The 2023-24 Premier League season has seen eight rounds of exciting football, and Tottenham Hotspur are currently leading the pack at the top of the table.
Under the guidance of Ange Postecoglou, Spurs have secured an impressive 20 points from their first eight fixtures, putting them level on points with their cross-city rivals, Arsenal.
Both Tottenham and Arsenal have remained unbeaten, boasting six wins and two draws each. Meanwhile, Manchester City find themselves in third place after enduring back-to-back league defeats against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal.
As the October international break takes center stage, here are the Premier League’s best-performing players in every position so far.
GK: Bernd Leno – Fulham
While goalscorers often steal the spotlight in football, the importance of goalkeepers cannot be overstated. Bernd Leno has exemplified this significance in Marco Silva’s Fulham side.
Leno’s exceptional performances have been instrumental in Fulham’s early-season successes. He virtually single-handedly secured their victory in the opening game against Everton and has since maintained two more clean sheets.
Notably, Leno has stood out as the Premier League’s goalkeeper with the most saves in 2023, having made over 100 saves. What sets him apart even further is his ability to prevent goals effectively. When analyzing the quality of shots he’s faced (expected goals on target conceded), Leno has prevented an impressive 11.23 goals this calendar year. This differential is a remarkable 6.18 higher than any other goalkeeper, according to Squawka.
Among Premier League goalkeepers with 30 or more saves this season, Leno boasts the highest number of clean sheets, with three to his name. This achievement places him joint second in the league, only behind Sam Johnstone of Crystal Palace.
RB: Kieran Trippier – Newcastle United
In the 2023-24 Premier League season, Kieran Trippier has made a significant impact at both ends of the pitch. He has the joint-most assists in the English top flight, having registered a total of five.
Trippier’s influence was particularly evident during Newcastle’s remarkable 8-0 victory over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane, where he delivered three assists. Additionally, in their 2-2 draw against West Ham, he played a crucial role by setting up a goal for Alexander Isak.
Under Eddie Howe’s management, Trippier has emerged as a standout performer, and his impressive displays have placed Newcastle in contention for another European competition.
Trippier’s numbers are remarkable when compared to defenders in the Premier League since the start of last season:
◉ Most passes into the box (622)
◉ Most accurate crosses (157)
◉ Most chances created (135)
◉ Most big chances created (30)
◉ Most assists (12)
CB: William Saliba – Arsenal
Arsenal’s William Saliba has been likened to Sol Campbell, a member of the legendary Invincibles squad, for his commanding presence in the Gunners’ defense. Saliba has been a consistent presence for Arsenal in the Premier League this season,
Against Manchester City on Sunday, Saliba’s performance was particularly noteworthy. He won 100% of his duels and didn’t commit a single foul.
Furthermore, his passing accuracy stood at an impressive 97% and the French international has maintained a record of not being dribbled past by an opponent in his first eight Premier League appearances this season, having committed just two fouls during that time.
CB: Micky van de Ven – Tottenham Hotspur
Among defenders who have participated in every Premier League match this season, only two have been dribbled past two or fewer times: Micky van de Ven and William Saliba.
Micky van de Ven’s transition to the English top flight has been nothing short of exceptional. Despite initial doubts about his £34.5m transfer to Spurs this summer, he has already proven to be a bargain. Van de Ven possesses a blistering recovery pace and has forged a remarkable partnership with Christian Romero.
LB: Destiny Udogie – Tottenham Hotspur
Fearless is the best way to describe Destiny Udogie, epitomizing the attitude of Postecoglou’s revamped Tottenham this season. His unwavering commitment to defense is matched by an unrelenting drive when going forward.
Much like Van de Ven, Destiny Udogie has been outstanding since joining from Udinese. He’s excelled both defensively and offensively,
Udogie’s ability to carry the ball into dangerous areas has been a crucial element of Spurs’ tactical approach, evident in his average of over three progressive carries per 90 minutes, along with contributing two assists.
DM: Declan Rice – Arsenal
Declan Rice became the second most expensive signing British transfer this summer trailing only Moises Caicedo and the 24-year-old has lived up to expectations at Arsenal.
He has quickly become an integral part of Mikel Arteta’s team and has seamlessly adapted to playing for a side expected to dominate most matches.
Rice’s late winning goal against Manchester United has been crucial in keeping Arsenal in contention with their north London rivals, Tottenham.
CM: Yves Bissouma – Tottenham Hotspur
Bissouma has emerged as a surprise star, bouncing back from a less-than-stellar start to his tenure in north London.
The dynamic midfielder has played a pivotal role for the Premier League leaders, making significant contributions in various aspects of the game.
He ranks third in completed tackles, tops the charts for short passes, and leads all midfielders in progressive carries. Bissouma’s resurgence under Postecoglou has been nothing short of sublime, reminiscent of his influential days at Brighton.
CM: James Maddison – Tottenham
James Maddison’s £40m million transfer fee is proving to be a steal given his impressive start at Tottenham. The English midfielder has recorded two goals and five assists, the joint-most in the league, in just eight league matches for his new club.
His partnership with Son Heung-min appears to be as impeccable as Son’s previous connection with Harry Kane. Maddison has seamlessly integrated into the Tottenham squad, earning the vice-captaincy, which speaks to how quickly he has settled in.
In terms of creating goal-scoring opportunities, Maddison is unmatched in the Premier League, boasting a competition-high 1.48 goal-creating actions per game, along with his five assists. His standout performance in the North London derby, where he outshone Arsenal’s Martin Odegaard, solidified his importance to both Tottenham and potentially the England national team.
RW: Mohamed Salah – Liverpool
Mohamed Salah may have been perceived as having a slow start to the season, but as the Premier League heads into the October international break, he boasts an impressive record of five goals and four assists in just eight games.
This places him at the top of the league in terms of goal contributions, tied with Erling Haaland. Despite his right-wing position, which often keeps him away from central areas due to Jurgen Klopp’s system changes, Salah continues to be a consistent source of end product.
CF: Erling Haaland – Manchester City
Erling Haaland had a quiet performance during their 1-0 defeat to Arsenal, where he was outshone by William Saliba.
While there has been talk of a ‘goal drought’ after he failed to score in his last two Premier League games before the international break, it’s essential to remember that Haaland set an incredibly high standard for himself in the 2022-23 season. Nevertheless, he’s on track to contend for another Premier League Golden Boot, having scored eight goals in eight appearances so far.
LW: Son Heung-min — Tottenham Hotspur
Ange Postecoglou’s decision to move Son into a central striker role has proven to be a brilliant replacement for Harry Kane. While he’s listed as a left-winger in the team, Son has scored all six of his league goals since being stationed in the middle. This shift has significantly increased his goal-scoring output, with more shots per game, and he appears to be back to his scintillating best.
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