Who makes the Premier League most improved XI?

Daniel Storey

Following last week’s article on the biggest negative difference in rating from last season to this, WhoScored.com returns to ying the yang and highlight the player’s whose ratings have had the biggest positive difference of players to have made 15 or more top-flight appearances last season and five or more starts this campaign…


Artur Boruc – Bournemouth (Rating increase +0.54)
Bournemouth have started the season impressively and boast one of the best home records in the Premier League, which is a boost considering only Aston Villa took fewer home points (11) than Eddie Howe’s side (20) last term. Part of the reason has been Artur Boruc’s renewed solidity between the sticks. The Pole struggled for the Cherries last term, but his WhoScored.com rating has increased from 6.46 to 7.00, with his save success rate improving from a disappointing 60.3% to a respectable 70.5%.


Kyle Naughton – Swansea (+0.53)
The versatile full-back features having established himself as a first team regular for Swansea. While Naughton struggled for game time last term, he has played every minute of the league campaign for the south wales side, with his WhoScored.com rating (7.21) the second best of all Swansea regulars this season. His defensive figures have improved, with the former Spurs man averaging more tackles (2.6 up from 1.5) and interceptions per game (2.3 up from 1.8) this campaign than he did last season.


Daley Blind – Manchester United (+0.36)
When Jose Mourinho took charge of Manchester United many expected Daley Blind to be phased out of the squad, but rather the Dutchman has consolidated a first team spot under the new manager. He’s been more proactive in his approach to defending, with clearances per game increasing (5 up from 3.4) this season, while his reading of the game remains a strong point, with Blind averaging the third most interceptions per game (2.8) of all United players, that figure up from last season’s 2.3. Just don’t talk about Sunday.


Scott Dann – Crystal Palace (+0.48)
Crystal Palace wanted to quickly move on from last season’s FA Cup heartbreak and a thoroughly underwhelming end to the campaign and, while the Eagles have now failed to win back-to-back league games, their squad is all the more stronger this season. Scott Dann is impressing once more prior to injury, with the most notable increase in interceptions per game, which have leapt up from 1.8 to 3.8. With two league goals to his name from five starts, the 29-year-old is primed for another strong campaign under Alan Pardew.


Seamus Coleman – Everton (+0.36)
No defender really covered himself in glory for Everton last season, with former manager Roberto Martinez often neglecting his side’s defensive duties. Seamus Coleman was among those who struggled for consistency, but Ronald Koeman’s methods are reaping the rewards. A WhoScored.com rating of 7.21 is the fifth best of all Everton players, while a rating increase of 0.36 from last season suggests the 28-year-old right-back is returning to his best form.


Joe Allen – Stoke (+0.90)
Having failed to force his way into Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side, Joe Allen’s Stoke switch presented him with a fresh opportunity to prove his Premier League credentials and he’s grabbed the chance with both hands. In just nine appearances, he has four goals to his name, his best return since his four-goal haul in the 2011/12 campaign for Swansea. A WhoScored.com rating of 7.47 is second only to Xherdan Shaqiri (7.51) of all Stoke players, while a huge rating increase of 0.90 is among the best in England’s top tier.


Heung-min Son – Tottenham (+1.33)
“After the Olympic Games his idea was to leave to go to Germany,” Mauricio Pochettino said of Heung-min Son following Tottenham’s 1-0 win over Sunderland earlier this season. The South Korean star failed to force his way into his manager’s plans last term, in part due to injury, as Son made just 13 league starts. How times change, however. Son is now the highest rated Premier League player with a WhoScored.com rating of 7.89, with four goals and two assists contributing to that return. With his rating last season a lowly 6.53, an improvement of 1.33 is far and away the best in the top-flight of English football.


Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool (+0.54)
Liverpool’s fluid attack is considered one of the best in the Premier League, with Philippe Coutinho playing an influential role in the Reds’ front three. No player has won more WhoScored.com man of the match awards in England’s top tier this term than the Brazilian (3), while he has had the second most shots (37). Confident in his goalscoring ability, it’s seen Coutinho net four goals already this season and helped return the third highest WhoScored.com rating (7.83) in the Premier League.


Nacer Chadli – West Brom (+0.79)
Of the 10 Premier League goals West Brom have scored this season, Nacer Chadli has been involved in six, with four goals and two assists to his name. The Belgian’s time at White Hart Lane came to an end in the summer, with the Baggies the welcome beneficiaries of Spurs’ decision to sell. Tony Pulis’ side were one of 13 teams to break their club-record transfer this summer and Chadli is repaying the faith shown in him. With an increase in playing time, the 27-year-old has become a more consistent performer in the final third, marked in a WhoScored.com rating increase of 0.79.


Theo Walcott – Arsenal (+1.05)
Arsenal fans were perhaps surprised when they saw Theo Walcott on the teamsheet for the first game of the campaign and were somewhat vindicated when a first half penalty against Liverpool was saved. However, the England international has acted accordingly to ensure this season isn’t another ‘what if’. Only Diego Costa (9) and Romelu Lukaku (8) have been directly involved in more league goals than Walcott (7) this term, while no Premier League player has scored more clear-cut goalscoring opportunities than the England international (4). His fine form means he is the Gunners’ third highest rated player this season, with a WhoScored.com rating of 7.63.


Christian Benteke – Crystal Palace (+0.68)
Like Allen, Christian Benteke was another whose style of play didn’t match Jurgen Klopp’s demands, with the Belgian shipped off to Crystal Palace in the transfer window. With the Eagles playing to his strengths, Benteke is rediscovering his best form and has three league goals to his name. It’s little shock to see the 25-year-old winning more aerial duels per game (9.1) than any other Premier League player this term, with a WhoScored.com rating increase of 0.68 highlighting his effective performances in the final third for Palace.


Ben McAleer

All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings. You can follow all the scores, statistics, live player and team ratings with the new free-to-download WhoScored iOS app.