The most improved Premier League players

The award for most improved is not often the most coveted. Many may consider it the pity award and as a result, it is often an underappreciated facet of a player’s season. Below are five players who have not only vastly improved their form this season, they have also been instrumental to the form of their respective clubs.

Anthony Gordon  

Anthony Gordon was once the definition of inconsistent, a streaky winger often accused of diving and being inefficient in front of goals. However, ever since his January move to Newcastle, Gordon has been reborn. According to the Premier League records, in Gordon’s last full season with Everton, he managed four goals, whereas in only 15 games this season Gordon has six. Beyond these numbers, Gordon is also an incredibly hardworking and creative player.

For example, no player has created more goals by carrying the ball this season than Gordon with three goals. However, perhaps his most useful asset to his side this season has been his defensive work rate. Often leading the press, Gordon statistically ranks amongst the top 7% of wingers in Europe for tackles and blocks. That is a testament to his work rate and desire, which has no doubt also played a part in his improvement. Bearing in mind that Gordon is still only 22, an England call-up cannot be far away. 

Ollie Watkins

Ollie Watkins has been an established Premier League striker for several seasons now. However, what separates Watkins this season are his raw numbers and consistency. In the 2022/2023 season, his best campaign, Watkins had 21 goal contributions from 36 games. This season, he has 14 contributions from 16 games. Contributions is the key word, as Watkins is not a typical Premier League poacher, but rather an advanced forward who consistently and selflessly assists as well as scores.

Watkins is directly responsible for just over 45% of Aston Villa’s goals this season. Under new coach Unai Emery, who has Aston Villa flying this season, Watkins has become not only more consistent but also versatile. In Emery’s system, Watkins is a hold-up striker at times, a channel runner at others, and a defensive workhorse at all times. Watkins is not only spearheading Aston Villa’s attack this season, he is spearheading their impressive title charge. 

Hwang Hee-Chan

Hwang Hee-Chan and his side Wolverhampton Wanderers have been an enigma this season. Wolves was touted for relegation, following the loss of several star players as well as head coach Julian Lopetegui. However, fresh-faced coach Gary O’Neil not only has Wolves midtable, he has gotten the best out of his players. Perhaps no more than Hwang Hee-Chan. The South Korean has eight goals already this season, an impressive tally considering his previous best of any campaign was five.

This season, Hwang ranks as the sixth-best player in the league for non-penalty goals per 90 minutes, and he also has one of the best shot-to-goal ratios in the league. So good in fact, Hwang currently averages four goals more than his expected goals statistics suggest for this season. Regardless of whether or not this hot streak can continue, it cannot be understated the vast improvement the South Korean has shown this season. Previously merely an impact sub, Hwang Hee-Chan has been integral to Wolvesè direct counter-attacking play this season. 

Harry Maguire

The resurgence of Harry Maguire this season has been one to behold. Stripped of the captaincy and dropped at the beginning of the season, Maguire was almost shifted away from the club, considered dead weight. Now, after 16 games, he is not only a constant presence in the side, but also won November’s Player of the Month award for the Premier League. Maguire statistically impresses where a center back should, as he is aerially dominant and proficient at blocking shots and intercepting passes.

The big Englishman will never live up to the lofty £80 million Manchester United paid for him, nor should he be tossed aside and considered not good enough. In a struggling Manchester United side this season, he has been one of the most consistent performers. His rise from being booed by his own fans to winning Player of the Month speaks for itself. One of the most improved players this season.    

Jérémy Doku

Jérémy Doku has been a sensation since arriving in the Premier League this season. Always touted to be a star and whilst he looked dangerous at Rennes in Ligue 1, the productive numbers were not there to show for it. Nevertheless, this season, under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola, Doku has catapulted his attacking numbers. Never a consistent starter or performer at Rennes, in his nine league games this season already for Manchester City, he has contributed seven goals.

However, unlike other stars who have moved to Manchester City, whilst his numbers have increased, his natural flair and creative freedom have not yet been replaced by rigidity and possession-based roles. Doku ranks in the top 5% of wingers in Europe for progressive carries, successful take-ons, touches in the attacking penalty box and shot-creating actions.

His explosive speed and quick feet make him almost impossible to stop, and with his newly acquired productive numbers, Doku is not only one of the most improved players, but one of the deadliest players in the Premier League this season.   

Related articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share article

Latest articles