The start of the 2020-21 Premier League season has lived up to the expectation in terms of uncertainty and shock value that have been synonymous with the English top-flight. The traditional top 4/6 have not been as dominant as many people expected them to be, despite spending millions and millions.
There have been a few surprise packages like Aston Villa, Leicester City, and Everton. Leeds United, under mercurial manager Marcelo Bielsa, have played fearless football and impressed everyone, but the same can’t be said about Fulham and West Bromwich Albion, who were also promoted with the Whites to the Premier League.
There have been a few standout performers from the teams that were promoted earlier this year.
Let’s take a look at 5 promoted players who have impressed till Matchday 4.
Kalvin Phillips has been touted for big things for quite a while now, and there was even talk that he would leave the club sometime last year. The Englishman has been able to show his incredible vision and work ethic in the Premier League with Leeds, and he has been an integral player in Leeds’ solid performances.
The Whites midfielder is an exceptional passer, long or short, while he also provides a firm shield to the back four. Phillips earned a call-up to the England national team earlier this year and if he keeps up his good form, he could be a starter for England next year at Euro 2020.
West Bromwich Albion have had very little to be cheerful about since being promoted to the Premier League. They have lost three of their four Premier League games while letting a 3-0 lead slip in their 3-3 draw against Chelsea.
The man who impressed most for the Baggies in that exciting match against the Blues was forward Callum Robinson. The 25-year-old drove at the Chelsea defence and put them under pressure, grabbing two goals to help West Brom to a 3-0 lead at half-time. He has scored just those two goals this season, but showed what he is capable of, and will be a key player for his side this season.
Patrick Bamford has been roundly criticised by pundits and fans over the last two seasons at Leeds United for his inability to finish off chances. Bamford has silenced his critics to an extent this season though by scoring three goals in four appearances and has kept his place in the starting XI despite the signing of Spain international Rodrigo.
Bamford plays a very important part in the execution of Bielsa’s tactics as the Englishman is tasked with the duty of pressing high up the pitch, which he does effectively.
Fulham are rock bottom in the Premier League and are the favourites to go down this season. They have lost all four of their Premier League games, and have not looked even close to getting a win in any of the games apart from the 4-3 loss to Leeds United.
In this match, their star striker Aleksandar Mitrovic scored twice, giving the Cottagers some hope. He has, by far, been their best player this season so far, despite scoring just twice in his three starts. If Fulham can sort out their defence and put in early balls to Mitrovic, they have a chance of competing.
It wouldn’t have been a surprise to see just Leeds United players on this list given their impressive start to the season. The Whites’ aggressive pressing, possession-oriented football has worked wonders so far. The style employed by Bielsa requires his players to be supremely fit, due to the running they are expected to do – with or without the ball.
One man who has been very impressive for them is right-back Luke Ayling, who has looked threatening on the overlap, putting in crosses and even drifting into the penalty box. Ayling’s energy, work-rate, and determination to bomb forward at every opportunity have already caused a lot of problems to opposition defences this season.