Ten breakout players for the 2015-16 Premier League season

6 Comments

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.

FBL-MAS-ENG-PR-LIVERPOOL
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.

FBL-ENG-PR-SWANSEA-HULL
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.

Mexicans abroad: Weekend roundup

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez made sure to let Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini know that he made no mistake in handing him the No. 9, opening his account in the new season.

Over in Portugal, Jesus “Tecatito” Corona continues to gain minutes and impress, while Hector Moreno scores in a friendly with his new Qatari club.

Here is a list of several other Mexico national team affiliates making a name for themselves (or not) outside of Mexico and the United States this weekend.

Premier League

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, West Ham — Rolling back the years, Chicharito… The 31-year-old started, played 83 minutes, and made scored his first goal of the season for West Ham in their 1-1 draw away to Brighton.

Raul Jimenez, Wolverhampton Wanderers — Wolves and Jimenez take on Manchester United on Monday.

La Liga

Hector Herrera, Atletico Madrid — Herrera featured on Atletico’s bench, but was not called on by Diego Simeone in Los Colchonero’s 1-0 win over Getafe. His La Liga remains on standby.

Andres Guardado, Real Betis — The fulcrum of Betis’ midfield last season, Guardado didn’t suit up for the Sevilla-based side’s opening 2-1 loss to Real Valladolid.

Diego Lainez, Real Betis — The 19-year-old, who many are hoping will have a breakout season, was left on the bench by first-year coach Rubi.

Nestor Araujo, Celta Vigo — The soon-to-be 28-year-old was a fixture for Celta last year. It looks like that trend will repeat itself this time around with Araujo starting and playing 90 minutes against Real Madrid in the 3-1 loss.

Eredivisie

Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, PSV Eindhoven — Chucky might have already played his last game for PSV. Multiple reports indicate the 24-year-old winger is set to become the most expensive Mexican player ever in a $46 million move to Napoli.

Erick Gutierrez, PSV Eindhoven — Unlike last year, it seems PSV will lean on “Guti” a lot more this season. On Sunday, the midfielder started and played all 90 minutes in PSV’s 2-0 victory over Heracles.

Edson Alvarez, Ajax — Alvarez made his Eredivisie debut in Ajax’s 4-1 thumping of VVV-Venlo, playing the final 27 minutes as a center back.

Primeira Liga

Jesus “Tecatito” Corona — Corona, for a second consecutive week, started and registered 90 minutes in a Porto victory. He is the lone Mexican in the Portuguese first division following Herrera’s and Antonio Briseño’s respective departures this summer.

Jupiler Pro League

Omar Govea, Zulte Waregem — Govea and Zulte Waregem take on Charleroi on Monday.

Elsewhere around the globe:

Hector Moreno, Al Gharafa   In a friendly against Al Khor, the 31-year-old defender scored his first goal for the Qatari club. In two seasons with Real Sociedad, Moreno scored two goals.

Diego Reyes, Fenerbahçe  The center back is reportedly not in the Turkish giants’ plans, and Tigres sounds like his next destination.

Juan Gerardo Ramirez Alosno, Roda JC — Not a household name, the fullback continues to add minutes with Roda, which he joined this summer. On Friday, he played 90 minutes in Roda’s 4-0 loss to Volendam.

Americans Abroad: Weekend roundup

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Christian Pulisic made his much-anticipated home debut as Chelsea secured their first point of the season. Starting and playing 71 minutes, the Pennsylvania native struggled to make a difference for the Blues, though, failing to record a shot.

Meanwhile in Sweden, a familiar face proved to be the X factor for his team. Romain Gall, 24, scored and recorded two assists in Malmo’s 5-0 win on Sunday. The midfielder joins Julian Green and Joel Sonora as the only Americans to score abroad this weekend in top-tier leagues.

Between the sticks, Zack Steffen opened his Bundesliga account with an impressive nine saves in Dusseldorf’s victory.

Here is a list of several other USMNT affiliates making a name for themselves (or not) abroad this weekend.

Premier League

Christian Pulisic, Chelsea — The 20-year-old made his home debut in Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Leicester City, but failed to record a shot in 71 minutes of play.

DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle — The fullback remains sidelined as he continues to recover from a groin injury. There’s no timeline on his return.

EFL Championship

Antonee Robinson, Wigan Athletic — Robinson started and went all 90 minutes for the Latics in their 2-0 loss to Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United.

Matt Miazga, Reading (loan from Chelsea) — 90 minutes and a clean sheet for the 24-year-old in Reading’s 3-0 win over Cardiff City.

Eric Lichaj, Hull City — The Tigers captain recorded another 90 minutes in Hull City’s draw against Brentford this weekend. Surely, Lichaj will continue to feature game in and game out.

Geoff Cameron, QPR — After two positive matches to start the season, Cameron and QPR fell 2-0 to Bristol City. The Massachusetts native played all 90 minutes.

Tim Ream, Fulham — 90 minutes and a start for Ream in Fulham’s 2-1 loss to Huddersfield Town on Friday. From the looks of it, the American center back will be staple defender for the recently-relegated club.

Eredivisie

Haji Wright, VVV-Venlo — After starting for consecutive weeks, Haji came off the bench and only featured for 19 minutes against Ajax.

Sergino Dest, Ajax — The young defender played and contributed well for 90 minutes in Ajax’s 4-1 victory over VVV Venlo. Dest continues to impress Ajax’s coaching staff, apparently.

