In this article I plan on going over the top 10 EPL teams (the teams who finished 1-10 in last years Premier League) and explaining who I believe is their most important, which player has the most to prove, and which exciting prospect to look out for.
Key Man: Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero is simply a world class goal scorer, as much as I hate to admit it as a Man Utd fan. He won them the Premier League two years ago and probably would have made Manchester City’s title win last season much easier if he had remained fit. Simply, if he stays fit this season he will score goals and City will win games.
Most to Prove: Joe Hart
Manchester City this summer have bought a new goalkeeper Willy Caballero who is used to playing first team football and will be looking forward to benching Joe Hart. Hart has been applauded over the years because he is the best English goalkeeper but over the past few seasons he has made a number of high profile errors and last season lost his place in the first team for about a month. Joe Hart will either shut out Caballero or he will shut out Joe Hart this year most likely.
Exciting Prospect: Stevan Jovetic
This past summer I saw Jovetic play in Kansas City and I even though I knew of his high reputation he earned at Fiorentina I thought he looked like an overrated punk. It looks like this was just another example of a player not fully performing during pre-season as Jovetic has started the season in red hot form taking the goal scoring duties over while Aguero is reintegrated into the first team. He will be one to watch as the season goes on and Aguero tries to reassert himself as the team's top goalscorer.
Key Man: Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard has been the face of Liverpool for over a decade and is still key to their team. He seemed to be the glue that held Liverpool together in their title charge last season until he and Liverpool slipped. He will continue being their main man this year after losing Suarez and choosing to retire from international football.
Most to Prove: Adam Lallana
Adam Lallana last season looked like an amazing player at Southampton and seemed to justify his high price which was charged. Once people started to analyze his season last year they found he was the most substituted player in the EPL. A team like Liverpool can not afford to start a player who needs to be subbed off after 70 minutes. Lallana also has players such as Sterling, Coutinho, and Henderson who play in similar positions which he needs to beat for a first team place. We will see in the upcoming season if Lallana can force his way into the first team or if he will be stuck to the bench.
Exciting Prospect: Raheem Sterling
For some reason Liverpool have decided to loan Origi who I believe was their most exciting prospect as Sterlinghas kinda become established over the past couple seasons, but he is still extremely young and extremely talented. He is probably the most proven youngster in England and will most likely develop into a world class player.
Key Man: Diego Costa
Chelsea over the past two years have lacked a real top class striker. They have had to rely on the likes of Torres and an aging Eto’o, which ended up meaning relying on Hazard for goals. Diego Costa has scored 4 goals in 3 games already and looks like Chelsea have finally found their replacement for Drogba (who they also re-signed this summer after selling his replacement Lukaku.)
Most to Prove: Cesc Fabregas
I’m choosing Cesc Fabregas for this because if you join the direct rival of your boyhood club you better show up and prove you are worth it. So far he has done just that forging a formidable partnership with Diego Costa. Cesc Fabregas is also tasked with keeping his place in the starting eleven where competition includes fan favorite Oscar. If his early performances stay consistent he will prove to be a very good signing for Chelsea.
Exciting Prospect: Kurt Zouma
This one is difficult for Chelsea as they do not really nurture youth players at Stamford Bridge, all youth players with a potential of breaking into the first team at Chelsea are seemingly shipped out on loan every year. The most exciting currently some what unknown player is Kurt Zouma who is a highly rated pacy center back who Chelsea purchased for a high fee. With David Luiz gone and John Terry past his peak Zouma might be looking to push his way into the first team.
Key Man: Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez was bought from Barcelona over the summer after enjoying a good World Cup with Chile. He was forced out of Barcelona by the likes of Messi, Neymar, and new signing Luis Suarez. Alexis can play as a winger or center forward and will be burdened at Arsenal to be a creator and scorer of goals. He is Arsenal’s marquee summer signing and fans will be expecting a lot out of him.
Most to Prove: Danny Welbeck
Many fans would say this is where I should be talking about the underwhelming Mesut Ozil, but Danny Welbeck has the most to prove after his Deadline Day switch to Arsenal. Welbeck is a proven great team player but has never looked like a 20+ goal a season striker while playing for Manchester United. Now Giroud is injured and Danny Welbeck is the best fit striker at Arsenal, it is his time to shine or be forgotten in English Football.
Exciting Prospect: Callum Chambers
Over the summer Arsenal fans were screaming for another world class center back after the departure of the mediocre but experienced Vermaelen. What they got was the 18 year old Southampton right back Callum Chambers. I have not personally seen very much of him but he is being played as a center back for Arsenal and has apparently looked very good so far.
Key Man: Romelu Lukaku
Everton’s record breaking signing will likely be their most important player this season again. He also signals a new era for Everton showing a club which is not content with being a mid-table club anymore. Everton will be hungry for an equal or better finish this season and will look for Lukaku to provide goals.
Most to Prove: Leighton Baines
After years of being courted by Manchester United and being labeled Ashley Cole’s perfect successor in the English National Team Baines had an absolutely horrible World Cup. After a great season last year he will be hoping to forget last summer and build on his performances from last season with Everton.
Exciting Prospect: John Stones
John Stones is a young center back who started to show his potential last season. He will most likely be first choice back up center back and will be hoping to knock out Jagielka or Distin out of the first team. This international break he also received his first international call up to England.
Key Man: Mauricio Pochettino
The most important man at Tottenham at the moment is new manager Mauricio Pochettino. The Spurs manager is the fourth manager in three years tasked with getting their talented squad to continuously qualify for the Champions League. With a squad containing the likes of Lloris, Vertongen, Lamela, and Soldado it is no wonder Champions League is expected, now the question is if the Spurs manager can make these players gel and live up to expectations.
