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Players with a point to prove

5 – Joelinton:

The 22-year-old became Newcastle’s most expensive signing this summer. His £40 million move to St. James’ Park has put pressure on him to provide the goals since Perez has been sold for £30 million and Newcastle didn’t make the Rondon move permanent. Last season Joelinton scored 7 and assisted 5 from 2136 minutes in the Bundesliga as Hoffenheim finished 9th. This is from an xG of 8.93 and an xA of 5.15, as he finished about 2 goals under his xG it shows his finishing could do with a bit of work. This give Joelinton per 90 an xG of 0.37 and an xA of 0.22 giving him 0.59 expected direct goal involvements per 90. This will drop at Newcastle.

At Hoffenheim, Julian Nagelsmann has supercharged everyone’s attacking numbers which led to Hoffenheim having the third best attack and the second best according to xG. At Newcastle, the Brazilian will be leading the frontline in a more defensive and pragmatic side for a worse manager. If Joelinton has 2/3 goals by Christmas, he will be written off by the media. Newcastle are likely to get relegated this season especially with their downgrade in manager especially as Steve Bruce in the past has said “I’m not really into tactics” and it shows. If or when Newcastle get relegated, Joelinton could move on for around £15 million and show his skills at a better side.

4 – Christian Benteke:

In 2017/18, Benteke scored 3 goals from an xG of 11.17 and in 2018/19, his solo goal came at the Emirates. In 2018/19, he had an xG 3.73 of despite only getting 1 goal all campaign. 4 goals in 2032 minutes from a total xG of 14.9 isn’t the £32 million striker Crystal Palace thought they had bought back in 2016. With Palace making the loan deal permanent for Jordan Ayew who scored 1 in 1187 minutes and with the potential Zaha exit, Benteke has to step up or Crystal Palace could be in a relegation fight.

Despite his goal tally and Hodgson’s defensive tactics, Benteke’s stats were still Premier League average but they have been in decline since 2016/17, his first season in London. His shots, key passes and dribbles have all been in decline which has led to a decline in his game time. With Ayew and a third-choice keeper being Palace’s only signings despite Wan-Bissaka being sold for £50 million, Roy Hodgson might have to replace Benteke if he can’t find his old form this season.

3 – Tyrone Mings:

Aston Villa’s club record signing for a reported £26.5 million, Mings will have to maintain his from last season. However, at Bournemouth Mings couldn’t make the step up to the Premier League. Since his transfer from Ipswich in 2015, Mings has made 17 Premier Leagu appearances in 3 and a half seasons which totalled 863 minutes. This is less than he featured for Villa in his half season at Villa Park as he started 18 matches and played 1590 minutes. The lack of game time for the Cherries has been down to two separated injuries which side-lined him for a total of 608 days as he missed 81 Premier League games.

Despite Eddie Howe deploying quite expansive and attacking football, Mings’ stats drastically decrease in the Premier League. In his last season at Ipswich, he averaged 4.9 tackles and interceptions whilst at Bournemouth, the best he averaged was 2.1. At Villa, he averaged 2.1 but as he will be facing tougher opposition, this should increase as they will be attacked against more. Tyrone is clearly a very good championship defender but is very much unproven in the Premier League due to injuries and poor performances when he was on the pitch. A risk for Villa as he lacks Premier League experience and has had two major injuries, Mings has to repay the faith Dean Smith has put in him to give Aston Villa the best chance of survival.

2– Wesley Moares:

Another big money risk for Villa, Wesley is yet to play in a top league but does carry a bit of experience in the Europa League and Champions League. He hasn’t really performed in the Belgian league as in 76 matches he has scored 19 and assisted 13. For a player coming from the Belgian league to the Premier League, you would expect more especially as he is replacing Tammy Abraham who scored 26 for the Villans. Apart from Wesley, their only other recognised strikers are Kodjia and Hogan, both adequate Championship strikers that will struggle in the Premier League.

Wesley will have the goalscoring burden on his shoulders which is a risk. This is a risk as he was the main striker at Club Brugge in a weaker league for a more dominant side, yet he still couldn’t set the league on fire. Wesley will struggle but at a young age, if The Claret and Blues want to cut their losses, they could recoup around £20 million for him next summer.

1 – Eden Hazard:

Real Madrid’s biggest signing in 2019, Hazard will have to prove he is worth the reported £130 million. Having sealed his dream move, the Belgian will have to change his play style to fit what Real Madrid require from him. The natural ball progressor attempted 5.5 dribbles as he completed 3.7 which gives a huge success rate of 67.3% during 2018/19 as Chelsea finished third. As Real Madrid have two of the best five ball progressors in Spain with Kroos and Modrić, Hazard won’t be required to do as much ball progression despite Modrić turning 34 in September. At 28-years-old, it will be difficult for him to change his ways.

Hazard, along with Luka Jović, will be expected to score the goals. In 2018/19, Hazard scored a healthy 16 goals in an attacking Chelsea side. Although 16 goals sounds very good, a quarter of them were penalties which he may not be taking at Real Madrid. Instantly, 12 goals from open play doesn’t sound as impressive. He did get 15 assists showing his creative nous but with Isco, Rodríguez, Marcelo, Vinícius and more, creativity is something Real Madrid has in abundance. Since 2014/15, Hazard has over performed his xG every season showing an ability to finish but will have to adapt to be more selfish. In his last season at Lille, 2011/12, he scored 20 goals, his highest scoring season, which would show his goal scoring ability but 9 of them came from penalties.


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