Desevio Payne, FC Emmen — The U-23 MNT fullback played 47 minutes against Heerenveen. FC Emmen won 2-0 on Saturday.

Ligue 1

Timothy Weah, Lille — No start for Weah this time. In Lille’s 1-0 loss to Amiens, the 19-year-old came off the bench and played six minutes.

Theoson Jordan-Siebatcheu, Rennes — Jordan-Siebatcheu, like Weah, had a very similar weekend: coming on as a substitute and playing 17 minutes. Rennes, however, won 2-1 over PSG.

Bundesliga

Weston McKennie, Schalke — In Schalke’s first game of the season, the midfielder started and played 85 minutes in the 0-0 draw against Borussia Monchengladbach.

Zack Steffen, Alfredo Morales, Fortuna Dusseldorf Steffen and Morales started and went all 90 minutes in Fortuna Dusseldorf’s praiseworthy win against Werder Bremen. Steffen, in particular, put his unquestioned shot-stopping abilities to use. The Bundesliga debutant finished with nine saves.

Josh Sargent, Werder Bremen  The 19-year-old saw some minutes on the field, coming off the bench in the 83rd minute.

Fabian Johnson, Borussia Mönchengladbach — Johnson is not slated to be a constant starter for Mönchengladbach this season, at least that’s what Saturday showed us. The 31-year-old only played 27 minutes.

Timmy Chandler, Eintracht Frankfurt Chandler made the 18 but did not play for Eintracht Frankfurt in their 1-0 win over Hoffenheim.

Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig — Adams was a no-go for RB Leipzig in their 4-0 win over Union Berlin.

Honorable Mentions:

Romain Gall, Malmo  After seeing a few minutes here and there, the USMNT capped midfielder scored and assisted twice in Malmo’s 5-0 victory Falkenbergs. If Gall wants to be a part of Greg Berhalter’s plans, however, more of this will be needed.

Julian Green, Greuther Furth The 24-year-old scored the lone goal in Greuther Furth’s victory.

Joel Sonora, Arsenal de Sarandi — Sonora played 82 minutes opened his account with Arsenal de Sarandi in their 3-0 over Defense y Justicia.

Reports: Napoli agree record fee for Hirving Lozano

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Mexico’s most expensive player ever will soon be Hirving “Chucky” Lozano.

According to multiple reports, PSV Eindhoven and Napoli have agreed to a $46 million transfer fee for the Mexican international. According to Sky Sport 24‘s Francesco Modugno, the 24-year-old will travel to Rome on Tuesday and complete his medical on Wednesday morning, ending the Serie A club’s summer-long pursuit.

Lozano will reportedly sign a five-year deal with Gli Azzurri worth $4 million per year plus bonuses.

Over the course of the past few months, Napoli were also linked with Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe and Real Madrid’s James Rodriguez. In the end, Carlo Ancelotti, who is planning to give Juventus a run for their money this season, is adding the speedy winger to his attacking corps that features the likes of Lorenzo Insigne and Arkadiusz Milik.

Despite coming off injured in the 50th minute against ADO Den Haagg in his last PSV appearance, it is believed it won’t influence Lozano’s medical. He will break the transfer record for a Mexican player set by Raul Jimenez in his summer move to Wolverhampton Wanderers from Benfica worth $43 million.

Having sold Memphis Depay for nearly $39 million in 2015 to Manchester United, Lozano’s departure would set a new record for the Dutch giants as well.

La Liga roundup: Atletico Madrid win first opener in four years

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Spain’s top flight is two days into a new season, and here’s a roundup of all of Sunday’s action.

[ FOLLOW: PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Getafe

It wasn’t done in aesthetically pleasing fashion, but Atletico Madrid won their first opening season game in four years.

In fact, the first half was rough with both Atletico and Getafe loosing players to straight red cards. Getafe’s Jorge Molina saw red for a studs-up challenge in the 38th minute, while Renan Lodi was asked to leave the field in his debut for Los Colchoneros. 

Summer signing Alvaro Morata proved to be the difference for Atletico, however. Assisted by former Tottenham fullback Kieran Trippier, the team’s academy product scored early on in the 23rd minute – the goal made Atletico one of eight clubs to start the season with three points.

$140 million signing Joao Felix also made his La Liga debut, and impressed the home crowd with a dazzling run in the second half that ended drawing a penalty for Atletico. Morata missed.

Not the smoothest of games for Diego Simeone’s side, but like Real Madrid, they already have an edge on Barcelona.

Espanyol 0-2 Sevilla 

Julen Lopetegui can finally breathe (and coach) in peace.

Following a series of unfortunate events with the Spanish national team and Real Madrid, Lopetegui and Sevilla started their new era in a winning way.

Sergio Reguilon got things started for the visiting side with a tap in inside the six-yard box. And in the final minutes, no stranger to stepping up for Sevilla, Nolito slotted one past Diego Lopez.

With only two shots on frame to speak for them, Espanyol was one, two steps behind Los Hispalenses, who look for another top-six finish in Spain’s top-flight league.

Sevilla’s young quest for that continues as they travel to Granada. Meanwhile, Espanyol have no time to waist with a Europa League play-off bout against Ukrainian side Zorya lined up midweek.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Real Betis 1-2 Real Valladolid

Alaves 1-0 Levante