The 2014/15 Premier League is but a week away from bursting into life and while it may seem imprudent to go bouncing in betting left, right and centre, pre-season has offered plenty of guidance as to whose ready to go off with a bang.
Allow news.bwin.com/en/ to introduce you to a septet of top-flight denizens who have caught our eyes in the recent warm-up fixtures.
Lukas Jutkiewicz – Burnley
AKA ‘Lukas who?’ for many a fan of top-tier football and fair few who support Middlesbrough (for whom he notched once in 22 Championship games last term) too.
Donning the claret and blue as if it were a superhero’s disguise, he’s hit the ground running for Stone Cold Sean Dyche, plundering five goals in a little over two matches-worth of football.
The Championship kingpins have picked up where they left off in the warm-up, posting victories in all bar one of their seven friendlies to date, including a defeat of Everton in Thailand.
Ashley Young – Manchester United
In a pre-season billed as the last chance saloon for the Old Trafford fringe, the man his former Watford boss Aidy Boothroyd nominated as the long-term successor to Ryan Giggs has reacted with gusto.
Helping himself to a four-goal haul only bettered by Wayne Rooney, Young has started the last three of United’s five tune-ups and seems to have cheated the hook, for this transfer window at least.
Five wins in six pre-season outings for the concession of just one goal.
Not bad for a side shorn of four first teamers and doing it’s best to placate the remaining squad members their departure has unsettled under the stewardship of a new manager.
Bojan Krkic – Stoke
The Potters pre-season hasn’t been plain sailing, but for their newly acquired Camp Nou-refugee things have been more encouraging, with three goals as many games.
At this rate he’ll have rewarded those who’ve backed him to notch over 7.5 Premier League goals at 17/20 before the end of October!
Erik Lamela – Tottenham
His first season post £30m move was innocuous enough to make Fernando Torres blush, but the Argentine appears to be coming to himself under Mauricio Pochettino.
Lamela bagged twice against Toronto in the Lilywhites’ first game of pre-season and was the standout player against Chicago Fire later on in their American jaunt.
Adding another goal against Celtic last time out, his pre-season has been characterised by the confidence to take men on and test the goalkeeper from distance, as well as an exciting understating with his fellow forwards.