Who have been the top-rated players to have only arrived in the Premier League this season? WhoScored bring you the best XI made up of new signings, young debutants and promoted players.
Over the last week of fixtures in the Premier League fans have had the opportunity to cast a keen eye on the January recruits in England’s top tier, hoping to have unearthed the next N’Golo Kante rather than Eder or Thauvin.
While a handful signed last month have made encouraging starts, however, they will do well to better the performances of a number of those to make their Premier League debuts this season. In this piece WhoScored.com reveal their best XI of players without experience of England’s top-flight ahead of the campaign, starting with one enforced exception.
Jack Butland, Stoke (6.94 rating)
Having made just five Premier League starts ahead of the current season, Butland makes the XI due to the lack of newcomers between the sticks thus far. The 22-year old’s ability to make the step up at Stoke following the sale of Asmir Begovic has never really looked in doubt all season, earning the third highest rating of all goalkeepers (behind Gomes and Cech) having made the most saves in the league (88).
Cedric Soares, Southampton (7.35 rating)
He may have had a very hairy moment at the end of the game against West Ham at the weekend but all in all Portuguese full-back Cedric has made an encouraging start to life in the Premier League. Stronger going forwards and at times left out against better opposition or even moved into midfield, the 24-year old has still played his part at the back, starting in each of Saints’ last five games without conceding and averaging an impressive 3.1 tackles per game.
Virgil van Dijk, Southampton (7.59 rating)
He might not have convinced every Southampton fan of his ability to effectively replace Toby Alderweireld at St. Mary’s but Van Dijk has certainly strung together a number of commendable displays. A nominee for the Premier League player of the month award last time out, the former Celtic centre-back has been a near ever-present since his arrival for a side that have now kept 11 clean sheets this season. Only defensive partner Fonte (10) and Chris Smalling (12) have helped their side to more from a starting berth at the back.
Nicolas Otamendi, Manchester City (7.44 rating)
Manchester City’s defensive record may not suggest that Nicolas Otamendi has had a strong impact at the club but the Argentine has performed admirably at times in difficult circumstances next to the likes of Mangala and Demichelis. The 27-year old showed enough in his time alongside Kompany that theirs is a partnership of promise if the Belgian can return to fitness, ranking first for the club in terms of aerial duels won (3.2), clearances (7.6) and interceptions (3.1) per game.
Christian Fuchs, Leicester (7.47 rating)
He may have had to bide his time to break into the Leicester side, starting for the first time in October, but experienced Austrian international Fuchs hasn’t looked back since. The 29-year old has shown his quality at either end, registering a third assist for the season last time out for Robert Huth’s second of the match in the top of the table battle with Manchester City, whilst averaging 3.1 tackles and 3.2 interceptions per game.
N’Golo Kante, Leicester (7.47 rating)
A player many now consider to be among the best this season, let alone of those to make a move to the Premier League in the summer, N’Golo Kante’s dynamism at the heart of the Leicester midfield has been a joy to behold. With quality on the ball as well as a tireless work rate to break up play the Frenchman has been a revelation. Ranking first in the league for both tackles and interceptions, with 102 and 103 respectively, the 24-year old will already have attracted a number of high-profile suitors.
Dele Alli, Tottenham (7.33 rating)
Rested at the weekend from the off against Watford, it took Dele Alli just three minutes to make a telling impact from the bench. His inch-perfect cross with the outside of the boot set up Kieran Trippier to score the match winner and his first for the club, taking the Englishman’s assist tally to five to accompany seven goals. Of all central midfielders only Ross Barkley (15) has had a direct hand in more (12) this season, and the teenager may well be the most exciting prospect to emerge for England since Wayne Rooney.
Manuel Lanzini, West Ham (7.26 rating)
While his season has been disrupted by a couple of injury problems West Ham fans have seen enough of Manuel Lanzini in his 14 league appearances to suggest that he will be a key player at the club should they be able to keep him. The 22-year old has not been overawed by the step up to the Premier League and has allowed his technical ability to shine through. With four goals, 2.3 successful dribbles per game and an excellent 88.8% pass accuracy the Argentine looks a real gem.
Dimitri Payet, West Ham (7.63 rating)
The highest rated player in this XI having taken to English football with consummate ease, just how long West Ham can keep hold of Dimitri Payet will be crucial to their progress under Slaven Bilic. The Frenchman has had a direct hand in 10 league goals (six goals, four assists) for the Londoners since an eye-catching move from Marseille but it’s his ability to open up play in the final third and outfox opponents that has been one of the the best additions to the Premier League. An average of 2.5 successful dribbles per game ranks among the top 10 players while 3.7 key passes is second only to Mesut Ozil.
Anthony Martial, Manchester United (7.26 rating)
Having become the most expensive teenager in football history in the summer Anthony Martial has had a lot to live up to. While it’s fair to say he hasn’t fully vindicated his price tag just yet the Frenchman has made a strong start in terms of winning over his doubters, scoring six goals and registering three assists in the Premier League thus far. Now playing predominantly from the left and cutting inside, the youngster certainly doesn’t lack confidence and has completed the fourth most dribbles (56) in the Premier League.
Troy Deeney, Watford (7.22 rating)
Completing the line-up in somewhat controversial fashion, Troy Deeney takes his spot up front (perhaps surprisingly) just ahead of team-mate Odion Ighalo (7.17 rating) as the only player in the XI not to have made a summer move. The Watford captain would no doubt have liked to have matched his strike partner’s exploits in front of goal, scoring just six times by comparison, but in playing the deeper role of the two he has been just as influential. With 6 assists to his name, more than any other Premier League striker, the unselfish 27-year old has been the perfect foil to Ighalo, winning a massive 6.1 aerial duels per game as well as creating 1.5 chances per outing.
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