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Five surprise packages of the season so far

In a refreshing change from the often predictable nature of modern football, the opening weeks of the Premier League has thrown up its fair share of shocks and surprises.

Whilst Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool appear to have picked up from where they left off last season, the rest of the division – both players and teams – have seemingly moved away from the status quo.

Here are the five surprise packages of the season so far:

Tammy Abraham

The Chelsea forward has spent the past three seasons harnessing his game out on loan, enjoying productive spells at Bristol City, Swansea and Aston Villa as he patiently awaited an opportunity at Stamford Bridge.

Though undoubtedly a player with potential, many would have wondered whether the academy graduate would be able to cut it at his parent club in the pressured environment of the Premier League.

Chelsea’s transfer-ban and the arrival of club legend Frank Lampard has seen the club’s impressive academy finally come to fruition, with Abraham shining brightest of the batch of starlets given their first-team chance under the new management.

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His impact has been remarkable, the 22-year-old currently leading the standings for the Golden Boot alongside Manchester City‘s Sergio Aguero after netting eight goals in just eight league appearances.

A first Champions League goal also got the club’s European campaign up and running, whilst he has been rewarded for his performances with a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

Abraham has been likened to former favourite Didier Drogba for his displays so far, and should the youngster continue to improve he could be a fixture in the Chelsea side for seasons to come.

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Crystal Palace

Whilst high-flying Leicester were heavily fancied as the side most likely to push the division’s top six, few expected Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace side to be mixing it with the Premier League’s elite.

Many Palace fans were left disgruntled by the Eagles lack of significant summer investment, especially give the club’s coffers were boosted by the sale of Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Manchester United, and while they club kept hold of Wilfried Zaha, few expected Palace to be pushing towards the top half.

However, Hodgson’s side have quietly enjoyed an impressive start to the new campaign, with impressive away wins at Manchester United and West Ham helping lift the side to sixth heading into the international break.

Level on points with fourth-placed Leicester and Frank Lampard’s Chelsea side, Palace will hope to continue their early season momentum ahead of the festive schedule.

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Teemu Pukki

The Finnish forward’s goals may have slowed slightly in recent weeks, but there can be no denying that last season’s Championship Player of the Year had adjusted seamlessly to the step-up to Premier League level.

The 29-year-old has scored six times and provided two assists already for Daniel Farke’s side, being named Premier League Player of the Month for August, who will hope Pukki can continue to fire as they bid to move away from the bottom three.

Celtic fans must be left wondering whether this is really the same player who struggled to make an impact in Scottish football, Pukki having thrived since a forgettable single season in Glasgow six years ago.

Norwich and Pukki have shown they are capable of troubling the best in the division – their 3-2 win over champions Manchester City being a case in point – though they will have to show consistency to maintain their top flight status.

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Sheffield United

The Premier League’s newly-promoted sides tend to start as favourites for an immediate return to the second tier, with Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United side beginning the season as rank outsiders to survive given Norwich’s status as Championship winners and fellow new-boys Aston Villa’s summer spending spree.

However, it is the South Yorkshire outfit who have begun the new season most impressively, currently sitting in 13th and level on points with Manchester United.

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Wilder has developed a reputation as one of the country’s best emerging coaches, and has stuck to his innovative tactical approach as he seeks to establish the club at the top level.

Having recruited largely from the second tier as he looked to bolster his squad during the summer, Wilder has been unable to compete with larger clubs in the transfer market, though his ability to extract the most from his squad has worked so far.

Only league leaders Liverpool have conceded fewer than Sheffield United’s seven goals so far, and their defensive strength will prove crucial in their bid to avoid the drop.

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Mason Mount

Another of Chelsea’s emerging crop of talent to be thriving under the guidance of Frank Lampard, Mount returned to Stamford Bridge this summer following a productive season on loan at Derby County and has enjoyed a start to the season that will have exceeded even his wildest expectations.

The 20-year-old has made himself as one of the very first names on Lampard’s team sheet, keeping more experienced and established teammates out of the side and scoring four times from midfield already in the Premier League.

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His form has been rewarded by earning his first caps for the senior England side, and he could be the creative midfield talent Gareth Southgate has been searching for.

Mount has spoken of his delight at working under Lampard – one of the country’s great goalscoring midfield players – and the academy graduate is likely to continue to flourish under the guidance of the Chelsea boss.

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