Premier League football is back at the forefront of our minds with the new season well underway. A new season often provides a fresh start and several players have made the most of a clean slate during the current campaign.
Whether returning to form, enjoying increased opportunities, or hitting a purple patch around goal, these five players have been given an extra lease of life during the opening weeks of the 2023/24 season.
Five Premier League players given a new lease of life this season:
Ange Postecoglou has wasted no time in becoming a popular figure at Tottenham, the doubts that greeted his initial appointment replaced by excitement after an unbeaten start to the campaign.
The Australian’s front-footed philosophy even saw chairman Daniel Levy claim the club had ‘got our Tottenham back’ this week, after the uninspiring football served up in search of instant success under Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho.
Key to Postecoglou’s strong start has been Yves Bissouma, who endured a difficult first season at Spurs as the midfielder struggled for favour. This season Bissouma has bounced back, with his press resistance a central part of Postecoglou’s plan in midfield.
Yves Bissouma amongst midfielders in the Premier League so far this season [rank]:
27 tackles + interceptions [🥇]
11 interceptions [🥇]
11 tackles won [🥈]
11 dribbles completed [=🥈]
What a start to the season. 🦾 pic.twitter.com/ICEPj677h1
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) September 15, 2023
Bissouma has been dominant in duels and effective in and out possession, regaining the ball prolifically and progressing it forward with confident carries.
Having attracted interest from the Premier League’s elite for his ball-winning at Brighton, Bissouma is now showing the sort of form that saw him so highly coveted. No player in the division has made more tackles and interceptions combined.
Alphonse Areola has had to be patient for his chance at West Ham, with the club’s loyalty to veteran shot-stopper Lukasz Fabianski having largely restricted Areola’s minutes to cup competition across the last two seasons.
The 30-year-old has been named as the Hammers’ first choice for the new season and has taken his chance in a strong start for David Moyes’ team. Areola ranks second in the Premier League for saves and high claims, while ranking third among top-flight goalkeepers for punches.
🧤 Alphonse Areola made 10 saves for West Ham against Manchester City on Saturday, a record in a Premier League match this season pic.twitter.com/RTj3EVcnOd
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) September 17, 2023
Exceptional performances in wins over Chelsea and Brighton have contributed to West Ham’s impressive start, while the Frenchman ensured the score was kept down during the recent defeat to champions Manchester City at the London Stadium.
“I’m just trying to give my best in every game,” Areola said in a recent interview with the club’s official website.
“I’m here for that and I’ve worked all my life for that, so I’m enjoying being here to help the team. That’s my main thing – to enjoy it.”
It might seem a strange take to suggest Julian Alvarez has been given a new lease of life this season, given the forward celebrated treble success with Manchester City and a World Cup win with Argentina just last season.
Alvarez, however, failed to nail down a regular role in Pep Guardiola’s side and despite a healthy return of 17 goals in all competitions, spent much of the campaign in a support role to Erling Haaland.
That has changed this time around, with the 23-year-old having started each of City’s six games so far this season, in which he has returned four goals and three assists.
Julian Alvarez has been Man City’s main man this season 🔥 pic.twitter.com/vWo0XXSy14
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) September 19, 2023
Kevin De Bruyne’s injury and Ilkay Gundogan’s exit have opened up opportunity for Alvarez, who has shone in a role operating off Haaland. The Argentine has been granted licence to drop deep, drift wide, or roam ahead of City’s Norwegian number nine.
Guardiola went as far as to call Alvarez ‘almost undroppable’ given his performances this season, a statement that came before the forward’s match-winning Champions League brace against Red Star Belgrade.
“He is so young, what a signing the club has done from Argentina,” Guardiola said this week.
“He has everything, fighting, goals, assists. An incredible lovely guy, playing behind Erling is an incredible threat. Really pleased for him because he deserves it.
“Last season we had Kevin and Gundogan in that position, he [Gundogan] was in incredible form. Sometimes was difficult to find spaces but I never had a doubt. With Gundo gone and Kevin is injured so we need players to be close to Erling. Don’t put all the responsibility on the shoulders of Erling to score goals.”
Pedro Neto’s career has stalled in recent seasons at Wolves, with injury issues having slowed the progress of a winger who looked a real star in the making not so long ago.
Neto has recovered from that challenging period to provide a reminder of his capabilities, starting the season in spectacular form for Wolves.
The 23-year-old leads the Premier League for chances created (17) and ranks second for big chances created (4), an impressive feat in a Wolves side who have long been one of the more goal-shy sides in the division.
Neto has provided four assists, the joint-highest figure in the division alongside Mohamed Salah, in just five appearances, a total already more than the winger managed across the last two Premier League campaigns combined.
Pedro Neto’s season by numbers so far:
🏟️ 5 games
🏃 5.6 ball recoveries per game
🅰️ 4 assists
🪄 4 big chances created
🔑 3.4 key passes per game
🕺 2.6 dribbles completed per game
Excellent start to the season. ⚡ pic.twitter.com/sB3hT1S8AI
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) September 18, 2023
Neto tormented Liverpool right-back Joe Gomez during the recent clash between the teams at Molineux and has shown signs of the talent which placed him on the recruitment radar of top teams pre-injuries.
Odsonne Edouard has had a modest first couple of seasons in the Premier League. The Frenchman was a firm favourite at Celtic after a prolific period north of the border, where he scored 88 goals in 179 games and twice finished as the Scottish Premiership’s top scorer.
That record has not been replicated since swapping Parkhead for Crystal Palace, however. He scored six goals in his first Premier League campaign and five last year, a disappointing return given the £14m fee that took him to South London.
However, things appear to have clicked during the opening weeks of the campaign with Edouard having scored five goals in six games, including four in the Premier League. Only Erling Haaland has outscored the 25-year-old, who is nestled nicely in the pack of players trying to keep pace with the Manchester City machine.
Palace are in the infancy of a new era post-Wilfried Zaha and Edouard’s purple patch has raised optimism the Eagles can cope without their long-time talisman.
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