big things were expected from Hwang. The move to Wolves might just work out for him, though. He has impressed so far, particularly in Wolves' 2-1 win over Newcastle, where he scored both. With Jimenez still struggling a little after returning from his head injury, Hwang's finishing is important. Wolves are getting back to form now, coming off three losses in the first three games. They will hope for much more from Hwang.