We are approaching the international break at the end of this game week, and we have some surprise packages hogging the headlines. From the much-maligned, to the unfancied, and players who have settled in quicker than anticipated, here are T4O’s picks who have shown heartening enough to make it into our top 5.
#5 Idrissa Gana Gueye
Wait, is he supposed to be a defensive midfielder? He looks a little too sure on the ball to be… oh, wow, did he just do that turn? Must be a box-to-box midfielder, then. Oh, come on, did he lay off that pass?
That is my usual reaction when I see Everton’s newest recruit. Has a bit of everything, does all of it neatly, and well. Hasn’t yet had the stats to back it up, but he seems like the player who plays the pass before the final pass.
#4 Etienne Capoue
4 goals and 1 assist from an orthodox defensive midfielder has raised eyebrows all around the league. Walter Mazzarri’s 3-5-2 seems to have brought the best out of everybody, at Watford, and just like Capoue, all the players around him are complementing everybody else.
#3 Jordan Henderson
There were questions raised about Jordan Henderson’s suitability to lead a Liverpool side blessed with abundantly more talented players, at the start of the season, on the back of 2 abysmal ones. His detractors didn’t count the fact that it takes a lot more than that to just lead a Liverpool side. His performance vs Chelsea summed up his qualities – an indefatigable tour de force, has been the best midfielder in the league statistically, using his drive, tight passing, positioning, and his odd worldie
#2 Raheem Sterling
This season has been Raheem Sterling’s road to redemption. 3 assists and 4 goals, the ex-Liverpool boy wonder has been in stellar form this season, under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola. Still rough around the edges, he’s gotten over the ridicule that bogged him down.
#1 Sadio Mane
The Senegalese International has been tearing up the Premier League in ways unseen, since the directness of a certain Cristiano Ronaldo. While it’s still early days, it hasn’t stopped Liverpool fans from getting a wee bit excited as the winged exploits of Steve McManaman and John Barnes, seems like a lifetime ago. Losing the rip-roaring winger to the African Cup of Nations may hurt Jürgen Klopp’s side, as it has tended to look a few yards too slow to the ball, and takes a second too long to release the ball, without their designated prancer to stretch the defence out wide.