Ranked! The 8 best Premier League newcomers this season
8. Neil Etheridge (Cardiff)
Two penalty saves in his first two Premier League appearances wasn’t a bad start to life in the top flight and, given the circuitous route Etheridge has taken to get here, hopefully it’s been worth waiting for.
A Philippines international, he was actually playing in front of 90,000 fans before he was even a Football League regular but, having arrived at Cardiff as a nominal back-up in 2017, his career has really taken off. Neil Warnock’s side are going to struggle this year, that much is clear, but Etheridge has already shown himself to be a fine keeper with a more than useful set of reflexes.
Warnock will need the 28-year-old's form to continue behind a side who don’t look likely to score a lot of goals.
7. Joao Moutinho (Wolves)
Imagine what he'd be like if he was in his prime. Moutinho was a known commodity in European football; he was part of that excellent Monaco side which went within a game of the Champions League final in 2016/17, but he’s made a very quick adjustment to English football. He's proven to be exactly as advertised.
The pace of the game is quicker here, but the 32-year-old seems to have as much time on the ball as he ever did. Wolves are a very neat, very expressive side, and Moutinho’s ability to cut lines and ping passes to the touchline enables much of that. They play with great pace and with a breathless intent on the counterattack and, without Moutinho, it would look nearly so fluid.
Currently, his floated cross-field ball is the prettiest sight in the whole of English football.
6. Jorginho (Chelsea)
In all likelihood, his true worth won’t be seen until Chelsea settle into life under Maurizio Sarri. They’re playing well and remain unbeaten, but there’s clearly some room to grow and Jorginho is intended to be the centre point around which that evolution is supposed to happen.
Nevertheless, he already looks worth every penny of Chelsea’s £50m investment. Sarri continues to have a few issues at the top of the pitch, caught as he is between Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud, but the supply of possession from midfield has really never been better and the route out of defence never more clear.
A gorgeous footballer, Jorginho is set to glow ever brighter as the other components settle around him.
5. Rui Patricio (Wolves)
Patricio almost snuck into Molineux over the summer, signed on a free transfer following the mess at Sporting Lisbon. What an impact he’s made though, looking every inch an international goalkeeper with 75 caps.
As with any keeper though, his influence is really seen in the collective: the goal scored by Fred at Old Trafford was the first Wolves had conceded in almost a month and, barring some early sloppiness against Everton and Leicester, they’ve looked bar far the most secure of all the promoted sides. In fact, only three teams in the division (all of them inside the top three) have a better defensive record.
Excellent goalkeeping breeds stability; nowhere is there a better example of that.