How Easy is it to Play in the Premier League?

Luke Griffin@SL_TeamTalk


How easy is it to play in the prestigious Premier League? You can imagine it’s probably quite difficult. But, this article aims to show how summer signings by Premier League sides in the 2015 summer are doing after 12 games in the PL. The idea isn’t to show how good a player is as such but how their performances in England have differed from their previous club.  All players I analyse have never played in England before.

I did however put in Rudy Gestede who has played in England but not in the Premier League. I wanted to show the English Championship also. I was tempted to add Cabaye, but he didn’t play much for PSG last year and has played in the PL before.

And, yes Kevin De Bruyne has played in the PL before but I don’t think 132 minutes means he shouldn’t be counted.

The Analysis

Jordan Ayew

The top radar is Ayew’s performance for Lorient last year. Then this season after making 5(3) appearances so far.

Neither are impressive, nor do they warrantee the £10 million Aston Villa spent on him. However, although creatively he lacks in areas you want from a winger/striker he has a few areas that he excels in. Shots/90 and shots on target % have both decreased by a lot so far this season. They aren’t consistent over the two seasons other than goals/90 and passing. Other than being dispossessed very little this season (but that’s due to few dribbles compared to last season) he doesn’t have any stand out stats. There doesn’t seem to be much difference in the two areas of his radars. A slight decrease from Ligue 1 but that could be put to adjusting to a new, failing team and a failed manager. Also a small sample size. Someone I’d like to revisit to assess the rest of his season.

Shinji Okazaki

Leicester impressive start to their new premier league campaign after exceeding expectations last year with a good finishing position even if most of their season was poor. They currently sit top of the premier league but Okazaki hasn’t played a part in this although playing a considerable amount of minutes.

He wasn’t great in the Bundesliga last year but was good overall but, so far this season he’s produced one of the worst radars I’ve made. His main traits of goal scoring and conversion rate have deteriorated drastically. Now his passing completion is pretty good and loses the ball little, due to his low amount of dribbles. He’s yet to make an assist and key passes are far and few between. He has had a terrible season so far while playing constantly for the top of the league team. He is a poor dribbler and doesn’t have any playmaking ability that you’d want for setting up Vardy up top.

His transition to England has been poor but I hope he can improve otherwise Ranieri will have decisions to make and may have to bring in a few new faces in January.


Idrissa Gueye

Here you see Gueye’s performance last season for Lille followed by his performance for Villa his 9 starts so far.

Gueye is a solid defensive midfielder who I like. He’s solid in the areas you need from a player of his role. His three defence stats (tackles, interceptions and dribbled past/90) have improved and his passing accuracy is identical. The noticable difference is that he has committed a lot of fouls this season and is yet to score or gain an assist.

Overall, Idrissa has adapted well to the Premier league and has seen out solid performances. I’m sure he will contribute to some goals this season once the Villains get going after a woeful start which I hope they can recover from.

Jordan Amavi

Jordan Amavi is another Villa transfer from Ligue 1. Amavi is an exciting young prospect at full back. His radars are almost identical, so it’s clear where his skills lie: interceptions, tackling and dribbling. He also loses the ball little which amplifies his dribbling skill. These are clearly his strong points which he excels at in the game. He so far, playing for the team 20th in the premier league, has had a better season than last year where he stood out as a great young player with good performances. Evidently he has adapted well and even improved during his move to the PL. He clearly fits nicely into Villa’s system because he is able to replicate what he did at Nice last year in his impressive displays.

Rudy Gestede

Rudy Gestede made the move from Championship side Blackburn to Aston Villa this summer. At Blackburn he was a great goal scorer through his head and a good target man. His radar is very one sided and can’t really do anything except score. He can’t dribble or pass or play a creative role. But, he does what he needs to do as a striker. However, his inability to do anything else means he can never be great in the Premier League.

I really like the comparison with these radars because his radar from his successful season is literally shrunk down to a very similar shape this season. It really can show the difference in difficultly between Championship and PL from a successful player from the second league to a poor player in the top flight. He has done what he does best this season, score. Not as prolific as last season but that’s to be expected with the move to the top flight.

Memphis Depay

Memphis Depay hasn’t lived up to the reputation and price tag in the Premier League after his amazing season last year in Holland. He is LVG’s ‘disappointment’ and is putting Pereira and Martial on the left ahead of him.

I made an error here. Depay’s radar was one of the worst I’ve ever seen. So, I went  back and redid it. Forgetting that it now included todays game. So he has made 9 starts in the Premier league out of 13, not 12. So his good performance today improved his radar a good amount.

Either way, he has been poor so far after 9 games. Defensively he hasn’t contributed and creatively he’s done nothing either with no throughballs, 0.9 key passes/90 and 0 assists. Compared to last year where he was outstanding. No doubt that LVG made a good and reasonable signing after an amazing, title winning season for PSV. Depay at just 21 played in the 2014 World Cup under LVG. I’m disappointed that he hasn’t done well, but I think he will recover and be a world class player. I don’t think that this necessarily shows that the PL is several times harder than Eredivisie. I have spoken before about the difference between Eredivisie and the transition from Holland to England here. Depay is in bad form but he is a young player who will recover. That change could’ve happened today after he gets his second PL game.

