EPL 2016/17: Five Surprise Players That Could Illuminate The League


The 2015-16 season of the Premier League was full of surprises. Leicester City carried out arguably the greatest giant-killing act in history by shocking one and all to lift the Premier League trophy.

Traditional powerhouses like Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool struggled for consistency all season long and failed to finish in the top 4 spot to qualify for the Champions League. Even Manchester City with all their resources barely limped through to finish in the fourth place.

The season saw many players surprise the world with their exceptional performances. One doesn’t need to look any further than the brilliant Leicester trio of Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N’golo Kante who led Leicester to the title with their exceptional performances, becoming household names.

N’golo Kante has used this opportunity to join Chelsea in a big-money move, with Mahrez being heavily linked with Arsenal. Jamie Vardy could have joined Arsenal but ended up rejecting the move to stay at Leicester.

Another example of exceptional performances by surprising players was Dimitri Payet at West Ham United. The playmaker’s exceptional display has made him a West Ham icon, a household name and a key player in the French national set-up.

Let’s take a look at the five players who could end up being household names at the end of the 2016-17 campaign:

Demarai Gray –  Leicester CityDemarai Gray

Demarai Gray has been regarded as one of the best young attacking English prospects in recent times, and it’s easy to see why. The right footed wide man has all the attributes expected of a modern day wide attacker.

He has terrifying pace, good dribbling skills, excellent technique and an eye for a goal. He can also operate with equal ease on both the flanks.

Breaking into the first team of Birmingham City at the tender age of 17, he joined Leicester City in January. His impact in the first six months of his Leicester career has been evident, mostly coming on as an impact substitute and stretching play with his pace and providing width.

He has also acted as an effective tool to keep up the pressure on the opposition fullbacks after Riyad Mahrez was tiring in the latter stages of the game.

After getting off to a flying start, Gray would be expected to take his game to the next level, gradually becoming a starter and adding a genuine goal threat to his game.

If Mahrez ends up leaving, his time could come sooner, and with his abilities, he could well end up being the breakthrough star of the 2015-16 season.

Marko Arnautovic – Stoke CityMarko_Arnautovic

Marko Arnautovic’s ability as a player has never been in question, his attitude always has been. One of the most talented players of Austria’s current golden generation, Arnautovic has always had the ability to win a match single-handedly.

It finally seems that he has started maturing under the tutelage of Mark Hughes, being their talisman and their top scorer with 12 goals in 40 appearances.

After a very good season, he was heavily linked with a move to PSG and Everton but has ended up making the right move for his career by signing a contract extension at Stoke City.

With the contract saga now behind him, Arnautovic could kick on, mesmerising the Premier League with his undoubted quality and realising his so far unfulfilled potential. One to look out for.

Idrissa Gueye – EvertonIdrissa Gueye

Everton’s £7.1m transfer for Idrissa Gueye could well turn out to be the steal of this summer’s transfer window. Gueye could well turn out to be Everton’s very own N’golo Kante.

Playing in a desperate Aston Villa team last season, Gueye still stood out to be one of the most standout statistical performers in the Premier League.

He finished second only to Kante in the number of interceptions made during the entire duration of the campaign. At Everton, he would be surrounded by infinitely better players and has one of the best managers in the league, Ronald Koeman to guide him. In turn,

Everton gets exactly what they lacked during their last campaign, steel and tenacity in the midfield. With a brilliant manager in Koeman with funds to spend, Everton will be one of the teams to watch out for this upcoming season, with Gueye possibly ending up as one of the best midfield performers in the league.

Yannick Bolasie –  Crystal PalaceYannick Bolasie

Over the past couple of seasons, Bolasie has been one of the most breathtaking as well as frustrating players to watch in the Premier League.

On his day, he can blast away opposition defenders with his pace, power and direct play only to disappear for large chunks of the season and then emerge again for a couple of games.

This could finally be the season in which he refines his game and adds consistency to it. If he manages to do that, he will be a massive headache for defenders all over the league, and one of those can’t miss watching players. Crystal Palace would be certainly hopeful of such a scenario.

Ahmed Musa – Leicester CityAhmed Musa

Leicester City has an excellent scouting system in place, and they certainly weren’t fools to part with a club record £16.6m for pacy Nigerian forward Ahmed Musa.

Able to operate as a winger or a central striker, Ahmed Musa is one of the quickest players in the world. He will fit in perfectly with Claudio Ranieri’s counter-attacking philosophy.

Opposing teams will have quite a task on their hands to handle the pace of Musa and Vardy on the counter. If Vardy and Musa click together, they could well turn out to be the best centre-forward pairing in the Premier League.

Musa has all the qualities to be a modern day centre forward. He is a small lad, but has deadly pace, exceptional movement, good finishing technique along with the great versatility to his game.

If he improves his goal scoring ratio, he could well turn out to be a gem of a player. Claudio Ranieri is the perfect manager to extract the best out of Musa and refine his game.


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