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.

Serie A: Leaders Inter Milan open door for Juve by drawing Roma

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MILAN (AP) Italian league leader Inter Milan was held by Roma to 0-0 on Friday, giving second-placed Juventus a chance to return to the top.

[ MORE: Chelsea transfer ban reduced; can sign players in January ]

The home draw left Inter only two points ahead of Juventus, which can regain the lead when it visits third-placed Lazio on Saturday.The result also wasn’t good for Roma, which moved from fifth to fourth place in the standings but remained nine points off the lead after 15 matches.

Inter forward Lautaro Martinez had one of the game’s best chances when he got past a defender and entered the area in the 68th minute, but his shot was blocked at the last minute. He called for a handball by the defender but the referee let play continue.

[ MORE: Brendan Rodgers signs new contract at Leicester ]

Inter was coming off five straight wins in the league, with its last setback in all competitions last month against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. Its last league loss was against Juventus in October, nine matches ago.

Roma was seeking its third straight league win. It had won five of its last six matches since last month.

Inter visits Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Premier League Preview: Man City v. Man United

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  • Man City (3rd) trail Liverpool by 11 points
  • Man United (6th) eight points out of 4th
  • Last meeting: Man United 0-2 Man City

For the first time in recent memory, Manchester City and Manchester United each find themselves failing to meet expectations — by their own respective standards, at least — as they prepare to meet at the Etihad Stadium in the 179th Manchester derby on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

Man City, the two-time defending Premier League champions, are looking increasingly unlikely to retain their crown for a third straight season but look a surefire bet to finish in the top-four, which is a place for which Man United would bite your hand off as they currently trail leaders Liverpool by more points (22) than they have points of their own (21).

[ STREAM: Every PL match live

The struggles for United have been all about consistency as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side hasn’t won back-to-back games all season. The Red Devils haven’t won two in a row in the PL since March. On the bright side, United turned in one of their complete performances of the season on Wednesday, spoiling Jose Mourinho’s return to Old Trafford and beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-1. Marcus Rashford scored both goals and Solskjaer couldn’t rave enough about his 22-year-old forward after the game. From start to finish, United were the better team and looked in majority control, which isn’t something they’ve been able to say often in 2019.

As for City, they’ve simply been “not good enough” without ever actually being “bad” this season, given Liverpool’s scintillating form (14W-1D-0L thus far). Realistically, City likely need to pick up all 69 remaining points this season, and even then they might still come up short.

Injuries/suspensions

Man City: OUT – Sergio Aguero (thigh), Aymeric Laporte (knee), Leroy Sane (knee), Oleksandr Zinchenko (knee)

Man United: OUT – Anthony Martial (hamstring), Eric Bailly (knee), Marcos Rojo (undisclosed); QUESTIONABLE: Paul Pogba (ankle), Nemanja Matic (groin), Diogo Dalot (groin)


Projected lineups

Man City: Ederson — Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Angeliño — Rodri, De Bruyne, Silva — Bernardo, Jesus, Sterling

Man United: De Gea — Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young — Fred, McTominay, James, Mata, Lingard — Rashford


What they’re saying

Pep Guardiola, on the derby: “It’s Man United. I respect what they’ve done for English football, European, and world football. United have huge history and their quality is always there but we must try to beat them. We play against a good team, try to follow the performances we’ve put in and try to win the game. You know my opinion on the title race.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, on his derby memories: “It took many years before I played a Manchester derby myself. Of course, Man City are a better team now than when I was playing. … Confidence is a strange thing in football; you can get performances and results like Wednesday night and it boosts it so much. And I know our boys will be up for it. 24 hours less recovery time [than City] shouldn’t matter, you go on adrenaline.”


Prediction

The win over Tottenham was impressive, no doubt about it, but City remain a challenge of an entirely different class, no matter what their points total says. If the title is well and truly gone for Guardiola’s side, then retaining superiority in Manchester will have to suffice. City 3-1 United.

Klinsmann gets first point as Hertha Berlin manager

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) Jurgen Klinsmann claimed his first point since returning to coaching as his Hertha Berlin team let slip a two-goal lead to draw with Frankfurt 2-2 in the Bundesliga on Friday.

[ MORE: Chelsea transfer ban reduced; can sign players in January ]

Hertha was clinging to a 2-1 lead in the 86th minute when Sebastian Rode hammered the ball in from a corner for Frankfurt to deny the Berlin team the win.

Hertha is in the relegation playoff spot in 16th and winless in its last six league games, while Frankfurt is 10th.

Dodi Lukebakio gave Hertha the lead with a shot through Frederik Ronnow’s legs. That goal was assisted by Marko Grujic, who later made it 2-0 with a header from a free kick.

However, Frankfurt almost immediately replied with a header of its own from Martin Hinteregger, the Austrian defender with five Bundesliga goals.

[ MORE: Brendan Rodgers signs new contract at Leicester ]

Frankfurt’s fans expressed their disapproval of the video assistant referee after it ruled out two goals for the hosts. There was a rare disallowed own goal when Hertha goalkeeper Thomas Kraft palmed a cross into his own net but was found to have been pushed while jumping.

Klinsmann took over Hertha last week on a temporary deal until the end of the season, after Ante Covic was fired with the team under threat of relegation. Klinsmann hadn’t coached since being fired in 2016 by the United States, and last worked at a club in 2009 at Bayern Munich.

Nigel Pearson appointed new Watford manager

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Nigel Pearson has been appointed new manager of Watford and been handed a very straightforward — but tall — task for the remainder of the season: avoid relegation from the Premier League.

[ MORE: Chelsea transfer ban reduced; can sign players in January ]

Pearson takes over from Quique Sanchez Flores — who only took over from Javi Gracia in September — who left his post at Vicarage Road with the Hornets sitting 20th out of 20 teams in the PL table, already seven points adrift from safety. Pearson’s contract runs through the end of the season.

The 56-year-old Pearson, who last managed in the PL with Leicester City in 2015, was most recently in charge of Belgian side OH Leuven before he was fired in February.

[ MORE: Brendan Rodgers signs new contract at Leicester ]

Pearson won’t take charge of Saturday’s game against Crystal Palace (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold). Interim manager Hayden Mullins will see out the week’s preparations and manage the team before handing the reins to Pearson on Sunday.