The Premier League roars back into life this weekend with sides in the top-flight having been granted an impromptu mid-season break.
Last weekend’s fixtures were postponed following the sad news of Queen Elizabeth II’s death. However, teams are now set to take to the pitch once more with the storylines and drama of the Premier League sure to enthrall supporters once more.
It has certainly been an intriguing start to the season with the likes of Erling Haaland, Aleksandr Mitrovic and Gabriel Jesus all stealing the headlines. With some teams still not yet able to return, Mirror Sport takes a look at those players who might not have received the acclaim that they deserve and will certainly be hoping to this weekend.
A regular fixture in many a fantasy Premier League team last term, Portuguese goalkeeper Jose Sa has kept up his impressive performance levels this term despite his side not quite having managed to do the same.
Wolves have won just one of their opening six games of the campaign thus far, but Sa has three clean sheets to his name already and will certainly be looking to match the 11 Premier League shutouts he earned last term.
The Portuguese also has a respectable 17 saves to his name this season and will be hoping that his displays help Bruno Lage’s men rise up the table between now and the World Cup.
From one Portuguese to another, 27-year-old midfielder Palhinha arrived at Fulham from Sporting earlier this summer for £20m and he immediately looks at home in the Premier League.
He leads the statistics for successful tackles in the top-flight having made 30 and is now a dominant presence in the heart of midfield at Craven Cottage.
Whilst his defensive duties cannot be doubted, Palhinha – who has started every Premier League game so far – has also been useful on an attacking front having scored in what could be a vital win over Brentford last month.
Whilst Sa has garnered praise for his displays for Wolves this season, equally deserving of acclaim this season is centre-back Kilman. Having been slowly introduced into the starting XI over the last few seasons, the 25-year-old now looks an automatic pick following the summer departures of Conor Coady and Willy Boly.
He has certainly lived up to the billing as well. Kilman has played every minute of Wolves’ campaign this far and has racked up some eye-catching statistics. The defender is among the most consistent passers in the league alongside defensive colleague Nathan Collins.
It remains to be seen if he can continue his promising form and potentially force himself into contention for the England squad for the upcoming World Cup.
Southhampton’s Kyle Walker-Peters is also among those who will be hoping to earn more international recognition having enjoyed an excellent start to the season with the Saints.The former Tottenham man has really sharpened his defensive instincts down on the south coast having played every single minute of the campaign under Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Whilst he is yet to help Southampton to a clean sheet so far this season, he has been proven effective at the other end, scoring in the 2-2 draw against Leeds United last month.
While Tottenham have invested heavily on defenders over recent seasons – with the permanent signing of Cristian Romero their latest dip in the transfer market – Eric Dier remains a consistent and reliable figure for Antonio Conte.
The 45-time England international has played every single minute of Spurs’ opening six Premier League fixtures, which has seen them go undefeated.
Speaking last season about Dier’s performance, Conte said: “He’s working very hard and in this moment he’s one of the best defenders in the league. He has also big space to improve his performance and his quality and to become a stronger and stronger player.”
He has certainly done that this term having earned a recall to the England squad and looks likely to be a pivotal player for the North Londoners for the remainder of the coming season.
Whisper it quietly but the much-maligned Granit Xhaka is having a very good season for table-toppers Arsenal. Of course, his more attacking colleagues such as Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard are getting the vast majority of the plaudits but the Swiss midfielder has been key to Arsenal’s excellent start to the new season.
The former Borussia Monchengladbach star has played every single minute of the season for the Gunners and has surprisingly only been booked once so far.
He has also displayed his attacking talents during the early weeks of the campaign with a goal and two assists in the league to his name. Xhaka was also trusted to captain the Gunners once more in their Europa League victory over FC Zurich last week – a sign of the impressive turnaround that he has managed to stage at the Emirates Stadium over the last few months.