Premier League Players With Points To Prove

Our friends at WhoScored have put together a list of players under pressure to be better this season. We start with Wilshere, end with Jovetic and there are six in the middle...

Last Updated: 14/08/14 at 11:06 Post Comment

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The best way for a player to answer his critics is to let his football do the talking; forget what is being said off the pitch and focus on silencing the critics with his boots (or head). With that in mind, we at WhoScored.com have picked eight players who have a point to prove in the upcoming campaign.


Jack Wilshere
Injury has stunted Jack Wilshere's growth as a player and the general consensus is that the 22-year-old needs to prove himself this season. Manager Arsène Wenger recently stressed this is a 'very important' year for Wilshere and his comments aren't without foundation.

Wilshere's WhoScored.com rating (6.99) last season may have been his joint-highest in his three full Premier League campaigns, but it falls well below the standards expected, though a succession of foot problems have hindered his progress. 1.4 key passes per game isn't poor, but a player of his quality should be doing better. Provided he can steer clear of injury, now is the opportune time for him to live up to his potential, especially with Wenger seemingly against signing another midfielder.


Erik Lamela
A mere four miles down Seven Sisters road, Erik Lamela failed to adjust to his new surroundings on the back of his record-breaking move to Tottenham last summer. The young Argentine registered just 326 minutes of Premier League action in his debut campaign as injuries and managerial uncertainty limited his impact.

However, with compatriot Mauricio Pochettino at the helm, Lamela appears settled in London and his pre-season performances indicate the 22-year-old will have a big part to play this season. Spurs fans will certainly be hoping he can replicate his Roma form from the 2012/13 campaign, where the attacker netted 15 Serie A goals and registered a further five assists, earning a rating of 7.58 from WhoScored.com.


Roberto Soldado
Remaining in N17, striker Roberto Soldado will be hoping to find his scoring boots in the upcoming campaign. The Spaniard netted four goals in his opening nine league appearances, but bagged just once in 2014 in a 1-0 home win against Cardiff.

Emmanuel Adebayor's goalscoring exploits in the New Year saw Soldado drop down the pecking order, while reports suggested the experienced striker was primed for a return to Spain. Soldado, though, has enjoyed a decent pre-season with Spurs as he looks to force his way into Pochettino's starting XI and prove his doubters wrong after his rating from WhoScored dropped from 7.22 in his final season at Valencia to 6.53 in his first season at Spurs.


Ashley Young
Somewhat surprisingly, Ashley Young is expected to remain at Old Trafford beyond the close of the transfer window. Louis van Gaal is expected to implement a 3-4-1-2 formation at Manchester United and the Englishman looks to have forced his way into the manager's plans.

A number of commendable outings for the club this summer at wing-back appear to have convinced Van Gaal that he is worthy of at least a squad place and Young will be hoping he can grasp a starting opportunity with both hands. He needs to work on the defensive side of his game if he is to secure a regular first-team berth, having averaged just 0.7 tackles and 0.5 interceptions per game in the Premier League last season.


Connor Wickham
A late surge from Sunderland saw them stave off relegation last term and they had young striker Connor Wickham to thank. The 21-year-old netted five goals in his last six league appearances of the season, including a brace in the 2-2 draw at Manchester City and the equaliser in the memorable 2-1 win over Chelsea.

Interest in Wickham is high, but Gus Poyet would be wise to reject offers for the frontman from Premier League rivals. Boasting WhoScored.com strengths of 'finishing' and 'dribbling', Wickham theoretically has the necessary attributes and physical presence to help Sunderland secure a higher finish next season and finally adapt to the top flight, provided Poyet can convince the youngster his future lies at the Stadium of Light.


Gylfi Sigurdsson
A torrid two years at White Hart Lane came to an end for Gylfi Sigurdsson last month when he returned to Swansea City. The Icelander had a six-month spell at the Liberty Stadium in 2012 before his switch to Spurs and it was his form in south Wales that caught the attention of the north London side.

Sigurdsson netted seven league goals in 18 appearances in his first stint with the Swans, a far better return than eight in 58 with Spurs, and the 24-year-old will be keen to re-establish himself as one of the Premier League's best goalscoring midfielders in the upcoming season.


Gastón Ramirez
In the hubbub surrounding Southampton's recent sales, it's hard to believe Gastón Ramirez is yet to be shipped out of St. Mary's. The Uruguayan made just three league starts under Pochettino last season and his days appeared numbered under the Argentine.

However, with Ronald Koeman at the helm, and with the number of departures already this summer, Ramirez may be granted a second chance to showcase his talent. Boasting WhoScored.com strengths of 'key passes' and 'finishing', the 23-year-old, in terms of statistics at least, has the creative and goalscoring touch that should help endear himself to Koeman.


Stevan Jovetic
Another whose injury problems impeded his impact in England, Stevan Jovetic will be looking to put his woes behind him and focus on the upcoming campaign as Manchester City aim to defend their Premier League crown. The 24-year-old showed glimmers of his potential last season, but a meagre two league starts didn't provide sufficient time to really prove his worth.

Despite limited first-team action, Jovetic still netted three and provided one assist, but will be hoping to reach the heights of his final year with Fiorentina, where he attained a laudable WhoScored.com rating of 7.53. The Montenegrin was City's highest-rated player according to WhoScored.com (6.87) in an admittedly poor showing from the club in the recent Community Shield and will have impressed Pellegrini this summer.

Ben McAleer - follow him on Twitter

All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings.

@gunnerpete, I dont think its delusional to hope/expect your striker to improve from the age of 21. If he improves slightly he could easily turn 18 goals into 20. Therefore I would think 25 is not impossible. My point is about hoping/expecting a player to improve. The main way you measure improvement in a striker is how many goals he scores. Plus when you totally smash your transfer record you do expect the player will improve, otherwise why pay such a huge fee?
- Nutboy

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