The Premier League season has once again provided all the thrills and spills that we come to expect from the most exciting league in the world. One of the most refreshing things about this division is the fact that there will always be teams and players performing at a level that no-one would have predicted. Who would have thought that with 5 games to go Newcastle would be looking hot favorites to make a Champions League spot? Who could have predicted that Swansea and Norwich would make such a mockery of their pre-season predictions? And with every overachieving club there are players that are driving their season, here are 5 of the best.
The Dutchman known as “penalty killer” joined the Welsh outfit this summer for around £1.5 million and was seen as the replacement for Dorus de Vries who chose not to renew his contract and left to join Wolves. No-one would have even dreamt of placing Swansea 4th in the clean sheets table at the start of the season but nevertheless they are there and that is down to the extraordinary performances of Vorm. He has kept 12 clean sheets this season, only Joe Hart and fellow Dutchman Tim Krul have more. He has been a major part of Swansea’s impressive season and is now seen as integral to their side.
Walker was signed in a joint deal with Kyle Naughton in 2009 by Tottenham from Sheffield United. He had only made a handful of appearances for the Yorkshire club but was loaned back to them and played over twenty games before being recalled after January. Following loan spells with QPR and Aston Villa Walker has cemented his place in the North London side and now looks a very serious competitor to Glen Johnson for the England right back slot. With pace, a good cross and, as Arsenal found out a fierce shot Walker is everything a modern day right back should be. He has been a consistent performer for Spurs this year and suits their quick, attacking game perfectly. Question marks remain over some aspects of his defensive game but at 21 years of age there is no doubt Walker is the future of Tottenham and England for some years to come.
When Newcastle allowed Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton to leave in the summer questions were asked about how the Newcastle midfield was going to cope. Add these departures to the long-term injury to Hatem Ben Arfa and you could forgive the Geordies for being very apprehensive for the season coming. In Graham Carr though Newcastle have one of the best experts of the French league and his latest gem is the midfield dynamo Cabaye. With 3 goals and 7 assists the Frenchmen has provided a great partner to Cheick Tioté in the centre of midfield and his best moment culminated when he scored a 30 yard free kick in the 3-0 victory over Manchester United. His cult status amongst the Newcastle fans is growing and he is one of the main reasons that Newcastle are doing so well this season.
After signing in the January transfer window last year from PSG Sessègnon has now finally settled down into the Premier League and looks worth every bit of the £6 million that Steve Bruce shelled out to sign him. His first season was promising but nothing special but this season he has scored 8 goals and 11 assists and he has become a pivotal part of Martin O’Neill’s revolution at the Stadium of Light. His confidence is growing game by game and he is the perfect “number 10”. He has all the attributes to play in the hole behind the main striker. With his quick feet, low centre of gravity and his ability to unlock defences at will Sessègnon is one of the revelations of the season and is one of the most in-form players in the league.
Papiss Demba Cissé:
It would have been so tempting to choose his partner in crime Demba Ba in this position but with the other Demba failing to find the net in 9 games now the emphasis at the Sports Direct Arena has been firmly thrust to the new No. 9 Papiss Cissé. Since joining the Magpies this January Cissé has scored 11 goals and has been nothing short of unstoppable. The new front man has a lethal shot with both feet and fantastic movement off the ball. He has started to link up well with Hatem Ben Arfa and although Alan Pardew has made some brilliant signings since he took over surely Cissé is the best?
There are many more players who are performing very well or carrying their team such as Robin Van Persie, Yakubu or even the wonderful Gylfi Sigurdsson but these are the five that I feel have made the biggest impact and were certainly the most unexpected. The end of the season will be extremely close and the summer will hopefully bring more exciting talent to England.