As the world paused with the looming threat of COVID-19 lingering, the Premier League came to an abrupt halt back in March, leaving teams in the Premier League in a position where they would have to adapt and adjust. Many would have been able to take a breath and assess their standing in the league, many others were possibly left panicking with the threat of financial difficulties impending. Some footballers may have been hitting their prime as the season halted, some were recovering from injuries that were supposed to rule them out for the remainder of the season. Around three months down the line, the Premier League is returning to complete the rest of the planned fixtures and these are seven players who may be instrumental to the success of their respected clubs.
1. Harry Kane
Back at the start of the new year, Tottenham lost their talisman to a hamstring injury which was supposed to rule him out of the remainder of the club’s season. Despite this, Kane was on schedule to return to action in April before the league was suspended. With Tottenham underperforming before the swift halt, an energised Harry Kane up front for Spurs may have a big impact on their push for European football next season.
2. Ross Barkley
It’s safe to say Ross Barkley’s Chelsea career so far has been rather hit and miss. Having so far failed to pick up consistent form, Barkley appeared to be stepping up his performances as the season was suspended, including a majestic solo goal against Liverpool in their FA Cup tie at the start of March. If Barkley continues where he left off, he could see himself as an important part of Chelsea’s goal to maintain their top four status for another year.
3. Troy Deeney
There are not many players who are as important to their respected club as Deeney is to Watford. with the Englishman returning to Watford training amid speculation he may not partake in the remainder of the season, the Hornets’ captain’s characters and leadership will be vital for the clubs hopes to stay in the Premier League. When Deeney is not in the Watford side, they struggle without his towering presence and will hope that he can help guide them out of the relegation battle which they will see themselves in once the season begins again.
4. Bruno Fernandes
Since Ferguson left Old Trafford, not many signings have created a big impact at Manchester United’s lacklustre previous decade. The likes of Alexis Sanchez, Memphis Depay and even Paul Pogba have all failed to live up to their expectations. Despite this heavy burden, Bruno Fernandes has started life in Manchester fairly well, picking up Player of the Month for February. Ole Gunnar Solksjær will be hoping that Fernandes will help drive United’s midfield as they aim to get into the top four.
5. Jack O’Connell
Everyone has been majorly impressed and surprised by Chris Wilder’s men this season, currently sitting seventh in the table, in front of Tottenham and Arsenal. One man who has gone under the radar is The Blades’ English centre-back Jack O’Connell. Having made 28 appearances this season, and only conceding 25 goals, the man who signed for Sheffield from Brentford has gone from strength-to-strength since joining Wilder’s side. If Sheffield want to maintain their push for European football in their first season back in the top flight, they are going to need O’Connell once more in the middle of their defence.
6. Raúl Jiménez
Sheffield aren’t the only side hoping to reach European football next season, with Wolves sitting above them on goal difference. One man who has a major impact in creating their current situation in the league standings is their Mexican forward Raúl Jiménez. Having already scored 13 goals this season along with six assists, The Wolves forward will have to continue to lead the line in order for them to put pressure on the rest of the teams surrounding them in the table.
7. Harvey Barnes
With Leicester currently sitting third in the league, Brendan Rodgers has done a mighty job in pushing The Foxes further up the division this season as they try to create a team as impressive as the one which took the world by surprise back in 2016 when they won the title. Young midfielder Harvey Barnes has improved vastly as the season progressed before the long pause and will be hoping to continue his form for the latter stages of the season. With six goals and six assists this season, the 22-year-old will play a vital role as Leicester look to keep their spot in the top four.← Back to portfolio