Your Premier League club’s player of the season so far

The Athletic UK Staff

However, Douglas Luiz is Villa’s catalyst in midfield, with five goals and constant dependency and he is the player who binds together Emery’s principles, with and without the ball. He has reached a point where he is among the Premier League’s most complete midfielders.

Jacob Tanswell


Douglas Luiz is developing into one of the league’s best midfielders (Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Dominic Solanke is Bournemouth’s Swiss Army Knife. The link in the build-up, the trigger in the press and the goalscorer in attack. He has been essential for three seasons now, dating back to their promotion campaign under Scott Parker and, having signed two contracts since, appears increasingly central to anything and everything Bournemouth do.

The ultimate badge of honour for a footballer is to get name-dropped in a song. UK-based rappers AJ Tracey and Dave dedicated a whole song to Thiago Silva, Stormzy has referenced Romelu Lukaku, and now Blanco’s track Brilliant Minds pays homage to Brentford’s playmaker Mathias Jensen.

The Denmark international was superb last year, but he has stepped up to another level this season. Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa might be scoring for fun while Ivan Toney is suspended, but everything Brentford do flows through Jensen.

He has created 13 chances from set pieces this season, which is the third-best record behind James Ward-Prowse (16) and Alfie Doughty (15), and has provided three assists, including a superb cross for Nathan Collins’ header in a 3-2 victory over West Ham United. The elegant pirouettes and nutmegs are the icing on the cake.

Jay Harris


Mathias Jensen has had a song written in his honour (Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Brighton & Hove Albion

Was Kaoru Mitoma’s scintillating first season in the Premier League a flash in the pan? Have opponents worked out how to thwart the Japanese left-winger?

The answer, on both counts, is no.

Although Mitoma has not been quite at his elusive best, his importance to Brighton’s potency is still evident in the numbers.

Three goals and four assists in 16 appearances in the Premier League and Europa League is a goal contribution nearly every other game, emphasising that even when he appears to be on the periphery of the action, Mitoma is a lurking menace.

Andy Naylor

There have not been many candidates for rock-bottom Burnley as their return to the Premier League has fallen flat.

Unfortunately, their player of the season, Lyle Foster, is out for an unspecified period as he receives treatment for mental health problems. His wellbeing is the most important thing, but it is still a huge blow for Vincent Kompany’s side.

Foster started the season in excellent form, scoring three goals and providing two assists in seven appearances. He was one of the few who immediately made the step up to the top flight, with his pace, physicality and link-up play standing out.

Andy Jones

Chelsea

Given their torrid start to the season, it feels fitting to pick a player who only came into the starting XI at the end of September.

Chelsea’s record with Cole Palmer starting in eight matches across all competitions is won five, drawn two and lost one — a run of fixtures that includes positive results against Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City.

Palmer converted pressure penalties at key moments in all three matches. He isn’t the only reason for Chelsea’s attacking revival, but he has provided the creative catalyst with his incisive passing and intelligent movement between the right flank and No 10 positions, with his form now rewarded with an England call-up.

Then there are those nerveless spot kicks — imagine how good he’ll be when he actually starts practising them.

Liam Twomey

Crystal Palace

Joachim Andersen has been integral to Palace and though his long searching diagonal balls remain a staple of their play, his defensive work has been a major part of their five clean sheets this season (no side has more).

For someone so adept at offering an attacking outlet, his goal return for Crystal Palace has been low, but there was a thumping finish to win the game against Manchester United and a determined run to score a bizarre equaliser against Brentford. That was supplemented by a perfect cross for Jordan Ayew to volley a late consolation goal in the 2-1 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur.

“A colossus” was manager Roy Hodgson’s description of the 27-year-old after that draw with Brentford in August. He has continued in that vein since. 

Matt Woosnam

“He’s got everything to go to the top of the game,” James Tarkowski said of central defensive partner Jarrad Branthwaite.

Such has been the 21-year-old’s impact, even Sean Dyche has been uncharacteristically effusive in his praise. The Everton manager described Branthwaite’s performance in the recent 1-0 away win at West Ham United as “immense” and more recently labelled him a “physical specimen”.


Jarrad Branthwaite has helped shore up Everton’s defence (Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Branthwaite has slotted in seamlessly since his return from a successful loan at PSV Eindhoven last season. Quick across the ground, comfortable with both feet and able to step into midfield where necessary, he has added a new dimension to Everton’s defensive play.

His influence is being felt higher up the pitch, too. It was from his robust challenge on Michail Antonio near the halfway line that Everton scored the winning goal against West Ham.

A long-term deal, signed last month, was fitting reward for his progress. Given his assured performances, it would be no surprise if there were even brighter days ahead.

Patrick Boyland

Marco Silva believes Bernd Leno is one of the top three goalkeepers in the Premier League and his performances have certainly backed that up. The Germany international has made impressive saves in almost every game for Fulham, with his best display being a match-winning performance against Everton on the opening day of the season.

Defensively, Fulham are slowly improving, but the Leno safety net has proven invaluable, particularly as the team struggle for goals at the other end. Signed for just £3million from Arsenal, rising to £8m with add-ons, Leno is arguably one of Fulham’s best bargain buys.

The funny thing about Mohamed Salah is that his performances haven’t been as eye-catching as in previous years.

There’s no goal-of-the-season contender or standout moment when he has stunned onlookers with his sheer brilliance.

Yet there he is, sitting pretty in the goalscoring charts behind only Manchester City’s Erling Haaland — and without his 10 goals, Liverpool would be struggling to keep up with the pace in the race for the Premier League title.

