Ten breakout players for the 2015-16 Premier League season

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Heading into the 2015-16 Premier League season, Harry Kane is one of the favorites to win the Golden Boot following his 21-goal haul last season. But before Kane burst onto the scene at White Hart Lane last fall, he was a relatively unknown forward who was still battling for a spot on Spurs’ roster.

[ MORE: All of PST’s PL season previews

With the new season kicking off tomorrow, we’re taking a look at some players who could follow in Harry Kane’s footsteps and have themselves a breakout campaign in the Premier League.

The list consists of ten players, and is in alphabetical order by club. It was tough to narrow it down, so let us know in the comments if you agree with the picks, or who you think should have made the cut.

Jack Grealish, Aston Villa (pictured above) — Grealish got a shot in the first team under Tim Sherwood towards the end of last season, and was one of the big reasons why the Villans survived relegation. His performances were highly impressive and the 19-year-old was immediately tabbed as the future of Aston Villa. Heading into 2015-16, Grealish will have a full season to showcase his talents and could officially assert himself as a star in the Premier League.

Patrick Bamford, Crystal Palace (on loan from Chelsea) — After signing with Chelsea in 2012, Bamford will finally get his shot in the Premier League at Crystal Palace. The 21-year-old has spent the past few seasons on loan, and was named Championship Player of the Year last season at Middlesbrough, scoring 19 goals in all competitions. He’s shown he can compete with the best, scoring the game-winning goal in Middlesbrough’s upset win over Manchester City in the FA Cup last January. He’s already netted a hat-trick for Palace in preseason, and playing with the likes of Yohan Cabaye and Yannick Bolasie at Selhurst Park, Bamford could have a real quality campaign for Alan Pardew’s side.

[ VIDEO: Previewing all 20 Premier League teams ahead of the new season ]

Andrej Kramaric, Leicester City — The Foxes dished out a record transfer fee to bring Kramaric to Leicester during the January transfer window last season, and this year he could prove his worth. The 24-year-old striker had a prolific goalscoring record in Croatia, bagging 55 goals in 66 appearances for Rijeka before moving to the Premier League. Chelsea was also rumored to be interested in signing Kramaric last season, which shows how highly-rated he is. With Leicester likely to be in a relegation battle throughout the season, Kramaric could be the difference if the Foxes want to stay up.

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Ibe could have Liverpool supporters forgetting about Raheem Sterling.

Jordon Ibe, Liverpool — Ibe began last season on loan with Derby County, but was recalled in February after impressing in the Championship. At 19-years-old, the winger is lightning quick with excellent feet, very similar to a certain Raheem Sterling. Now with Sterling at Manchester City and Ibe on a new long-term contract with the Reds, he’ll have a much more prominent role in 2015-16.

Andreas Pereira, Manchester United The 19-year-old midfielder was the star player for Brazil in the U-20 World Cup this summer, and he’ll be hoping that form carries over into the Premier League. Louis van Gaal gave Pereira a solid run in United’s preseason tour, and was the Red Devils’ most impressive youngster throughout the summer. He has shown he has the talent to become a top-tier player, but his biggest challenge will be finding minutes with United’s deep lineup. Should he find his way onto the pitch, look for Pereira to have an immediate impact.

Aleksander Mitrovic, Newcastle — After leading the Belgian Pro League in scoring last season with 28 goals, Mitrovic made a $20 million move to Newcastle over the summer. Papiss Cisse scored 11 times in 2014-15 and was the only consistent attacking threat for the Magpies, as Mitrovic will be asked to score early and often under Steve McClaren. Only 20-years-old, the Serbian is known for having a bit of a temper, but could become a hero at St. James’ Park if he keeps up his goalscoring record.

Georginio Wijnaldum, Newcastle — Staying at St. James’ Park, Georginio Wijnaldum was one of the best summer signings in the Premier League. At 24-years-old, Wijnaldum is coming off a season in which he captained PSV to the Eredivisie title while being named Dutch Footballer of the Year. Most of the Newcastle attack will likely run through Wijnaldum, who has the ability to score goals while also setting them up. Owner Mike Ashley splashed $23 million for the Dutchman, who could prove to be an elite talent in the PL.

