Football Features

From Man Utd’s ‘little pitbull’ to surprise Liverpool star, every PL club’s fastest player this season

By Harry Edwards

Published: 16:44, 7 February 2024

Pace seems to be becoming increasingly important in the modern game.

While there are a select few who can influence games without needing too much speed, using their spacial awareness and pure footballing ability to dictate play, in the world of fast breaks you need to be able to keep up. Whether it’s in short bursts or other slightly longer distances, pace can be crucial.

Of course, pace alone isn’t everything and over the years we’ve seen fast players fail to add much more to their game in the Premier League. In the end, as an opposition fan you’re almost happy for them to run at your team, as you know it won’t come to much.

But who has the fastest player in the Premier League this season? And who leads the way for each Premier League club?

We’ve taken a look below.

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Arsenal

Player: Gabriel Martinelli
Top speed: 36.33km/h

Arsenal have a few pacy players especially in their attack, so this title could have gone to anyone. And it still could be anyone’s by the time the season is over. So far it’s Gabriel Martinelli holding the crown, already beating the Gunners’ top speed for last season (36.07km/h recorded by Reiss Nelson). The Brazilian has missed just two league games for Arsenal this season, forming the left side of their front three, and has scored five goals.

Aston Villa

Player: Moussa Diaby
Top speed: 35.93km/h

If we dip into virtual football for a second, this will come as no surprise. On EA Sports FC24, Moussa Diaby is one of the fastest players in the game, with a Pace rating of 95. So it’s no surprise that he’s coming out on top for Aston Villa. However, his top speed of 35.93km/h would only see him top at nine other Premier League clubs. He has used his pace to good effect at times this season, particularly during Aston Villa’s good run.

Bournemouth

Player: Ilya Zabarnyi
Top speed: 36.6km/h

*Spoiler alert* Ilya Zabarnyi is the first of a few centre-backs to make this list, and it’s a position would probably wouldn’t expect to bring pace. But in the modern game, you need it, especially as a centre-back when you’re rushing back from a corner to stop a counter. Zabarnyi has been ever-present for Bournemouth in the league this season, one of just five outfield players to have played every possible minute for their team.

Brentford

Player: Bryan Mbeumo
Top speed: 35.94km/h

When Ivan Toney was unavailable for selection, Brentford needed someone else to step up and that man was Bryan Mbeumo. The Cameroonian scored seven goals and provided three assists in 15 Premier League appearances before injury hit. It’s no coincidence that Brentford fell down the table once Mbeumo was unavailable.

Brighton

Player: Igor Julio
Top speed: 34.28km/h

Among all 20 Premier League teams, Brighton are the slowest when it comes to top speed. Igor Julio is their fastest player so far, clocking a top speed of 34.28km/h — one of just three teams yet to reach the 35km/h mark. Another defender, Igor Julio had to wait until October to make his Premier League debut and has played 13 times so far, either at centre-back or on the left.

Burnley

Player: Dara O’Shea
Top speed: 36.73km/h

There aren’t too many players in the Burnley squad that shout “speed demon”, perhaps Luca Koleosho, but he hasn’t been able to reach full capacity this season due to injuries. But no one would have expected to see Dara O’Shea coming out on top for the Clarets. The Irishman joined Burnley in the summer from West Brom and has made all 19 of his appearances at centre-back, showing that he can match even the fastest of wingers in a foot race.

Chelsea

Player: Raheem Sterling
Top speed: 35.53km/h

Last season, Chelsea had two players in the top 10 for fastest speeds. One of those was Mykhailo Mudryk and he’d be the likely name if you had guess one player to be the fastest. But he doesn’t even have that going for him this season. Currently it’s Raheem Sterling leading the way for the Blues when it comes to speed, though it’s a slightly lower 35.53km/h this season. He has scored five and assisted three times this season, with only two players directly involved in more goals for Chelsea.


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Crystal Palace

Player: Nathaniel Clyne
Top speed: 34.5km/h

Nathaniel Clyne had to made do with a substitute role for the first part of the season, but recently enjoyed a run of starts. The 32-year-old has still only played 10 times for the Eagles in the league, but that’s been enough time to clock up their fastest speed of the season so far.

Everton

Player: Amadou Onana
Top speed: 36.76km/h

Having a defensive midfielder with pace can be a bit of a cheat code at times. You know that even when he advances further up the pitch, he’ll be able to get back to stop counters. And that’s what Everton have in Amadou Onana. The Belgian makes use of his long legs, standing at 6’4″ both with the ball and without, and combing that with his other abilities it’s no surprise he is often linked with the biggest clubs.

Fulham

Player: Adama Traore
Top speed: 35.55km/h

Come on. Who’s surprised? Adama Traore is known for two things – speed and covering his arms with baby oil. The Spaniard has caused many a defender nightmares with his runs down the flank and once he gets going it’s hard to stop him. However, he has slowed down slightly of late, yet to break the 36km/h barrier for Fulham this season.