Salah, 31 years old but still in peak physical condition, is a ruthless goalscoring machine. He can find himself out of the game for long periods, but crucially, when he’s needed, he comes up with the goals.

His double at the weekend in the 3-0 win over Brentford was vital, as were the goals against Everton and Brighton. That, combined with his possibly under-appreciated ability to assist, is why he’s the club’s early player of the season.

Gregg Evans


Salah has been exceptional once again (John Ellis/AFP via Getty Images)

When a team’s player of the season is their goalkeeper, it’s not always a good thing. But for Luton Town, it is.

OK, so, Thomas Kaminski is yet to keep a clean sheet in 12 games, but in those games, he has shown himself to be cut out for the top flight. There should be a highlights reel doing the rounds that includes his double stop to deny Ollie Watkins, his point-blank rebuttal of Rasmus Hojlund from a yard out, and probably his entire game against Liverpool.

Chiedozie Ogbene is another fan favourite. It’s thrilling to watch him fly forward, but it is hard to look beyond Kaminski, who has again been called up to the Belgian national team this break. He awaits his first cap, but on the back of this form, he could be about to get it.

Caoimhe O’Neill

Manchester City

There is no obvious standout candidate, not because they are not playing well, of course, just that many of their traditionally key players have had injuries or, in Rodri’s case, a needless ban that undermines his otherwise strong case.

It may well be that Julian Alvarez is City’s standout man — he was contributing goals and assists in the first few games, even while he was making limited contributions elsewhere, but since then, he has started to look more like the talented all-rounder that he is.

Only Kyle Walker and Erling Haaland have played more minutes than Alvarez — Jeremy Doku, who has shone incredibly brightly, has played just over half the league minutes that Alvarez has, but he is certainly on the radar.

Sam Lee

Manchester United

A look at Manchester United’s player of the month awards reveals Scott McTominay, Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes have been high in the fan consciousness in a difficult season.

One should allow a special commendation to Harry Maguire for turning his United career around, but Fernandes continues to be the main man at United.

The club captain will split opinion due to his highly unorthodox passing style that treats ball retention more as a casual suggestion rather than an integral part of midfield play. Still, his energy, ambition and application has a way of pulling United from the brink, as proved by his match-winning goals against Nottingham Forest, Burnley and Fulham.

Carl Anka

While Kieran Trippier, who has seven assists in all competitions, and Sean Longstaff, whose return to the starting XI in September coincided with Newcastle’s improvement in form, deserve honourable mentions, this accolade simply must go to Anthony Gordon.

The 22-year-old has continued his form from the European Under-21 Championship with England, scoring four goals and assisting two others, and he has justified the £40million fee Newcastle paid Everton in January for him.

Gordon’s versatility has also been invaluable, covering both wing positions and being used as a makeshift centre-forward, and he has regularly been the difference-maker for Newcastle.

Chris Waugh


Anthony Gordon is realising his potential (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Nottingham Forest

It is tempting to say Murillo, whose impact has been explosive in his short time in England, but Taiwo Awoniyi remains Forest’s most important player.

The Nigerian brings more than just a physical presence up front, he links up play, provides an outlet and is a constant attacking threat.

When he has missed games through injury, it has merely served to underline his importance.

He has delivered two assists and four goals and, even with Chris Wood and Divock Origi returning from injury, Awoniyi will continue to be a vital cog in the Forest machine.

Paul Taylor

Considering they are yet to keep a clean sheet in this season’s Premier League and have conceded more goals than any of their top-flight peers, selecting a defender as the club’s player of the year so far may seem odd.

But Jack Robinson has displayed the commitment and consistency that will be needed if this already difficult season is not to veer into truly horrendous territory.

Along with George Baldock, Robinson leaves everything out there on the field. He’s also become something of a cult hero, with supporters giving a nod to his attacking weapon with the nickname ‘Jackie Long Throw’.

Richard Sutcliffe

Tottenham Hotspur

A bittersweet entry given he’ll be out until the new year, but it has to be James Maddison for Spurs.

Not just for his three goals and five assists that helped Tottenham sit at the top of the table after 10 games, but because of how his swagger and style helped transform the mood of the club. He immediately felt like a player who had been at the club for years.

His consistently brilliant performances explain why there was such sadness at the news of the ankle injury that will keep him out until early 2024.

Charlie Eccleshare


James Maddison’s injury is a blow to Spurs (Glyn Kirk/AFP via Getty Images)

West Ham United

It has been a rewarding start to the season for Jarrod Bowen following his England recall, signing a seven-year deal at West Ham and becoming the first player in Premier League history to score in a club’s first six away games of a campaign.

Lucas Paqueta, Edson Alvarez and Mohammed Kudus have impressed, but Bowen has elevated his game to become David Moyes’ key performer. It is no surprise Liverpool were keen admirers in the summer.

The aerial aspect of Bowen’s game is another attribute he has unlocked. The 26-year-old has scored headers in fixtures against Nottingham Forest, Liverpool and Luton Town, having failed to score one in 2022-23.

If Wolves supporters held their player of the season vote now, it would result in an electric, diminutive, Portuguese, left-footed landslide.

Pedro Neto has spent two seasons striving for the kind of form that made him an instant hit when he joined the club four years ago.

This season, at the age of 23, he has found it and more. With one goal and seven assists, he has been the biggest factor in chance creation under Gary O’Neil, but his pace and tactical discipline have also been vital to Wolves’ style of play.

O’Neil will be desperate to see Neto recover from his hamstring injury quickly.

Steve Madeley

(Top photos: Declan Rice, Julian Alvarez and Bruno Fernandes; all Getty Images)





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