The 10 Most Improved EPL Players in 2021

By Ben Morris in English Premier League
| March 11, 2021 9:13 am PDT

Who are the most improved players in the Premier League this season?

Guys like Kevin De Bruyne, Bruno Fernandes, and Harry Kane have continued to enhance their glowing reputations this term, picking up where they left off last year. But there have also been a number of players that have come from nowhere to become some of the top performers in the EPL.

With two-thirds of the season already behind us, now feels like a good time to discuss the most improved EPL players in 2021. After all, there are plenty of notable candidates.

Join me as I share my top 10 most improved players in the EPL this season.

Luke Shaw – Manchester United

When Luke Shaw moved from Southampton to Manchester United back in 2014, he was widely regarded as one of the Premier League’s – and England’s – best young left-backs.

However, a nasty double leg fracture saw the him spend the majority of the 2015/16 campaign on the sidelines, and he struggled to break into the Man Utd team during the next few seasons.

But this year, Shaw has taken his game to another level, with many believing that he is currently the EPL’s best left-back.

The 25-year-old has started 22 of Man Utd’s opening 27 league games this season, contributing one goal and five assists along the way. On top of that, his defensive solidity has helped Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to push for a Champions League place.

There is absolutely no denying that Shaw is one of the EPL’s most improved players in 2021.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin – Everton

Dominic Calvert-Lewin only managed to score 11 goals in 88 appearances across his first three seasons as a Premier League player, before netting 13 goals in 36 EPL games last term.

But in 2020/21, the Everton forward has already bagged 13 goals in 24 league outings, with plenty of games still to be played this year.

DOMINIC CALVERT-LEWIN’S EPL RECORD
Season Games Goals Assists
2020/21 24 13 2
2019/20 36 13 1
2018/19 35 6 2
2017/18 32 4 7
2016/17 11 1

Calvert-Lewin has always been a threat in the box, but since Carlo Ancelotti’s arrival at Goodison Park, the England striker has evidently upped his game. The experience manager is getting the best out of the 23-year-old, and it feels like he is yet to unlock his full potential.

With the Toffees pushing for a top-four finish, Calvert-Lewin is still very much in the Golden Boot race, too.

Pedro Neto – Wolverhampton Wanderers

It is easy to forget that Pedro Neto is still just 21.

The Portuguese winger joined Wolves from Braga in 2019 and notched up three goals and three assists in 29 EPL games last term. This season, he already has five goals and four assists to his name.

It could be argued that Raul Jimenez’s injury has given Neto more opportunities at Molineux this season. Jimenez has spent much of the current campaign on the treatment table, leaving the club’s other forwards with more responsibilities.

But even when Jimenez returns to the team, Neto isn’t likely to make way for the Mexican forward.

Boasting blistering pace, intelligent movement, and lethal finishing, Neto is undoubtedly one of the most improved players in the Premier League this season.

John Stones – Manchester City

Not so long ago, it looked as though John Stones’ Manchester City career was over.

The center-back has made a number of high-profile errors during his time at the Etihad Stadium, forcing Pep Guardiola to spend hundreds of millions of pounds on defensive reinforcements.

However, not only has he eradicated the mistakes that used to afflict his game, but he has also managed to forge a formidable partnership with Ruben Dias this season – keeping Aymeric Laporte out of the team.

Man City is on course to clinch the 2020/21 EPL title, with Stones playing a key role at the heart of his side’s backline. When it comes to discussing the most improved players in the EPL, you simply cannot leave Stones out of the conversation.

Che Adams – Southampton

It is no secret that Che Adams didn’t exactly hit the ground running on the south coast. The former Birmingham City forward only clocked up four goals and three assists last season, leading many Southampton supporters to question his ability.

But having already contributed five goals and four assists this term, Adams has to be viewed as one of the Premier League’s most improved players in 2021.

Alongside Danny Ings, Adams seems to be thriving as part of a front two, with manager Ralph Hasenhuttl giving him a license to drop deep and create chance for his team-mates. Better still, his finishing has clearly improved.

It has taken Adams some time to adapt to the demands of the EPL, but he is now starting to show everybody that he deserves to be playing at the highest level.

