In the latest of our ever-growing list of weekly features, we take a look at the five Premier League players who are most valuable to their club’s chances of success this season.
Players have been selected with the weighting focused most heavily on their overall importance to their team and their current form.
Eden Hazard – Chelsea
Despite only starting two games so far in the Premier League the mercurial Hazard already has two goals and one assist to his name. It simply cannot be underestimated how important it was for Chelsea to keep the 27-year-old out of the clutches of Real Madrid this summer, as he is their only world class attacking player and has developed into the Stamford Bridge outfits talisman in recent years,
Hazard is a joy to watch with the ball at his feet and with the added freedom new Blues Maurizio Sarri will afford him he looks set to terrorise defences throughout the Premier League again this year. The Belgium international summed it up perfectly himself after his sides latest victory over Bournemouth when he said: ”When I play well, the team plays well.’’
Aleksandar Mitrovic – Fulham
Serbia striker Mitrovic’s goals were one of the main reasons Fulham were promoted to the Premier League and in all honesty the quantity he scores this season will probably be the main factor in whether the Cottagers survive in the top flight.
The initial signs are good for Fulham coach Slavisa Jokanovic, with the 23-year-old having found the net four times in his first four outings this season. Mitrovic looks a different player in terms of sharpness and all-round footballing ability to the striker we saw under Rafa Benitez at Newcastle, and his scoring record since he left the North East is simply sensational…
Since his Fulham debut in February, Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored more goals in English league football than any other player 🔥🔥🔥
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) September 1, 2018
Romelu Lukaku – Manchester United
Big Rom may have quite rightly copped a lot of flak for his terrible opening goal miss against Spurs recently, but he responded well last weekend when he destroyed Burnley’s defence on his way to a matching winning brace. Lukaku is far from perfect and he will need to improve on the 16 Premier League goals he scored last season to start to justify his £75 million price tag, but having just turned 25 and with well over 200 career goals he probably deserves a little more respect than he gets at times.
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has always liked his teams to line up with a big physical forward playing as a lone striker and quite simply beyond Lukaku the Portuguese coach has very few options to fulfil this role at Old Trafford.
Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool
Plenty of eyebrows were raised when Liverpool splashed out £75 million to bring Dutch centre-back Van Dijk to Anfield from Southampton last January. However, Jurgen Klopp’s side have improved immeasurably defensively due to presence of the 27-year-old and it is this improvement just as much as the Reds attacking brilliance that sees them being tipped as the team most likely to challenge Manchester City for the Premier League crown.
Van Dijk’s mere presence at the back for Liverpool has filled the rest of his team with confidence and he seems to have that unique quality of bringing the best out of those around him that only the most elite of players have. If Liverpool are to finally break their trophy drought this season keeping Van Dijk fit is absolutely crucial.
Wilfried Zaha – Crystal Palace
Zaha is the only player on this list who didn’t feature last week, but his unavailability for his sides clash against Southampton at Selhurst Park only proved to underline his importance for the Eagles. Palace duly lost 2-0 against Mark Hughes side, meaning the South London club have now not won a game when their talismanic winger Zaha has not been available since September 2016. Now that lads is what you call a one man team.
Don’t forget to check out our Premier League Team Of The Week.