Some players just seem to thrive in a stadium without fans. Here are ten of them who have starred since the Premier League restarted in mid-June:
Declan Rice (West Ham)
Rice has consistently caught the eye since restart despite West Ham’s mixed fortunes. At 21, he is developing into a bona fide leader. He was particularly good in West Ham’s shock win over Chelsea. So much so that Chelsea have been linked with a move for the Englishman, who they fancy as more of a centre-back than a defensive midfielder.
Ross Barkley (Chelsea)
Written off by many as yet another great talent who hasn’t fulfilled his potential, Barkley has quietly been getting the job done for in-form Chelsea. His attitude has improved immensely. Frank Lampard must see in Barkley some of the same qualities that made him one of Europe’s most productive attacking midfielders.
Is Allan Saint-Maximin the real deal? 😎
What an absolute baller 😍pic.twitter.com/buxecDFCI8
— Goal (@goal) July 2, 2020
Allan Saint-Maximin (Newcastle Utd)
The most entertaining player in the Premier League might not be a Newcastle favourite for long if he keeps up his devastating form. To quote Blackadder II (one never needs an excuse), Saint-Maximin twists and turns like a twisty-turny thing. Defenders HATE that.
Anthony Martial (Man Utd)
Tony Martial came from France, English press said he had no chance. Fifty million down the drain, Tony Martial scores again. Lukaku, who?
Jack Stephens is the 🐐 for this.
— Matt (@mattneuhausen) January 11, 2020
Jack Stephens (Southampton)
The Cornish Maldini is the nickname we never knew we needed until Stephens started playing out of his skin. I’ve also seen him called The Baresi of Bodmin Moor, which is sensational too. He’s also got banter (see above – when Saints got revenge on Leicester for the 9-0 drubbing, Stephens reminded Ayoze Perez).
Bruno Fernandes (Man Utd)
Just when Man Utd’s rivals had got properly comfortable with the fact that Old Trafford was a bit of a shitshow, Bruno turns up mid-season and basically jump-starts the whole club. United look dangerous for the first time in years.
Is it just me or is Mustafi a completely different player than last year he’s the player that’s improved the most and I’d like to see him next season
— Narcoleptic Nelson 🔴⚪️ (@NarcolepticAFC) July 7, 2020
Shkrodan Mustafi (Arsenal)
Not a typo. Yes, Mustafi has been really good for the Gunners. Unrecognisably good, in fact. Arsenal fans can’t believe it.
The Brazilian has scored / assisted in four straight league games for the first time in his Chelsea career, with four goals and two assists. His sprightly form has helped Chelsea rise to third in the table.
Mason Greenwood (Man Utd)
Greenwood’s impeccable form has almost certainly made United think twice about spending silly money on Jadon Sancho. One day Greenwood will move into his preferred centre-forward role, but for now he is killing it on the right wing, with pinpoint finishing off either foot his calling card.
Christian Pulisic (Chelsea)
Since the restart Pulisic suddenly looks like the footballer Chelsea paid £50m+ for, i.e. a viable replacement for Eden Hazard. His direct running, especially on the counter-attack, and decisive finishing is at times reminiscent of Hazard. The American is not as skilful as Chunky Eden but he is faster and he works harder for the team.