Mason Mount – Chelsea

A lot of Premier League fans have unfairly doubted Mason Mount throughout his relatively short career. There was a sense that ex-Chelsea boss Frank Lampard was overusing the midfielder and failing to get the best out of him.

Fast forward to today – nobody can argue that Mount isn’t a top player.

MASON MOUNT IN THE EPL (2020/21 SEASON)
Games Goals Assists Minutes
27 5 4 2,154

Best known for his tireless work rate and commendable versatility, Mount has quickly become one of Chelsea’s most important players. With five goals and four assists under his belt this season, he has started to add goal involvements to his game, too.

At 22, Mount is only going to get better. Thomas Tuchel is leading a new era at Stamford Bridge, and Mount looks set to be a key performer for the Blues in the coming years.

Ilkay Gundogan – Manchester City

Everyone knows that Ilkay Gundogan is a special player, right? But before this season, he was only really viewed as a technical midfielder with an eye for a pass.

However, the Germany international has transformed himself into a genuine goalscoring force this term, aiding Man City’s title charge in the process.

Across his first four seasons in England, Gundogan only managed to score 15 goals in 102 Premier League appearances. In his opening 22 EPL outings this season, he has already 11 times.

Each of Gundogan’s 11 strikes this term came during a 12-macth hot streak between December and February, with braces coming against West Brom, Liverpool, and Spurs. But his all-round game has also been hugely impressive.

It goes without saying that Gundogan is one of the most improved EPL players this season.

Patrick Bamford – Leeds United

It was always going to be difficult for Patrick Bamford to make the step up from the Championship to the Premier League. Well, it was supposed to be.

As it turns out, the Leeds striker is right at home in England’s top-flight.

Bamford actually made his EPL debut all the way back in 2015/16, making just six appearances for Crystal Palace that season. Following fruitless spells at Norwich City, Burnley, and Middlesbrough, his Premier League tally stood at one goal in 27 games.

Since gaining promotion with Leeds last year, Bamford hasn’t stopped scoring. The 27-year-old has netted 13 goals in 27 league outings this term, as well as chipping in with six assists.

In fact, Bamford’s recent performances have led to talk of him making the England squad for the European Championship.

Oriol Romeu – Southampton

Unfortunately, Oriol Romeu has been ruled out for the remainder of the 2020/21 campaign due to an ankle injury. But in my eyes, he has already done enough to earn himself a mention here.

We all know that Southampton’s season has taken a turn for the worse over the past few months, yet Romeu consistently put in standout performances for his side, even when the Saints were struggling.

The combative Spanish midfielder never really made a name for himself at Stamford Bridge, playing just 22 EPL matches across two seasons for Chelsea. He is now into his sixth season at Southampton, and he is destined to enjoy many more years of success on the south coast.

Let’s hope that Romeu can come back stronger next season and show everybody exactly why he is one of the most improved Premier League players in 2021.

Ollie Watkins – Aston Villa

Like Bamford, Watkins entered the EPL this season having spent the previous campaign in the second tier. But judging by his displays this term, you wouldn’t know that he is new to the Premier League.

The former Brentford forward wasted no time in announcing himself on the EPL scene, scoring six goals across his first seven top-flight outings, including a memorable hat-trick in Aston Villa’s 7-2 thrashing of Liverpool.

OLLIE WATKINS IN THE EPL (2020/21 SEASON)
Games Goals Assists Minutes
26 10 3 2,340

In total, Watkins has chalked up ten goals and three assists in the Premier League, starting every one of his team’s games this season.

After narrowly avoiding relegation last year, Villa stands a realistic chance of securing European soccer for next season. Needless to say, Watkins’ goals have been pivotal to his side’s push for a European finish this term.

Closing Thoughts

Every season, the Premier League dishes up countless surprises.

I mean, nobody seriously expected John Stones to make a Man City resurgence, did they? And I don’t think too many people could have predicted that Dominic Calvert-Lewin would be challenging for the Golden Boot.

But that’s exactly why we love the EPL, right?

That’s it for my take on the most improved Premier League players in 2021. If you enjoy betting on the English top-flight, make sure you check out our EPL picks section.

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