2018-19 season rewind: Top 4 strike pairings in the Premier League outside the top-six
The 2018-19 season of the Premier League lived up to the expectations and produced some enthralling encounters, incredible individual performances, moments of sheer brilliance and pure ecstasy, as Man City successfully defended their Premier League title by fending off a strong challenge from Liverpool.
However, the most interesting thing was that the 2018-19 season proved to be the most prolific season in the history of the Premier League, with a total of 1072 goals being recorded over the course of the campaign.
Christian Eriksen’s equaliser for Spurs against Everton on the final day registered the 1067th goal of the season, eclipsing the previous record of 1066 goals scored in the 2011-12 eason.
Unsurprisingly, City were the highest scorers in the Premier League this past season with 95 goals, 11 short of what Pep Guardiola’s side had managed over the course of their triumphant 2017-18 campaign.
Liverpool were the second-best in that aspect with 89 goals, as the likes of Sadio Mane and Mo Salah shared the Golden Boot with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Salah didn’t quite manage to replicate his feat of scoring 32 goals in the Premier League but his tally of 22 for the season wasn’t bad either, and more importantly, he finished as the top-scorer alongside Mane and Aubameyang, which shows he is right up there with the very best when it comes to finding the net.
The trio of Salah, Firmino and Mane for Liverpool, Aubameyang-Lacazette for Arsenal, Heung-min Son and Harry Kane for Spurs and the title-winning combination of Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero up front for Man City all produced amazing numbers in terms of goals and assists.
However, it is definitely worth taking a look at some of the less acclaimed strike forces from the 2018-19 season of the Premier League, featuring players from outside the top-six clubs.
Leaving the heavyweights aside, here are 3 combinations that became a force to reckon with in the division last season.
1. Callum Wilson, Josh King and Ryan Fraser
Bournemouth’s leaky backline and poor defensive record might have only secured them 14th-place finish in the Premier League last season but the front trio of Callum Wilson, Joshua King and Ryan Fraser earned plenty of plaudits for their consistent, impressive displays up front.
Wilson (14 goals, 9 assists) tops the list with the most goal contributions, while the likes of Ryan Fraser (7 goals, 14 assists) and Joshua King (12 goals, 3 assists) are not far behind.
As a matter of fact, only Chelsea’s Eden Hazard bettered Fraser’s tally with 15 assists to his name. The trio contributed with a total of 33 goals in the Premier League, which accounts for 58.93% of Bournemouth’s grand total of 56 goals last season.
Fraser’s influential presence in a wide role on the left allowed Eddie Howe the luxury of using the likes of King and Wilson up front to spearhead the attack, with all the three players flourishing under the manager’s quick passing and counter-attacking philosophy.
Wilson’s stellar run of form earned him his first England cap last year, which is certainly a barometer of the kind of impact he made for the south coast club.
The 27-year-old netted a brace in the 3-0 victory over Fulham in October and was heavily involved in the 5-0 demolition of Brighton, where he claimed two assists and a goal, although his most productive outing came in the 3-3 draw against Southampton, with Wilson scoring twice and assisting another.
Bournemouth’s prolific front trio couldn’t replicate the numbers of their counterparts from Liverpool and Man City but they won a lot of hearts, nevertheless.
2. Troy Deeney and Gerard Deulofeu
A 4-1 defeat at the hands of West Ham on the final day saw Watford miss out on a top-ten finish but Javi Gracia’s side put up a number of impressive displays in the Premier League and were one of the teams to beat outside the top-six over the entirety of the campaign.
The likes of Troy Deeney and Gerard Deulofeu were the key men up front for the Hornets, as the duo chipped in with valuable goals and assists, not only in the Premier League but in the Hornets’ run to the finals of the FA Cup as well.
Deulofeu contributed with 10 goals and 5 assists while Deeney wasn’t far behind with 9 goals and 5 assists, as the duo racked up a total of 19 goals in the Premier League last season. Watford finished the campaign with a grand total of 52 goals, with Deulofeu and Deeney involved in 36.5% of that tally.
Deolufeu’s pace, trickery and movement made him a constant threat in the final third, with Deeney playing more of a target-man role as the focal point of the attack.
The Spaniard struck braces against Huddersfield Town as well as in the FA Cup semi-final against Wolves, although his hat-trick and an assist in the 5-1 humiliation of Cardiff City was his most productive outing.
Despite the duo’s best efforts, the Hornets were unlucky to miss out on the Europa League qualification spot.
3. Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood
Burnley only managed a 15th-place finish in the Premier League after hovering around the relegation zone for large quarters of the campaign and the Clarets’ scoring record of 45 goals in 38 games was the second-worst outside the bottom three, with Dyche’s side only bettering Brighton’s tally of 35 in that regard.
