The pre-season phoney wars are almost at an end as the new Premier League season edges closer.
It’s difficult to know how much stock to put in pre-season performances. Friendly results don’t always translate when the real stuff gets underway.
But nor should we ignore performances during the summer, as they can give us an inkling of who is ready to hit the ground running. Here are some of the top performers so far.
Five Premier League players who impressed in pre-season:
Bukayo Saka – 2 goals, 2 assists
The Englishman looked jaded towards the end of last season, but a well earned rest seems to have rejuvenated the 21-year-old. In 246 minutes of play he has registered two goals and two assists.
Darwin Nunez – 4 goals, 1 assist
The performances of one Darwin Nunez drew a lot of consternation last season, but he has managed to score four goals, and create one assist, in just 180 minutes of gametime this pre-season.
He’s not the only Liverpool attacker in great form right now, with Diogo Jota registering three goals and three assists, while Mohamed Salah has scored just once but provided an incredible six assists.
Elliot Anderson – 4 goals, 3 assists
Saudi-owned Newcastle United have made a lot of headlines for their transfer spending over the last two years, but this pre-season has seen one of their academy products steal the show.
Elliot Anderson is just 20 years of age, but big things are expected of the young man at St. James’ Park. He’s showing exactly why he’s so highly-rated, registering four goals and three assists during the club’s summer schedule.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) July 29, 2023
Nicolas Jackson – 2 goals, 3 assists
Christopher Nkunku has gotten off to a flying start at Chelsea with three goals in pre-season, but a knee injury means he is a major doubt for the opening week of the Premier League. Meanwhile, Nicolas Jackson, the Blues’ other big money signing in attack, has been similarly brilliant.
The Senegal international has scored two goals and provided three assists, while he has shown an encouraging understanding with Chelsea’s other attacking options. After their woes up front last season, Chelsea fans will be hoping he can continue this form throughout the year.
— Premier League (@premierleague) July 28, 2023
Ollie Watkins – 3 goals
Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins has picked up where he left off last season, when he scored 16 goals in all competitions. In 272 minutes so far he has contributed three goals, showing he hasn’t lost the scoring touch.
Villa will need him to keep it up if they are to make a run in Europe this term. Meanwhile, Watkins will be hoping another strong season can earn him a recall to the England squad.
Tielemans 🤝 Watkins link-up. 😍 pic.twitter.com/7OF2fO0uwu
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) August 4, 2023