There are many attributes which make up a top-level professional footballer – skill, strength, tactical awareness, and finishing ability to name just four.
However, throughout the history of the game one characteristic which has been consistently sought by coaches of the biggest clubs is speed. Fans love it, defenders hate it and in combination with skill, blistering pace can provide an irresistible combination.
Regularly in the football news headlines, and popular with punters assessing the best new football betting sites, the sports speedsters bring a whole load of excitement to the game and get the fans off their seats. But who is the quickest of them all?
Using the respected Opta data ratings, here we take a look at the five men who have threatened to break the stopwatch during the 2022/23 Premier League season to date:
5. Denis Zakaria – Chelsea: 36.09km/h
Swiss international Zakaria joined Chelsea on loan from Juventus in September 2022, with an option to make the transfer permanent at the end of the 2022/23 season.
Zakaria certainly made a positive start to his career at Stamford Bridge when scoring the winner against Dinamo Zagreb on his debut for the club in the Champions League. Primarily a defensive midfield, Zakaria is known for his ability to snuff out attacks and surging runs forward and, it seems, he is also lightning quick!
4. Erling Haaland – Manchester City: 36.22km/h
As if Manchester City’s lethal frontman wasn’t already frightening enough! Already one of the finest finishers in the global game – banging in a ridiculous 25 goals in his opening 19 Premier League outings – it turns out that Haaland is also one of the fastest players in the English top flight.
Excellent at timing his runs and incredibly powerful when hitting full stride, the 22-year-old Norwegian international is simply unstoppable at times.
3. Darwin Nunez – Liverpool: 36.53km/h
Liverpool’s big summer signing hasn’t made quite the same impact as Erling Haaland. However, that shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Nunez was, after all, viewed as being a little rough around the edges when signing for the Reds in a deal potentially worth £85 million.
Bearing in mind his considerable room for improvement, a tally of 10 goals from his opening 24 games is a perfectly respectable return, and Darwin boasts all the physical attributes to succeed, including his strength, and scintillating pace.
2. Anthony Gordon – Everton: 36.61km/h
Bursting onto the scene last season with a series of electrifying displays, the 21-year-old Liverpool native quickly caught the eye playing in the blue of Merseyside club Everton.
Able to be deployed anywhere along the front line, Gordon seems most effective out on the flanks when able to use his rapid acceleration to beat his man either on the inside or the outside.
Incredibly quick visually, that impression has been backed up by the stats – to the extent that in the current Premier League campaign, only one player has clocked a faster top speed….
1. Mykhailo Mudryk – Chelsea: 36.6km/h
Ukrainian sensation Mudryk arrived at the club with a big fee and a tall reputation, with many expecting the 22-year-old to light up the league with his pace and trickery.
Impressive displays for former club Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League suggest the £89 million man will be more than capable of making his presence felt in the biggest league in the world.
It is still early days of course, but Mudryk certainly made an impression in a 35-minute cameo on his debut against Liverpool. He didn’t score or assist, but a little over half an hour was all he needed to become the fastest player seen in the league this season!