Liverpool

Player: Dominik Szoboszlai
Top speed: 36.76km/h

When you think of pace and Liverpool, your mind will probably go straight to Mohamed Salah. Or Luis Diaz. Or even Darwin Nunez, who clocked the fourth-highest top speed in the Premier League last season. But, no, this season so far it’s Dominik Szoboszlai. The Hungarian has done well in Liverpool’s midfield since joining from RB Leipzig in the summer, missing only two of their games so far due to injury. He’s also started 20 of his 21 Premier League appearances.

Luton

Player: Chiedozie Ogbene
Top speed: 36.93km/h

Mention Thierry Henry to an Irish fan and it won’t go down well. But there has been a positive link made recently. Chiedozie Ogbene is a 19-cap Irish international currently at Luton, joining from Rotherham in the summer. A winger by trade, he has played deeper in recent weeks, dropping into the wing-back role. In Luton’s 4-4 draw with Newcastle United at the weekend, Ogbene went up against Dan Burn and used his pace to give the Englishman a tough afternoon.

“He’s playing right wing-back – not easy for a flying winger normally but it shows he’s got defensive capabilities as well,” Jamie Carragher said on Sky Sports, analysing Ogbene’s performance against Newcastle.

“I’ll tell you what he isn’t – a full-back’s dream! The reason I’m laughing is that I’ve been there. The way Dan Burn feels at the moment having chased this fella at the weekend is the way I used to feel chasing Thierry Henry.

“He’s in that wing-back role…you know when you’re playing against a quick player as a defender because you don’t even look at the ball, you just get on your bike and you go! You hope that ball in behind isn’t a great ball…but look at that pace.

“When I think about Luton players who’ve really impressed me, he is the one alongside Ross Barkley who has been fantastic.”

It’ll be no surprise that he tops Luton for speed this season.

Man City

Player: Matheus Nunes
Top speed: 35.59km/h

Last season, Man City had the top speed in the Premier League with Kyle Walker’s 37.31km/h. But this season, they haven’t got close. Matheus Nunes is the man to record Man City’s top speed so far this season, at a measly 35.59km/h. What makes this more impressive is the fact that Nunes has played just 563 minutes in the Premier League this season.

Man Utd

Player: Diogo Dalot
Top speed: 35.46km/h

Man Utd are a team with some pace in attack, so you’d have expected one of their wingers to clock the top speed this season. But for now it’s Diogo Dalot. Perhaps that’s not surprising for a man dubbed the little pitbull. The defender has been a favourite for Erik ten Hag on the right side of Man Utd’s defence, missing just two games so far this season — and one of those was through suspension. He has also popped up on the left on occasion, going through good periods of form.

Newcastle

Player: Anthony Gordon
Top speed: 36.68km/h

The fourth-fastest player in the Premier League last season, Anthony Gordon clocked a top speed of 36.61km/h, but he has bettered that this year. It’s been a great season for the Englishman who has really come into his own at St James’ Park, proving crucial to Newcastle especially when the club have been struggling with injuries. Gordon himself has missed just one game so far due to suspension, though he has recently sustained an injury of his own.

Nottingham Forest

Player: Anthony Elanga
Top speed: 35.85km/h

When Anthony Elanga came off the bench in Nottingham Forest’s opening game of the season, he caused havoc. Recording an assist within a few minutes, Elanga seriously looked like he could turn the game against Arsenal around on his own. His pace was key to terrorising the defence, so it’s no surprise to see him having clocked Nottingham Forest’s top speed this season.

Sheffield United

Player: Cameron Archer
Top speed: 34.71km/h

The final club yet to break the 35km/h mark, Sheffield United’s top speed so far this season has been recorded by Cameron Archer. The striker joined from Aston Villa just after the season started and has played 21 times for Sheffield United, with 15 of those coming from the off. But overall it has been a season of struggle for the Blades.

Tottenham

Player: Micky van de Ven
Top speed: 37.38km/h

The fastest player in the Premier League so far, and it’s another centre-back. Micky van de Ven has been a wonderful signing for Tottenham, and his importance was shown by how the club did during his time sidelined through injury. As well as his reading of the game, Van de Ven is a tough-to-beat defender because of his pace. It feels like he can keep up with anyone, and his pace allows Tottenham to play a higher line under Ange Postecoglou. His top speed this season is also faster than any reached in 2023/24, just about beating out Kyle Walker’s 37.31km/h.

West Ham

Player: Michail Antonio
Top speed: 35.09km/h

Michail Antonio has struggled for injury this season, not featuring since before the November international break. But across his 12 appearances in the Premier League, Antonio has clocked West Ham’s top speed. It’s not really a surprising name either, with West Ham not boasting too many fast players.

Wolves

Player: Pedro Neto
Top speed: 36.86km/h

Let’s be real, this was one of the more obvious ones. Wolves love a speedy winger and this time it’s Pedro Neto running down the wings. What makes Neto so dangerous is that he pairs his pace with end product, recording eight assists so far in the Premier League this season. Only two players have recorded more than the Portuguese star, but he has produced his eight assists in just 1,147 minutes. Just think how many he’d have if he hadn’t struggled with injury problems.

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