Diaz, Elanga and the most improved Premier League XI of the season
The 2021/22 Premier League campaign provided thrills throughout the season, with the usual protagonists to the fore.
But who are the players who improved most over the course of the campaign?
FootballTransfers teamed up with leading data analytics company SciSports to look into those men who have seen their performance levels rise the most over the course of the last campaign.
There are some familiar faces in here, including players who have bounced back from serious injury or loss of form that kept them out of their respective sides, but there are also those who have gone from unknowns to household names over the course of the campaign.
GK - Martin Dubravka (Newcastle) – SciScore improvement: +14.6
Newcastle goalkeeper Dubravka has been one of those to have benefitted from the presence of Eddie Howe at the club. The season started in a difficult manner for him due to injury, which saw him lose his place as first choice. One he reclaimed that spot, though, he would hold onto it for the duration of the season and was a stalwart for his side.
RB - Nathaniel Clyne (Crystal Palace) – SciScore improvement: +14.4
England international Clyne had spent the best part of a year as a peripheral player at Crystal Palace before he won his place in the right-back slot in February. Regular game time has seen his SciSports score shoot up, while it has also helped that he has been performing well in a side that has been punching well above its weight.
CB - Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace) – SciScore improvement: +18.3
One of the breakout stars of the Premier League season, the 21-year-old joined Crystal Palace from Chelsea last summer and has gone from strength to strength under Patrick Vieira. Graduated to captain the team and won his first England cap. A massive success story.
CB - Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) – SciScore improvement: +17.9
Had his 2020/21 season decimated by a serious injury, which saw his SciSports score tumble as a consequence. Has returned to his absolute best, which there was no guarantee of this time last year. As such, it’s no surprise to see him make such impressive steps forward in this rating.
LB - Tyrick Mitchell (Crystal Palace) – SciScore improvement: +14.7
Another breakout star at Crystal Palace, the 22-year-old left-back has also won his first England cap this season. He is a player who loves to press high up the field, while his pace means that he is capable of recovering if he gets caught out. Crystal Palace’s Young Player of the Year.
CM - Jacob Ramsey (Aston Villa) – SciScore improvement: +15.2
Hinted towards the promise he had with Aston Villa last season but has realised it this term. Excellent in possession, he loves to carry the ball forward, while he also has a knack of being in the right place at the right time around the penalty box.
CM - Moises Caicedo (Brighton) – SciScore improvement: +13.9
Caicedo has only spent half of the season with Brighton, having began the campaign with Beerschot, but that has not stopped the 20-year-old Ecuadorian quickly winning a reputation as a player to watch. He returned to the club in January and made an explosive debut against Arsenal in April. That was followed up with a goal against Manchester United a month later.
CM - Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (Leicester) – SciScore improvement: +16.7
Spent last season on loan at Luton in the Championship and has built on that successful campaign with Leicester in the top flight. Energetic in defence and with a good range of passing while in possession, he is a potent weapon in transition for the Foxes.
RW - Anthony Elanga (Man Utd) – SciScore improvement: +15.5
The 20-year-old Sweden international has made strides with Manchester United this season, playing an increasingly frequent role in the first team under Ralf Rangnick. In what was a difficult campaign for the Old Trafford club, Elanga equipped himself well and notably scored a key Champions League goal in a 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid.
CF - Harry Kane (Tottenham) – SciScore improvement: +15.4
Kane’s presence in this XI will doubtless raise some eyebrows, especially as he is coming off a 23-goal season in 2020/21. However, his SciSports score had dropped after a somewhat sluggish end to that season and also a poor start to this campaign. Exploded back into life in the closing six months of the term as the Antonio Conte effect kicked in and he overcame the disappointment of a failed summer transfer.
LW - Luis Diaz (Liverpool) – SciScore improvement: +18.2
No surprise to see the Liverpool winger in this list. He arrived as something of an unknown quantity from Porto, which was reflected in his SciSports score when he joined the club. Has quickly established himself as one of the most exciting players in the Premier League.