Most to Prove: Erik Lamela
The man tasked with replacing Gareth Bale, who would have expected him to be such a complete failure last season. Spurs most expensive signing last season often did not even make the matchday squad last season and is expected to improve this season. Thankfully for Spurs fans, he has already possibly been their brightest spark this season and just this weekend scored a stunning volley for Argentina.
Exciting Prospect: Eric Dier
Eric Dier is an English defender who oddly enough has been plying his trade in Portugal for the past few years, after transferring to Tottenham he has immediately cemented his spot in the starting eleven proving to be a solid defender and a massive goal threat. Surely if he continues at this rate it will not be long before his first England call up.
Key Man: Angel Di Maria
Angel Di Maria was recently praised by Argentina coach Gerardo Martino as one of the top five players in the world. At Manchester United he is going to be expected to and also will need to show that quality everytime he is on the pitch to lead Manchester United back to the Champions League. Di Maria is quite literally what you could call an assist machine and with striker of the quality as Falcao, RVP, and Wayne Rooney, Manchester United will now be expecting score goals, goals, and more goals this season with Di Maria the mastermind behind many of them.
Most to Prove: Every Player in the Starting Eleven Who Played Under Moyes
Every Manchester United player last season barring De Gea had a torrid season last year. Twelve first team players from last year have already been ushered out the door and the remaining ones have until January to prove to Van Gaal they deserve to be at Manchester United. Specific players needing to prove themselves include: RVP, Rooney, Mata, Carrick, Fletcher, Valencia, Young, Smalling, Jones, and Evans. These are a lot of players but all can be seen, with the exception of Rooney and most likely RVP, as possibly being sold if they do not perform much better this season.
Exciting Prospect: James Wilson
Last year Adnan Januzaj burst onto the scene and managed to go from Manchester United U21’s to Belgium’s World Cup squad in one year. This year with the exits of Welbeck and Chicharito, two goal hero James Wilson will be promoted to fourth choice striker and will likely get plenty of first team chances to show his quality among the likes of Falcao, RVP, and Rooney. If he can manage to keep up with those players I think that will speak volumes about his quality this season.
Key Man: Morgan Schneiderlin
Constantly linked with a move away over the summer and apparently handing in a transfer request, Schneiderlin looked like he would be on his way out of the club along with the other members of the Southampton exodus. Now we are past transfer deadline day and Schneiderlin is still at Southampton and playing better than ever. He will be a key part to Southampton as they try to maintain their good footing in the Premier League after half of last season’s starting eleven have left the club. Hopefully for Southampton fans he is playing good for the love of the club and not trying to interest potential suitors in buying him.
Most to Prove: Fraser Forster
Fraser Forster is an English goalkeeper who has slowly seen his reputation rise as he played in Scotland for Celtic. Now he moves to Southampton second choice England keeper looking to displace Joe Hart. If he can maintain solid form at Southampton he has a good chance of displacing Joe Hart and he will look forward to possibly being England’s Euro 2016 starting goalkeeper.
Exciting Prospect: James Ward-Prowse
James Ward-Prowse has been tipped as one of England’s best developing midfielders for the past two years. Now with Southampton cleaned out he will have his chance to shine in the first team. It will most likely be a sink or swim situation where he can live up to his potential or virtually be forgotten as the English public will look for their next messiah. Either way it is a huge year for the youngster.
Key Man: Mame Biram Diouf
This former Manchester United academy player will be hoping that he can be the striker Stoke City have been yearning for while they have been playing Peter Crouch the past few years. He is quick and can head the ball very well, and not to mention he scored one of the best solo goals in the past few years last weekend against Manchester City. If Diouf scores the goals he was bought for Stoke will have no trouble staying in the Premier League this year.
Most to Prove: Peter Odemwingie
After being involved in one of the most ridiculous transfer sagas to grace the Premier League a few years ago Peter Odemwingie has now ended up at Stoke City. After impressing at West Brom this is Odemwingie’s last chance to cement his place as a first team EPL player.
Exciting Prospect: Marc Muniesa and Bojan Krkic
These two Spanish players have moved Barcelona to Stoke City. Wow. After falling out of favor in Barcelona they have opted for a fresh start at Stoke, a team infamous for it’s tough tackling and long ball tactics. Graduating from Barca’s famous La Masia academy these players must have talent and now it will be up to them to implement it into their careers at Stokealona.
Key Man: Remy Cabella
After being courted for two years Cabella is finally a Newcastle player. He comes to Newcastle at a time when fans patience is running thin as they keep faith in Alan Pardew. The fans will be hoping that Cabella can lead Newcastle to finishing in the top half of the table for the next few years to come. Only time will tell and who knows what will happen to Newcastle’s French contingent if Alan Pardew is sacked. If Cabella does not perform his time at Newcastle could be cut short.
Most to Prove: Moussa Sissoko
Moussa Sissoko has had a roller coaster career so far at Newcastle. One week he will be in the Team of the Week while the next he is earning himself a red card. This year Sissoko will be tasked with proving he deserves to be playing EPL football week in and week out as Newcastle aim to qualify for the Europa League.
Exciting Prospect: None?
Newcastle do not really look like they have any young players that are about to burst onto the scene and do amazing. Over the past few transfer windows they have bought solid proven players aged 22-26 resulting in a very young but also proven team. The most unknowns are their new summer signings, Cabella, De Jong, and Janmaat (all aged 24 and 25.)