As the new Premier League season approaches, the spotlight shifts to the players who could define their teams’ fortunes. The upcoming campaign promises intense competition, with reigning champions Manchester City facing strong challenges from various sides.
Arsenal’s strategic recruitment, Manchester United’s improvement, and the resurgence of Chelsea and Liverpool all contribute to the excitement. Teams like Tottenham, Brighton, Aston Villa, and Newcastle are eyeing top-six finishes, while the battle for survival remains fierce at the lower end of the table.
Amid this backdrop, identifying key players becomes crucial. These are the individuals who can make a significant impact, the ones their teams can’t do without.
Let’s delve into each Premier League team’s most essential player for the 2023-24 season:
Arsenal: Bukayo Saka
Bukayo Saka’s meteoric rise continued in the previous season, solidifying his status as an indispensable asset. While Martin Odegaard’s creativity is pivotal, Saka’s prowess on the field makes him an exceptional presence on the wings. With 15 goals and 11 assists across competitions last season, he’s evolving into a world-class talent. In an Arsenal side bolstered by shrewd summer signings, Saka’s potential seems boundless.
Aston Villa: Ollie Watkins
With a balanced squad thanks to notable additions, Aston Villa’s ambitions include a top-six push. Central to their aspirations is Ollie Watkins, their go-to scorer. Following an impressive goal tally last season, Watkins’ responsibility in finding the net remains paramount for Villa’s success.
Bournemouth: Dominic Solanke
Dominic Solanke’s output surged in the previous season, contributing 14 times in goals and assists, which played a critical role in Bournemouth’s survival. The spotlight will be on him to maintain his performance as they continue their Premier League journey.
Brentford: Kevin Schade
Brentford faces the challenge of losing Ivan Toney, their top striker, due to suspension. Kevin Schade, a January signing, shoulders the responsibility to fill the void. With Toney’s absence, Schade’s impact will be pivotal to their attack.
Brighton: Kaoru Mitoma
Despite being targeted by rivals, Kaoru Mitoma remains an essential figure in Brighton’s squad. His standout debut season showcased his talent with 10 goals and eight assists. As expectations soar, Mitoma’s dynamic play will be crucial once again.
Burnley: Josh Brownhill
After a standout season in the Championship, Josh Brownhill’s contribution will be critical as Burnley returns to the Premier League. His form, translating to a combined 15 goals and assists, makes him a key factor in Burnley’s prospects.
Chelsea: Reece James
Amid challenges, Reece James embodies the stability Chelsea needs. His role as a creative right-back, along with his defensive prowess, positions him as a vital asset in their upcoming campaign.
Crystal Palace: Eberechi Eze
With Wilfried Zaha’s departure, the creative burden falls on Eberechi Eze. His growing influence and top-scoring record in the previous season highlight his importance in Crystal Palace’s attacking endeavours.
Everton: James Tarkowski
Everton’s quest for stability could hinge on James Tarkowski’s defensive prowess. His ability to anchor the backline and tactical awareness will be crucial in their bid to avoid relegation troubles.
Fulham: Joao Palhinha
Fulham’s return to the Premier League demands a new talisman, and Joao Palhinha fits the role. His midfield presence and ball-winning abilities will be vital for their success.
Liverpool: Virgil van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk’s return holds immense significance for Liverpool’s defence. As captain, his leadership and defensive strength aim to secure a much-improved season after challenges in the previous campaign.
Luton: Carlton Morris
Carlton Morris’ goal-scoring prowess will be pivotal in Luton’s Premier League journey. His form in the Championship could translate into their top-flight survival.
Manchester City: Kevin De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne’s creative brilliance remains essential for Manchester City’s success. With his exceptional assists record, he’s poised to guide City’s quest for silverware.
Manchester United: Bruno Fernandes
Bruno Fernandes’ consistency and creativity make him indispensable for Manchester United. His role underlines the team’s style, and his leadership ability adds to his importance.
Newcastle: Bruno Guimaraes
Bruno Guimaraes’ influence in midfield holds significance for Newcastle’s approach. His ball-playing skills and versatility contribute at both ends of the pitch.
Nottingham Forest: Morgan Gibbs-White
Morgan Gibbs-White’s consistency and determination bolster Nottingham Forest’s attack. His role in their survival push remains pivotal.
Sheffield United: John Egan
Defensive solidity becomes key for Sheffield United’s return. John Egan’s leadership and skills could be pivotal in their fight to stay in the Premier League.
West Ham: Lucas Paqueta
Lucas Paqueta’s ball-winning and dribbling prowess positions him as a successor to Declan Rice’s role. His creativity and adaptability add to his value in West Ham’s setup.
Wolves: Matheus Nunes
Matheus Nunes aims to fill the void left by Ruben Neves. His potential and ability make him central to the Wolves’ midfield aspirations in the new season.