[ RELATED: Best starting lineups for all 20 Premier League teams — Do you agree? ]

Joselu, Stoke City — The 25-year-old is heading into his first season in the Premier League after making a $9 million move to Stoke City, the most money spent for a player under Mark Hughes. The Spaniard played under Jose Mourinho during his time at Real Madrid, and showed his potential by scoring in both of his two first-team appearances. For the Potters he’ll likely play up high with Bojan sitting in behind him which could work wonders, as the two played together in Spain’s youth setup.

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Bafetimbi Gomis could surprise many as a top scorer in the PL.

Bafetimbi Gomis, Swansea City — The Frenchman scored just seven league goals last season for Swansea, his lowest output since 2006. Heading into his second season at the Liberty Stadium and with Wilfried Bony at Manchester City, Gomis will be the top striker for Garry Monk from day one. He has the ability to score 15+ goals for the Swans, and he’ll have to if they want to push for another record-breaking season in Wales.

Erik Lamela, Tottenham — Last season was Lamela’s first full campaign with Tottenham, and it was hugely disappointing. Spurs’ record signing ($45 million in 2013) showed flashes of brilliance, but failed to find consistency in his game, which had people calling for a move away from White Hart Lane. This season, Lamela can silence the critics and show he was worth the hefty price tag, as the Argentine is vital to Spurs’ push for success both domestically and in Europe.

Nuno proud of Wolves comeback; Hasenhuttl fumes at VAR

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It is safe to say that the managers of Southampton and Wolverhampton Wanderers had contrasting emotions after the dramatic 3-2 victory for the visitors at St Mary’s on Saturday.

Saints led 2-0 at half time but a stunning second half comeback, led by Mexico’s Raul Jimenez who scored twice, grabbed Wolves all three points.

With his squad banged up and missing Ruben Vinagre, Willy Boly and Diogo Jota among others, Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo was beaming at the final whistle after a lengthy celebration with the Wolves fans in the away end.

“It was amazing, the second half,” Santo smiled. “They [the players] realized the first half was not good. They reacted very well. I am very proud of the players and I was proud even in the first half because I am very aware of how we were doing things. Let’s keep on going.”

As for Southampton’s perspective, Ralph Hasenhuttl was not a happy man.

But not because of how his team played. He was fuming at the officials and VAR due to the decision to award a penalty kick to Wolves for their second goal. Referee Darren England didn’t award a penalty kick as Jonny went down in the box under contact from Cedric and then Jack Stephens but VAR intervened and awarded the spot kick.

“For me it is absolutely not a clear wrong decision. I think the referee was right in that moment,” Hasenhuttl fumed. “Cedric was in front of him and it wasn’t a clear wrong decision, in my opinion. The referee was right. I don’t know why they overruled in that moment. I cannot understand it. I really can’t. Cedric was in front of the ball so he [Jonny] had no chance to get to the ball. You can give it, yes, but it is not a clear wrong. I heard that VAR was overruling when it is clearly wrong. For me, it was not clearly wrong. This is what I cannot understand.”

Cedric’s nudge on Jonny probably wasn’t a foul and although Stephens didn’t make contact, his challenge was reckless. Hasenhuttl is perhaps looking to detract a little of the attention away from his players who crumbled after leading 2-0.

In truth, that lead was flattering in a pretty even game that Wolves had dominated early, and although Southampton’s incredible run of form (six wins in nine PL games before this) is over, they are still six points above the relegation zone.

This was a big moment in the season for both teams. Had Saints won they’d have been level with Wolves but a massive comeback victory now propels Nuno’s boys up to sixth and in with a chance of a top four finish.

That will surely persuade their owners to spend money in the final days of the January transfer window as their tired and stretched squad will also have to cope with the latter stages of the Europa League in the coming months.

U.S. teen Vassilev makes Premier League debut for Villa

Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images
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Look closely at Jack Grealish‘s equalizer for Aston Villa on Saturday and you’ll find an American making a run to create space.

That’s Indiana Vassilev, who made his Premier League debut in the 1-1 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium.