Well, we all know that Sean Dyche’s old-school defensive approach and long-ball philosophy doesn’t make Burnley a particularly exciting team to watch but as a matter of fact, they too had some standout performers.
While teenage sensation Dwight McNeil made the headlines in his impressive breakthrough season at Turf Moor, the likes of Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes chipped in with some crucial goals up front.
Barnes bagged 12 goals in the Premier League and finished as Burnley’s top scorer, whilst Wood also managed to hit the 10-goal mark in successive seasons.
Now, it doesn’t require a rocket scientist to justify the inclusion of Wood and Barnes in this list. The fans might argue that they aren’t the best of players to watch on the field but their combined tally of 22 goals accounted for 49.88% of the total goals Burnley scored in the Premier League last season.
4. Gylfi Sigurdsson and Richarlison
Everton finished 8th in the Premier League last season and fell three points adrift of Wolves for the Europa League qualification spot, with the lack of a prolific centre-forward proving to be a massive stumbling block in Marco Silva’s pursuit of a top-six finish.
However, Sigurdsson, who played as an auxiliary striker in that No.10 role in the manager’s 4-2-3-1 formation, put in a number of standout performances to finish as the most productive attacking player for the Toffees, with 13 goals and 6 assists to his name.
Richarlison was often drafted in as a centre-forward and also played out wide on either flank, with the Brazilian also registering 13 goals for the season.
Both the aforementioned players formed a deadly goal threat up front for Everton, with each of them registering their personal-best goal tally (13) in the Premier League.
Sigurdsson, in particular, was always a key presence in the final third with his creativity and the Icelandic international scored some absolute screamers, whilst Richarlison often tormented defences with his pace, power and clinical finishing.
Richarlison and Sigurdsson scored 26 out of Everton’s grand total of 54 goals in the Premier League last season, which comes to direct involvement in 48.15% of the goals.
3 top-class playmakers Man United should target in the January window including this red-hot Leicester star
3 No.10s Man United should target in the January window
Man United were amongst the highest-spending teams in the Premier League this summer, with the Red Devils forking out a fortune to bring in the likes of Harry Maguire, Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka as a part of their squad rebuild.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made his intentions very clear during the summer transfer window, that he is looking to build a team for the future with top-quality young talents in a bid to restore the club’s glory days that seem to have disappeared since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Indeed, the fountain of youth currently flowing at the club under the guidance of Solskajer but the fans at Old Trafford will be less than impressed with United’s lacklustre start to the ongoing campaign.
After a thumping 4-0 defeat of Chelsea on the opening day, the Red Devils have once again come under scrutiny for some pretty ordinary performances, including a shock defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace at home and a lazy 1-1 draw at Southampton.
Well, there is still plenty of time left in the season for United to hit the ground running in top-gear but going by what we have seen from their performances so far, Solskajer has a lot more work to do even after plugging the holes at the back if the Red Devils are to get back to their old habits of challenging for silverware.
To sum it up in simple words, United need to bring in a new No.10 in January to add a sense of creative spark to their attack, something that the likes of Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira don’t seem capable of doing on a regular basis each and every week.
Juan Mata, of course, is a class act but given the Spaniard’s advancing years and his difficulty in acclimatising to Solskjaer’s quick attacking style, United should definitely dip into the market for a new central attacking midfielder. Here are 3 realistic No.10 options for the Red Devils in January:-
1. Christian Eriksen
Man United failed to firm up their interest in the Danish stalwart earlier in the summer but the Sun claims that the Red Devils are set to go all out in their pursuit of the 27-year-old in January.
Eriksen was poised to leave Spurs this summer amidst plenty of speculation over his future but the influential playmaker ensured that the transfer saga involving him continued for at least another six months by deciding to stay put at his current club.
The Dane, who is out of contract at Tottenham next summer, would be in the last six months of his current deal by January and United can certainly look at a cut-price deal to nab the playmaker away from their title rivals.
A tally of 67 goals and 86 assists in 281 appearances for Spurs says it all and at 27, the fans at Old Trafford will be lucky enough to see one of the best playmakers in his prime years if United do go ahead with a swoop in January.
2. James Maddison
Yet to be capped by England at the senior international level, James Maddison might not be a stalwart like Eriksen but the Leicester City man has earned himself plenty of plaudits for his meteoric rise in the Premier League over the past twelve months.
Maddison’s successful breakthrough season in the Premier League last term prompted plenty of interest from the Premier League’s top-six this summer, with United also in the list of potential suitors (h/t Express) but the youngster ended up staying at Leicester.
