The 10 Premier League players who’ve surprised us most so far this season
Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool)
Sturridge’s Liverpool career looked all but over six months ago. An injury-plagued couple of years and subsequent goalless loan spell with West Brom at the end of last season led to the Englishman being heavily linked with a move away from Anfield during the summer. He was, after all, clear second (or even third) choice behind Liverpool’s solidified front three.
But after an excellent pre-season which thrilled Jurgen Klopp, the 29-year-old hitman has re-established himself as a fan favourite on Merseyside and and kept himself well within his manager’s plans.
Four goals so far this term, including the late stunner which earned Liverpool a point at Stamford Bridge (and Sturridge the Premier League's September goal-of-the-month gong), makes him the Reds’ top scorer alongside Sadio Mané.
Luke Shaw (Man United)
Not much good has happened at Manchester United this season. Ninth in the table, already out of the League Cup and with Jose Mourinho seemingly unable to find harmony with his players, the red mist is descending upon Old Trafford.
One silver lining in the dark skies has been the form of left-back Shaw, however. This time last year, the Englishman hadn’t played a Premier League game (and didn’t until December 13), and seemed destined for a move away from United.
Slowly but surely things changed, and the 23-year-old’s dynamic and energetic performances this season have helped him reclaim his spot as the club’s first-choice left-back ahead of Ashley Young and Marcos Rojo. Shaw was named United’s player of the month for August, recalled to the England squad for the first time in well over a year and has a new contract waiting for him to sign. Quite the upturn.
Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham)
After helping fire Fulham to promotion last term with 12 goals in 17 games on loan, it was hoped that the burly Serb would transfer his fine form to the top flight.
Mitrovic’s previous record with Newcastle suggested caution was required – he scored just 13 times in 59 games across first and second tiers with the Magpies – but having managed five goals already this term, the 24-year-old is finally showing why his former club were right to pay £13m for him in 2015.
Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic appears to have soothed Mitrovic’s bad temper, and in turn made him a real asset to the Cottagers’ cause. The west Londoners only made his move permanent in the summer, but that hasn’t stopped January links with local rivals Chelsea. Hmm.
Glenn Murray (Brighton)
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Murray may be 35, but he’s arguably in the form of his life right now. The striker didn’t make his first Premier League appearance until February 2014, and his best ever goal tally in the top flight came last year when he managed 12, but the veteran is already well on course to beat that this time around.
With five goals already, Murray is the Premier League’s second-highest scorer behind Eden Hazard, and level on goals with Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero and Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Perhaps more importantly, however, Murray is the master of scoring ‘big goals’ – his strikes having earned Brighton five points already, more than half their total so far.
Matt Doherty (Wolves)
It’s been a fortnight to remember for Wolves’s right-back. The 26-year-old scored his first Premier League goal in their 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, made his first start for Ireland against Denmark in the UEFA Nations League, and was voted PFA Fans’ Player of the Month for September.
Doherty scooped 39% of the vote to beat the likes of Aguero, Hazard and Alexandre Lacazette to the prize after Wolves enjoyed an unbeaten month in the top flight.
His strike against Palace, as well as the two assists he registered during the month, helped him become the first Irishman in history to win the award. For a player who’s been at Wolves since 2010 and survived their new revolution, that’s some going.
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