Most Improved Premier League XI
With almost half the season completed it is time to celebrate, well Leicester are celebrating already, even though Claudio Ranieri has given them a target of 79 points come the end of the season, they are pretty safe from going down as well and that would have been their primary target at the start of this season.
There are a few teams that are celebrating as well, Watford, Crystal Palace and Arsenal should be pleased with their season so far but there still is a lot of hard work to be done for each club in the Premier League.
Certainly plaudits must go to the managers of some of these clubs but also to a few players, especially if they have come back from rather poor showings last year. We provide the most improved Premier League XI thus far; of course, it could be different from your chosen XI as well.
The West Ham goalkeeper was one of the few players who didn’t have all that a great season for the Hammers last time around but he is one reason why they have done so well under Bilic this time around. The Spaniard might not be the best goalkeeper in the league but he certainly has become better this year.
Walker had a rather poor showing in the first game of the season when his own goal gave Manchester United the win but barring that he has been exceptional for Mauricio Pochettino’s side this season and certainly looks a good bet for getting better as the season progresses.
While Tottenham do have a great team, their defence has been great as well and while a lot of credit goes to Jan Vertonghen, his partner in defence has been just as impressive as well, despite moving from another team and playing in the centre-back role.
Manchester United fans might not be enjoying their style of play but Louis van Gaal certainly has made a player or two better. Chris Smalling being one of them, the English centre-back has become one of the best defenders in the league and certainly has improved since last term.
Stoke City might be known for their former Barcelona players but Pieters has been one of the shining lights in their defence this season. The Dutch left-back has been brilliant for Stoke City and his performances for the club keep on getting better as the games go by.
Xherdan Shaqiri and Bojan might get all the adulation but Marko Arnautovic has been a reason why they are doing so well in attack. The Austrian hasn’t always had the best of times in England or even in Germany but he has found consistency this year and that has led to a remarkable improvement in his game.
The Everton midfielder has been one of the shining lights not only for the team but also for the future of English football. Barkley has been one of the most improved players in the league and even though he doesn’t play every game down the middle for the Toffees, Roberto Martinez has found an effective way to get the best out of him.
Leicester City deserve to have at least one player in this team and the first one has to be Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian has been one of the best players in the league this season and his link up play with Vardy and the rest of the team has been great to watch.
The master passer of the ball, this is the season where Ozil has shown all his detractors what he can do when his mind is set right and he gets a proper preseason in with the team. Mesut has been exceptional for the Gunners and in a season where more or less every player has been injured for Arsenal, it is the German who is standing tall for them.
It seems that Lukaku has a point to prove to everyone who doubted his skill this season. While last season was decent for Lukaku with 20 goals, this season he already has 19 to his name and could well finish with more than 30 goals. This has been a great season for the Belgian thus far and he seems to be getting better as the games go by.
Could it be anyone else leading out attack with Lukaku? The England international has been a revelation this season and even though his goals have dried up in the last few matches that should not take anything away from the Premier League’s top scorer as he looks to bag a few more goals by the end of the season.