The 22-year-old has already shown that there are few better than him in the English top-tier when it comes to creating chances and pulling the strings, be it from a No.10 role behind the striker or in a wide attacking role down the right.
Add to that his work rate, dribbling and passing, and it is easy to see why he would be a perfect fit for Solskjaer’s United.
3. David Brooks
Much like Maddison, David Brooks also enjoyed a successful breakthrough season in the Premier League last season at Bournemouth following his move from Sheffield United and turned into a hot property in the summer, with plenty of clubs, including Man United and Spurs (h/t Metro), looking to secure his services.
The 22-year-old, who impressed with 7 goals and 5 assists in the Premier League last term, is yet to return to action this season following a spell on the sidelines, although the versatile attacking midfielder did find the net for Wales during the recent international break.
Brooks’ technical abilities on the ball and a nice turn of pace coupled with his energy, stamina, drive, determination, slick passing, ability to create space and get into the box to score goals make him a tailor-made fit for United’s No.10 role.
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Given his obvious potential and with plenty of years still remaining on his contract with the Cherries, the Welsh prodigy is unlikely to come on the cheap but that should not prevent United from making a renewed attempt to sign him.
5 Promising PL starlets to keep an eye on this season including Arsenal and Chelsea duos
2019-20 Premier League: 5 starlets to keep an eye on
The 2019-20 season of the Premier League might still be in its early stages but the fans have already been lucky enough to witness some end-to-end thrillers, mesmerizing individual performances and of course, the emergence of a few quality young talents who have adapted seamlessly to the immensely competitive nature of the English top flight.
It was James Maddison and David Brooks who made most of the headlines as two of the most successful breakout stars in the Premier League last season and several youngsters have already laid down an early marker this term as well.
Considering the high level of competition and the intense style of play, the Premier League is often known to be an unforgiving platform for bright young talents but the tough ones have managed to achieve big.
With that in mind, here are 5 young starlets to keep an eye on in 2019-20 Premier League season:
1. Reiss Nelson (Arsenal)
The 19-year-old made as many as 16 appearances in all competitions for the Gunners in the 2017-18 season under Arsene Wenger.
Although he was deemed surplus to the first-team requirements by Unai Emery last summer, the talented academy graduate was always going to be in contention for a role this term following a fruitful spell at Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga last season.
Having scored 7 goals in 23 Bundesliga outings last term, Nelson started against Newcastle and Burnley this season, showing what a menace he can be with his pace and trickery.
With Alex Iwobi no longer in the picture, Nelson is likely to get his fair share of opportunities in the first-team this season.
2. Joe Willock (Arsenal)
The tenacious central midfielder has found himself on the fringes of the first-team ever since he burst onto the scene a couple of years back but Unai Emery seems to have the 20-year-old in his plans for the Premier League this season.
Willock, who regularly featured for the Gunners in their Europa League run last season, started each of Arsenal’s first three fixtures in the Premier League this term and caught the eye with his energetic displays in the middle of the park.
Given his versatility to play in multiple positions, Emery’s love for tough players and the club’s lack of depth in the midfield, the door remains ajar for Willock to go on and establish himself as a first-team regular.
3. Mason Mount (Chelsea)
Having enjoyed an incredible loan spell under Frank Lampard at Derby County in the Championship last season, Mason Mount has grabbed his opportunities at Chelsea with both hands this term and going by whatever we have seen from him so far, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the 20-year-old evolve into a future star at Stamford Bridge.
The England U-21 international has started each of Chelsea’s first four games in the Premier League this season and has impressed with his energy, stamina, technical abilities and superb all-around displays in a central attacking midfield role, also bagging a couple of goals in the process.
With the fountain of youth beginning to flow at Stamford Bridge following the arrival of Lampard, Mount is likely to get abundant opportunities to establish himself at his boyhood club.
4. Harry Wilson (Bournemouth)
Bournemouth successfully beat off competition from a number of Premier League clubs to sign Harry Wilson on loan from Liverpool in the summer and Eddie Howe’s masterstroke has already shown signs of paying rich dividends, with the Welsh international scoring a couple of absolute stunners in August, including an unbelievable free-kick goal against Man City.
Wilson, who was instrumental in propelling Derby County to the playoff finals last season, is still unsure about his future at Anfield but a promising loan spell at Bournemouth might pave the way for a move to a bigger club next summer.
5. Tammy Abraham (Chelsea)
The towering centre-forward was tipped to make a big impact at Stamford Bridge since his early days in the club’s academy and a couple of successful loan stints in the Championship coupled with Lampard’s arrival at the club have finally provided him with an opportunity to showcase his talent at the highest level.
