The 2017/2018 Premier League schedule is in and that can only mean one thing: players, managers, fans and pundits are all now looking towards the new season and what it could bring. With the games set, many are now working which teams and, more specifically, which players will shine over the coming months.
Indeed, the odds at Sun Bets are already in and it looks like the odds makers are already tipping Manchester City to clinch the title. Despite Chelsea’s success, you’ll see that when you visit the Sun Bets’ football pages via this link https://www.sunbets.co.uk/sports/betting/Football, City are the 15/8 favourites for the title. In contrast, Chelsea are down in third at 7/2.
While the odds experts debate the merits of each team, fans across the country are starting to think about their dream teams and those players that could offer some hidden value. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of seven players that could pop out from under the radar and steal the Premier League limelight this season.
He may only be 19-years-old, but Dominic Solanke is already making waves among the biggest clubs in the Premier League. Thanks to four goals and a decisive role in England’s recent under-20 World Cup win, Solanke is now the hottest young striker in the Premier League. In fact, such is his potential that Chelsea are now demanding £10 million for his services.
Although the U-20 World Cup Golden Ball winner has already agreed a move to Liverpool, the rules regarding players under the age of 24 mean that Chelsea can ask for a fee even though he’s out of contract. At this point, Liverpool want to pay around £3 million, but they may have to stretch that figure if they want Solanke.
Although pound signs and potential don’t always equate to strong performances, Solanke’s international exploits were impressive and he could certainly be one to watch at Anfield.
To play in the Premier League you need to be tough and few youngsters have shown as much mettle as Gayle in recent months. The 26-year-old was sidelined twice last season with a hamstring injury but still managed to score 23 goals for Newcastle. Of course, manager Rafa Benitez won’t want to take any chances with his striker.
Now, there are two things we know:
1. The Premier League could be tougher on Gayle’s already weak hamstring.
2. The Premier League is not the Championship and goals won’t come as easily from a midfield position.
However, if Gayle can overcome those factors, 23 goals in 26 starts last season was hugely impressive and a sign he could perform well on the big stage if bad luck doesn’t strike.
Another Newcastle player to watch this season will be captain and central defender, Jamaal Lascelles. A key figure in the Magpies’ backline last season, Lascelles could prove the difference between Newcastle staying up or falling straight back down in 2018.
Indeed, one of Newcastle’s defining stats at the close of last season was their goal difference. Aside from 85 scored, Benitez’s men conceded just 40 goals. Although the Premier League is certainly a lot tougher, a goal difference of 45 was only bettered by Tottenham and Chelsea last season. With this in mind, Lascelles will be brimming with confidence and that could make him a top defender.
Ignoring suspensions, Dunk is a defender with all the attributes necessary to cut it in the Premier League. Standing 6ft 4inches, Dunk will have more than enough size and strength to compete with the league’s toughest players. Although it might just be one man’s opinion, Connor Goldson did call his teammate the best player in the Championship last season.
As well as having “the right attitude”, Dunk benefits from being under the radar. Despite his size, he seems to be underrated by those outside of Brighton & Hove Albion and that could play into his hands this season.
When it comes to kids with confidence, Gabriel Jesus has to be up there with the best. Maybe it’s playing alongside Neymar for Brazil or maybe it’s the fact he’s scored seven goals in 8 Premier League appearances. Whatever it is, this 20-year-old clearly knows what he’s capable of and that’s the sort of mind-set you need in the top flight of English football.
Although he might struggle to get a ton of time on the pitch with Manchester City this season, manager Pep Guardiola was extremely keen to sign Jesus. Indeed, with many now tipping him to lead Brazil to World Cup success in 2018, the £27 million Guardiola paid could turn out to be a bargain price.
Some have criticised his decision to play for Wales, but 17-year-old Ben Woodburn could still prove to be a standout player in the next few years regardless of the country he represents. A product of the infamous Liverpool academy, Woodburn shot to fame last season when he became the club’s youngest ever goal scorer.
Which player’s record did he take when scored out of nowhere against Leeds? Michael Owen. Now, that’s not to say he’ll go on and become the next Owen, but he’s certainly got the skills and, more importantly, age on his side.
He’s not under the radar and he’s not very young, but Darren Fletcher could still surprise a few people this season. After agreeing a deal with Stoke City, the Scottish midfielder has experience at the highest level and should bring a touch of class to the Potters’ central line-up. Yes, he might be 33-years-old, but Fletcher still managed 47 appearances and three goals for West Brom last season.
While it won’t be the biggest shock in the world if he doesn’t set the Premier League alight, it would be a pleasant surprise for Stoke fans if he can roll back the clock a few years and produce some form that saw him become a regular fixture at Manchester United.
Author bio: Daniel Smyth is a freelance sports and betting writer with interests in a broad range of topics. From poker and football to MMA and boxing, Daniel now produces preview, guides and event reports for many of the leading sites in the betting industry.