Vassilev, who turns 19 next month, was credited with seven touches in 23 minutes, connecting on 3-of-4 passes.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

The Georgia-born left winger made his FA Cup debut versus Fulham on Jan. 4 and his League Cup debut versus Leicester City on Jan. 8.

He has six goals and two assists in 13 appearances for Villans’ Premier League 2 side.

Favre reacts to Dortmund debuts for Haaland, U.S. prospect Reyna

Giovanni Reyna debuts for Borussia Dortmund
Photo by Sebastian Widmann/Bongarts/Getty Images
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Borussia Dortmund supporters couldn’t help but gush about the hat trick debut for teenage striker Erling Braut Haaland.

Their manager was sure to talk about both of his teen debutants.

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The second was American 17-year-old Giovanni Reyna, who was promoted to the first team this week and came off the bench to make his Bundesliga debut in Saturday’s 5-3 win over Augsburg.

Here’s one of Favre’s answers when asked about Haaland, via Fussball.news:

“We also played with Gio Reyna. It was very good. The first time he plays here at 17, that’s good. A 17-year-old, a 19-year-old, I think that’s good.”

“(Haaland) immediately showed his strength, the runs down. He moves well between the lines. It gives us another way to play forward.”

Haaland’s 20-minute hat trick has been well detailed by Joe Prince-Wright here.

Reyna entered for Thorgan Hazard in the 72nd minute, getting 13 touches and completing 7-of-9 passes. He completed his lone dribble attempt and won his only duel while failing to put his only shot attempt on target.

Aston Villa grab vital point at Brighton

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Injury-hit Aston Villa grabbed a big point at Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

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Leandro Trossard gave Brighton a first half lead but Jack Grealish popped up with a second half equalizer to share the points in a fiery encounter at the Amex.

With the draw both teams remained embroiled in a relegation battle as Brighton have 25 points and sit three points ahead of Villa who occupy 18th, the final relegation spot.


3 things we learned

1. Grealish delivers, again: Riddled by injuries, Villa needed their captain to stand tall. He did. Again. Even in recent heavy defeats Grealish has tried to drive Villa on and he has now scored in their tight win at Burnley and grabbed them a point at Brighton. Against relegation rivals, Grealish has delivered for Villa and at 24 years old he conrinues to mature.

2. Brighton let another lead slip: The Seagulls have won just won of their last eight league games and they keep letting leads slip in tight games. Graham Potter‘s side have plenty of the ball and dominate games but just can’t score the second goal to finish teams off. They have only scored more than one goal once in their last seven games and for all of their fine attacking play, Brighton are three points off the bottom because they can’t finish teams off.

3. Relegation battle coming up: Both teams showed why they will be in a relegation battle all season long. Brighton can’t score or finish teams off, while Villa are too reliant on Grealish and have no real attacking options as they rode their luck at Brighton. Potter and Dean Smith are two progressive, young, English coaches but they will be pushed to their limits to keep their teams up this season. They may also have to put their principles of free-flowing, attacking football to one side if they’re going to be managing PL clubs next season.

Man of the Match: Jack Grealish – Villa’s main man popped up with the goal which grabbed them a point and he was everywhere. Villa had no central striker once again as they wait to bring someone in during the January window with Wesley out for the season, and Grealish made so many runs forward during the game to try and take the pressure off his team.


Jack Grealish smashed an effort just wide as Villa looked dangerous on the counter without a recognized striker.

The Seagulls then came close to the taking the lead as Bernardo‘s cross found Aaron Mooy and his volley was cleared, eventually, as an almighty scramble ensued.

Aaron Connolly then knocked a low cross just wide as he seemed to be surprised that the ball found him in the six yard box.

Brighton took the lead as Neal Maupay ran towards goal and teed up Trossard who fired home across goal and into the far corner.

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Mohamed Trezeguet was denied by Mat Ryan in a rare Villa attack as Brighton were dominating, with young American Indiana Vassilev coming on for his Premier League debut.

Moments later Grealish made it 1-1 as a poor mistake from Brighton saw Douglas Luiz play a long ball over the top and Villa’s skipper slammed home to send the away end wild.

Late on Villa debutant Pepe Reina made a wonderful stop to deny Maupay preserve a point as tempers flared towards and after the final whistle as both sets of players were involved in a huge melee.