The 2020-21 Premier League season has been full of surprises, most notably a number of different teams topping the table at one point or another so far. As things stand, Leicester City sit at the top despite a horrendous injury list. But the likes of Southampton, Everton, Aston Villa and Spurs have impressed more than most would have predicted and each have had their turn toward the very top. Much has been made about the success of these teams, but perhaps certain individuals within these teams have gone a bit under the radar. As a result, this article attempts to uncover the eleven best surprise performers of the season so far, that have helped their teams to better times in 2020-21. Here is our Surprising Performers Premier League XI after the first eight games.
The common opinion on Arsenal these days is that they have massively improved under Mikel Arteta and that better times must be ahead. The manager's been given the benefit of the doubt so far in his time at the helm of the Emirates, but other than an FA Cup win, there hasn't been too much to celebrate for Arsenal fans since Arteta took charge. The Gunners have been lackluster to start this season, particularly in front of goal, which is always going to be a problem given that their primary dilemma over the past decade has been at the other end of the pitch. With a few key additions in Gabriel and Thomas Partey, Arsenal could be set for another season in the top six. But they have a massive job to do to get there, especially given the topsy-turvy start to this Premier League season, and their own personal woes to start the campaign. The Gunners currently sit 11th in the table, with a goal differential of -1. But still, many believe Arteta is the right man for the job and that better times are ahead. So with that, here is our Tactical Analysis of Mikel Arteta's Arsenal.
After missing out on Champions League football on the final day of the 2019-20 season, many might have thought Leicester City's early season form of last year might just have been a stroke of good fortune and nothing more. But their stellar play has continued at the start of 2020-21 and other than a few disappointing losses to West Ham and Aston Villa, the Foxes have been flying high to start this campaign. After eight matches, Brendan Rodgers' side sit top of the table, with six wins so far. Significantly, they've experimented with different formations and a host of different, less luxurious players in the absence of talents like Ricardo Pereira, Wilfred Ndidi, James Maddison and of course Ben Chilwell, who left for Chelsea. Their impressive form after missing out on Champions League football last year definitely deserves further examination, so here is our early season tactical analysis of Brendan Rodgers' Leicester City in 2020-21.
The 2019-20 Premier League season was Arsenal's worst in twenty-five years. Not since 1995 had the Gunners finished below 8th place in the table and even under the leadership of Mikel Arteta, their form was inconsistent at best. Despite Arteta's tactical nuisances and potential to be a world class manager, Arsenal fans may be feeling skeptical going into the 2020-2021 season knowing that things have gotten worse, rather than better, since Arsene Wenger left the club. Even their FA Cup final victory over Chelsea did little to lift the fans' spirit and their lack of Premier League success has had an impact on their ability to attract top quality players in this summer's transfer window thus far. With all that said, Arsenal are still an incredibly interesting outfit and Mikel Arteta will undoubtedly prove to be a tactician worth examining throughout 2020-2021. To kick off our new Transfer Market Analysis Series, we discuss who Mikel Arteta may look to bring in to strengthen his team and achieve greater success in 2020-21.
In a team full of superstars, 22-year old Oleksandr Zinchenko often does not get the credit he deserves in Manchester City's back-line. This is in part due to simply not being a big name player, having come from the academy at Shakhtar Donestk rather than one of Europe's more illustrious outfits. But the Ukrainian left-back has been a key component to Manchester City's success with little recognition.
Although the past few weeks has seen a slight dip in form, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hit the ground running with Manchester United in 2019. After taking over for Jose Mourinho at the end of December, Solskjaer has won 15 of his 22 matches, which equates to a win percentage of nearly 70%. But in nearly every position on the pitch, it is very evident that upgrades are needed. It is unquestionable that Manchester United need to freshen up their squad in the summer and they should look no further than these five players in order to do that.