N’Golo Kanté

Another solid defensive midfielder similar to Idrissa Gueye. In my opinion a good signing for Leicester. He performed well last year in Ligue 1 with tonnes of tackles and interceptions from the midfield.

He’s repeated that in the Premier League successfully. His passing has improved but his creative stats have decreased. This could be due to him playing few risky passes like throughballs, therefore making fewer key passes and assists but recycling the ball and playing out the defence.

From his radar I’d say he’s improved this season because he makes less fouls in the midfield and loses the ball less. However his dribbling stat has disappeared since he’s joined Leicester and his throughballs and key passes have deteriorated also.

Anthony Martial

Late, expensive summer signing for Manchester United has started well at Old Trafford. His impressive goalscoring rate and goal conversion rate have repeated. His shooting accuracy has greatly increased and his dribbling. Martial’s creative passing and defensive contributing are lacking.

Both years he maintains a good scoring rate and conversion rate yet takes less than 1.7 shots per game, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing with his finishing ability.

His two radars are reasonably similar, but this season has been the more impressive. The two are similar in shape with shots on target % and times dispossessed. Overall is having a good start after a big fee spent on the youngster. I’m sure he’ll continue form this season and improve in the years to come.

Bastian Schweinsteiger

The German icon is ageing but left his beloved Bayern Munich to join Manchester United after winning the World Cup with Germany. Suffering from injuries and being out of favour of Pep at Bayern Munich meant his game time was damaged.

Other than this low goal/assist rate from this season Schweinsteiger’s radars are a similar shape, showing he’s a consistent player who isn’t letting his age affect his performances. As you can see there are some minor differences with his stats other than scoring contribution, but nothing to mention.

Dimitri Payet

Dimitri Payet has the radar this year of a world class player. No doubt about it. I would put him high up my list of best players. His performance last year was amazing from a playmaker with a world class assist rate and key passes.

However, after a bargain move to London’s West Ham United in summer he has added to his arsenal is goal scoring ability that is impressive for an attacking midfielder, along with a great conversion rate. Although his through balls have stopped that could be due to tactics and team mates but that makes his radar look very different. Overall, up until this injury was having an outstanding debut season in London. I hope he can recover quickly and get back on the pitch and perform.

Kevin De Bruyne

The Chelsea reject had a breakout season for Wolfsburg in Germany and now has returned to England to try and win the PL with Manchester City after a big money move.

After failing to succeed at Stamford Bridge the young Belgian has established himself as a world class player. He is similar to Payet for this and that this year in the Premier League they have both added scoring to their ability. His assists and key passes are outstanding and show great class, creativity and vision on the pitch.


Pedro, for me shows inefficiency of the football transfer market. He has a big reputation for playing for Barça and winning lots of domestic, european and international trophies. His minutes were limited last year so his radar may not show his ability as much but it is a good enough sample size. I think Chelsea overpaid considering his performance for last season. Although you can say that his passing, shooting and assists were amazing with Messi, Neymar, Suarez, Iniesta and Xavi playing with you then it should be easy to gain assists in a title winning season. Mourinho bought his reputation and good ability but his radar says there are better buys available.

This year has been disappointing so far with rumours of Pedro admitting to friends he regrets moving to the London side. With a promising debut Chelsea fans were excited but he hasn’t done much since. Barça have a special playing style so moving the Premier League will be a big change for him and one he’ll have to adapt to if he does want to stay.

Salomon Rondón

Rondón is a goal scoring target man. He’s big and physical, but skills are poor. Unfortunately, at Villa he hasn’t been able to recreate his great goal scoring from the Russian League for the West Midlands club yet. Rondón’s only stats that are good are his finishing, but this year they are average. Therefore, he has nothing to talk about with a tiny surface area on his radar. He clearly hasn’t adapted to English football under Pulis yet whereas before he banged in goals for fun at a lower standard of football.

Georginio Wijnaldum

For me it’s a mystery to how Newcastle United won the services of Wijnaldum in summer. He was quality last year and has improved this year in a poor performing team. Yet, he flourishes and has had a great season. I would just want more key passes and assists from him but with poor strikers ahead of him the Dutchman is having to put the ball into the net himself, which is fair enough.

With a relegation battle ahead he could be the man for keeping them in the Premier League. I hope he doesn’t stay at Newcastle for too long because he won’t achieve much there. Yet, it’s a good way for him to boost his reputation and prove he can play well in a top league.


Debuting in the Premier League for these players,  many have improved, some have performed worse at a higher level and some are consistent over the 2 seasons so far. I think it shows that players with great radars last year with great ability adapt and succeed in the Premier League while poorer players struggle to achieve what they may want to after their summer moves.


Hope you enjoyed my analysis. Feel free to give feedback and follow my twitter @SL_TeamTalk








Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s