Abraham already finds himself amongst the top-scorers in the Premier League with his 4 goals coming as back-to-back braces against Norwich City and Sheffield United.
There are tougher tests in the top-flight awaiting him but the talented striker could prove to be a handful for defences later on in the season if he continues to fire on all cylinders.
Leicester City 3-1 Bournemouth: 3 Talking points from the Foxes’ brilliant rout of the Cherries
Leicester City 3-1 Bournemouth: 3 Talking points
Leicester City underlined their credentials as serious contenders to break the top-six lock this season, as a man-of-the-match performance from Jamie Vardy propelled the Foxes to a rather straightforward 3-1 victory over Bournemouth at home in the Premier League on Saturday.
Having opened his account for the season in the 2-1 victory over Sheffield United last week, Vardy continued his fine run of form and opened the scoring for the Foxes just 12 minutes into the game.
Ryan Fraser set up Callum Wilson for a neat finish to draw Bournemouth level after just three minutes but Vardy was once again in the thick of things towards the end of the half, turning provider for Youri Tielemans’ goal.
Brendan Rodgers’ side went into the interval with their noses in front and they continued to dictate most of the play in the second half, as the Cherries struggled to make any real inroads.
Vardy capped off a brilliant all-round display with his second goal of the day to put the game beyond Bournemouth’s reach, with Tielemans grabbing the assist.
The result meant that the Foxes went into the international break placed third in the standings, behind just Liverpool and Man City. Let us take a look at 3 talking points from the game:
1. Another VAR controversy
The VAR system has already come under the spotlight numerous times early in the season.
Indeed, Leicester won’t be arguing about it too much after a positive result but Youri Tielemans is likely to know that he was lucky to stay on the pitch for a horrible studs-up challenge on Callum Wilson.
On-field referee Peter Bankes wasn’t in a position to assess the incident. VAR, of course, came into play and a check was always going to be on the cards for that kind of a tackle.
However, much to the anger and disappointment of the Bournemouth fans, the technology didn’t reveal any clear and obvious error made by the referee.
Ironically, Tielemans was spared without a booking, given the ruling which states clearly that VAR can only check for red cards. Well, it is such a shame that such refereeing blunders in the Premier League cannot be overturned even after the introduction of technology.
2. Eddie Howe might regret the sale of Tyrone Mings
Vulnerability at the back was one of the main reasons behind Bournemouth’s undoing last season and Eddie Howe was expected to adopt significant measures to improve his backline this summer after the Cherries finished the previous campaign with one of the worst defensive records in the division.
In reply to that, the manager sold Tyrone Mings to Aston Villa and the result is there for everyone to see. Just four games into the season, Mings has done enough at Villa Park to earn a spot in the England national team, whilst Bournemouth have continued to pay the price for some mediocre defending.
After putting up decent displays at the back in their first three games, Bournemouth’s backline collapsed like a pack of cards against the pace and guile of Jamie Vardy.
Looking back at the opening goal, Chris Mepham and Steve Cook failed to read the trajectory of Ben Chilwell’s long pass and execute what should have been a rather simple headed clearance, thus allowing Vardy to go clear through on goal.
Apart from that, Vardy shrugged off a rather weak challenge from Cook to thread the ball across the face of the goal and Tielemans ran past a couple of sleepy faces inside the box to make it 2-1.
Such ineptitude from the defenders is bound to have infuriated Howe on the sidelines. Maybe, the decision to sell Mings this summer wasn’t the right one, after all.
3. Vardy was awesome but a solid all-around team performance promises big things for the Foxes
Leicester’s talismanic No.9 stole the limelight with a man-of-the-match display but Rodgers should be happy with how the entire team performed well as a unit, with all almost all the players putting in impressive shifts in their respective roles.
The centre-back pairing of Caglar Soyuncu and Jonny Evans did pretty well, as did full-backs Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell.
Youngster Hamza Choudhury and Wilfred Ndidi seem to be growing in confidence with each passing game, while James Maddison has already shown that he has the makings to develop into a world-class No.10 in the future.
Tielemans was under a bit of pressure after failing to live up to the expectations in the first three games but the Belgian, though lucky to have escaped a red card, played a part in two of Leicester’s goals against Bournemouth.
Marcus Albrighton, who was brought into the side in place of Ayoze Perez, impressed with the quality of his balls into the box, while academy graduate Harvey Barnes looked lively and exciting as ever in his first start of the season.
All in all, Leicester are yet to hit top gear but they have taken significant strides towards performing at the level which they are capable of.
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