Brought to you by our Guest Writer – Sean Canning
As the Premier League experiences a hiatus this weekend, it might be an opportune time to look at some of the players that have dominated the headlines so far in the 2017-18 season.
And the undoubted stars of the show in that regard are the front men for the top sides.
Summer’s spending spree
In a summer of excess for Europe’s top clubs, the Premier League was no different. With vast sums of money being spent by the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea in the close season as they bolstered their attacking options due to the absence of their top goalscorers from last year.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte’s very public spat with the volatile Diego Costa meant that the Italian was forced to go to the market for a new talisman. And in Alvaro Morata he looks to have found a readymade replacement. The former Real Madrid man has hit the ground running with an impressive tally of 6 goals from his first 5 starts. The Italian has also added to his reputation by the variation in the goals he has scored. Resulting in him no longer being confined with the goal poacher moniker. It will be interesting to see how last year’s champions react now as Morata faces an uncertain period on the sidelines due to a hamstring injury. They will be looking to the likes of the returning Eden Hazard and bit part player Michy Batshuayi to pick up the baton.
Jose Mourinho made a striker his number one priority in the summer transfer market after Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s untimely cruciate injury at the end of last season. With the Swede facing a lengthy layoff the United supremo pounced for a player with a proven Premier League record in the shape of Everton striker Romelu Lukaku. The big Belgian has adapted to life at Old Trafford like a duck to water. Bagging 7 goals in as many league games and looks to be thriving on the service of players like Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Such is the success of Lukaku it will be interesting to see how Ibrahimovic fits into the new look United side. And whether the Swede will have to be content with an unaccustomed role on the bench.
Across Manchester, Sergio Aguero is on the cusp of becoming City’s all-time top goalscorer, eclipsing Eric Book’s record of 178 goals which has stood for over 70 years. Despite his injury troubles, the Argentinean has been one of the most consistent front men of recent times in England. He is always there, or therabouts when the golden boot is handed out at the end of each season.
Like Morata, Aguero faces a short layoff owing to his recent car accident and manager Pep Guardiola will be glad that he has another South American in the form of Gabriel Jesus to step into the breach. The young Brazilian has been hugely impressive in his short time in England, terrorizing defenders with his pace and trickery. He will be ably assisted by Leroy Sané and arguably the player of the season so far, KevinDe Bruyne, as the citizens look to continue their impressive start to the season.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino recently expressed his “love” for Harry Kane and as the young England striker continues to impress week after week, the former Espanyol supremo is not the only one to run out of superlatives when it comes to describing Kane’s form. As has become customary in recent seasons, the spurs front man fired a blank in front of goal during the month of August. But made up for it and then some with an astonishing 13 goals in all competitions the following month. The North London native is full of confidence at present and looks like scoring every time he touches the ball. Whether he can keep up this form with rumours of Real Madrid lurking in the background and being touted as a potential suitor remains to be seen.
On the other side of North London, Frenchman Alexander Lacazette has also been delivering for Arsenal. Scoring on his debut and adding 3 goals in the games since. Arsene Wenger has rotated his front men in recent seasons. With Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud and Danny Wellbeck all being used in different systems to accommodate the enigmatic Alexis Sanchez with varying degrees of success. In Lacazette, Wenger may have just found the long-term replacement for want-away striker Sanchez.
And what of the rest?
Jamie Vardy has been a shining light for Leicester in an otherwise abject start to the season. Showing glimpses of the form that led the foxes to the title two years ago.
Watford may have unearthed a diamond in the form of Brazilian Richarlison who has chipped in with a couple of important goals. Helping the Vicarage Road outfit to their best ever Premier League start.
Javier Hernandez has also caught the eye under difficult circumstances at West Ham.
The Centre Forward
It’s an overused cliché, but the importance of a prolific striker in a Premier League team cannot be underestimated. One only has to look at the bottom of the table. Where the teams occupying the bottom three spots: Swansea, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace have a paltry seven goals between them.
Make no mistake, the days of 4-6-0 and “false number nines” are over. The centre-forward is back with a vengeance and when the dust settles on this year’s Premier League title race it’s a fair bet that the incoming champions will contain the player at the top of the goalscoring charts.
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