It has not been a Premier League classic in terms of any sort of title race given Manchester City’s dominance over the whole country, but that’s not to say there haven’t been great performances elsewhere.
The spotlight is firmly stuck on Pep Guardiola and his men, and rightly so, but three players have performed to a level that looked incomprehensible before the season had begun.
Here are Liam Canning’s three Premier League overachievers this season:
Mohamed Salah: Liverpool, right wing
It’s not right to call Salah an underrated gem, because he’s not anymore. He was, however, looked at as a gamble when Liverpool decided to spend £35 million on the Egyptian King to bring him from AS Roma last summer.
Questions were being raised, even by Liverpool’s fans, about Salah’s last stint in England at Chelsea, and how it did not go according to plan under José Mourinho. That was putting it kindly.
However, with more experience and maturity in the wide forward, Salah came to Liverpool at the right time: just before his exponential rise. The right winger, who drifts all over the pitch which makes it so difficult to mark him, has scored an unbelievable 30 Premier League goals in 32 appearances, leading the way as the division’s top goal scorer.
The Egypt international’s record overall reads: 45 games, 40 goals, 13 assists, and a goal every 89 minutes in all competitions.
That, right there, is simply stunning. The scouting department at Liverpool will be licking their lips at Salah’s numbers this season and will be in line for a huge pat on the back for identifying his brilliance. Jürgen Klopp will also be in Liverpool fans’ good books for playing a system that promotes the best from Salah - the sheer pace of the Reds’ front three is frightening.
It will be interesting to see if Salah can emulate this level of performance year after year - because that’s what both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo do - but in his return to England, it’s fair to say, it’s a job well done.
James Tarkowski: Burnley, centre back
Before any football had begun, fans of Sean Dyche’s team were concerned over the lack of bringing in a centre half to replace the outgoing Michael Keane. Everton had snapped up the English defender for £25 million, but Burnley had not found a suitable replacement for the heart of their defence.
However, up stepped Tarkwowski, the six-foot-one, agile defender that was signed from Brentford for a measly £4 million back in 2016. Not many wider Premier League fans would have known much about him, because he was being kept out of the team thanks to Keane, but when he got his chance, the Manchester-born defender took it with both hands.
Because of Tarkowski’s excellent performances this season for Burnley, who now find themselves in a Europa League qualification spot, England boss Gareth Southgate called him up for the two internationals in March.
The 25-year-old made his debut for the Three Lions against Italy, playing 90 minutes, in what was a very assured performance. He might have given away a last minute penalty, thanks to the VAR ruling, but Tarkowski stepped up to the plate and looked like a carbon copy of what Southgate is looking for in a ball-playing centre back.
It would be wise for the former Brentford defender to stay with the Clarets this summer, especially if they are to play in Europe, and reassess his future in 12 months time. There is still plenty to learn under Dyche, who is a rightful candidate for manager of the year, and with more responsibility, Tarkowski could become a leader in this team.
Son Heung-min: Tottenham, left wing
When assessing Tottenham’s squad, there are the obvious players who immediately come to mind: Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen. These three have been intrinsically linked with Spurs’ rising on the Premier League ladder, but
Son’s performances this season have shown everyone that he can be as pivotal in certain situations.
The South Korean has really come into his own for the Lilywhites this season, and Mauricio Pochettino has repaid that with giving him more time on the pitch. Son has played over 3,000 minutes for Tottenham so far, while last year he finished the campaign with just under that milestone.
Not many people would realise that the former Bayer Leverkusen star is actually Tottenham’s second highest goalscorer, two goals in front of Eriksen in the same amount of games.
Son’s sheer pace, determination and trickery make him one of the most exciting wingers in the Premier League, dazzling defenders into a trance and having the ability to create chances. A lot of wide players can beat their opposite man, but their final product is poor. The South Korea international does not have that problem as he’s made 10 assists and scored 18 goals in all competitions.
Tottenham are going from strength to strength each year and have signed some fantastic players that suit their style of play. Son has been the epitome of that. The 25-year-old is now in his prime and it will be fascinating to see how he continues to grow with more responsibility on his shoulders as one of the more experienced attackers in the squad.
This article was written for Soccer Box by Liam Canning. Shop with us for all your official Premier League football shirts, look out for the latest 2018/19 kits arriving into stock.