Each new season is filled with surprise results and players who come out of nowhere to light up the Premier League. Whether it’s a new signing, a product of the youth academy, or even an established player - who has gone about his business relatively quietly in the past but turned it up at the start of the season - someone always makes the rest of the league and all fans and pundits take note.
In the pre-season fans will be buying their football socks, shirts and shorts from sites likes Newitts. They then queue up to have their club’s star player or new signing printed on the back. You can almost guarantee that by the festive period the big guns might not have been the standout player of the season for their club.
Sometimes a goalkeeper seems to save everything that the opposition can throw his way, defenders become solid walls and midfielders are playing passes that are out of this world for the super-sub turned automatic starter to finish off. This season has been no different with several players impressing supporters of all clubs and even the most hard-to-please of pundits, with many having to eat their words. Here are just five of the stars of the 2013/14 season – so far!
This time last year, Aaron Ramsey was a player who was in and out of the Arsenal XI so often that he was more of a fixture in his national side than his club. Fans were on his back for what they believed to be below-par performances and he had scored just eleven goals in his whole Gunners career.
This season, however, he has been arguably the player of the season, putting Agüero, Suarez, van Persie and co in the shadows with some impressive performances. Ramsey has 11 goals in all competitions so far, including the winner in the recent Champions League tie in Dortmund. On top of those impressive club performances, the Wales midfielder netted in World Cup qualifying. Ramsey is now every bit as important to his country as Real Madrid star Gareth Bale.
Adnan who? Yana-whatsit? At the start of this season even Manchester United supporters had never heard of him, and those who had certainly couldn’t pronounce his name. Januzaj has become a fixture in the Champions’ first team, chipping in with some vital – and impressive – goals, as well as putting fear into opposition defenders and getting United fans on the edge of their seats every time he picks up the ball.
Eligible to play for several national teams through family and lifestyle connections, the likes of Belgium and even England are encouraging the youngster to commit to them, and he’s only been around the Red Devils’ first team squad for three months.
Southampton skipper Lallana has been one of the standout performers down at St Marys, helping the Saints to sixth in the table heading into November and picking up a win at Anfield and a creditable point from Old Trafford already this season. Lallana has chipped in with assists and highly impressive all-round performances that have seen him rewarded with a call-up to the England squad and two caps in end of year friendlies with Chile and Germany. He even has an outside chance of boarding the plane for the World Cup in Brazil next summer.
Young striker Berahino has come into the West Brom side and made the position up front his own. When Romelu Lukaku returned to Chelsea last summer, Baggies fans wondered where their goals were going to come from, but the youngster who spent time on loan at Peterborough last season has already found the net against teams like Manchester United. Berahino has burst on the scene for the England Under-21s too, scoring on his debut against Scotland, and then twice against Lithuania.
Merseyside born and bred, midfielder Barkley has been knocking on the door of the Everton first team for a number of seasons. Under Roberto Martinez he has been a fixture behind Romelu Lukaku. With the departures of Phil Neville and Marouane Fellaini, the Toffees needed a big name signing and whilst that never arrived, Barkley has managed to bring his fight and determination into the side. He too has earned a place in the England squad, making his bow against Moldova in a World Cup qualifier in September.