Playing Premier League football may seem like a dream occupation, but sometimes getting game-time and a second chance requires a special blend of determination, skill and an ability to take your opportunity when it comes.
Ladbrokes News salute three players giving their hopes a boost after a difficult patch.
Yaya Toure (Manchester City)
Back in early September, the bookies had it at 4/6 that Toure would never step onto the field for the Citizens again.
But despite a long wait for minutes under current boss Pep Guardiola, the Ivorian powerhouse grasped his opportunity with both hands last weekend.
Making his first league start since April, the former Barcelona man produced a match-winning display at Crystal Palace, scoring both goals in a 2-1 victory, with a thunderous opener and a well-taken second.
Chalking up an 89 per cent pass completion rate, he dominated the midfield at Selhurst Park, as well as proving clinical in front of goal. With Guardiola claiming he’s keen to re-add the 33-year-old to his Champions League squad, Toure’s Etihad resurgence could quickly gather momentum.
Victor Moses (Chelsea)
With the Blues having organised more loans than Wonga, it’s fair to say that most young players on the books at Stamford Bridge will end up plying their trade elsewhere.
So it seemed for Moses, who joined the club back in 2012, but found himself frozen out after a mixed first campaign at Chelsea – and hadn’t played a minute of Premier League football for the west London outfit for three seasons, heading into this campaign.
But having remained patient and impressed on loan at Liverpool, Stoke City and West Ham United, the 26-year-old has finally got his Chelsea chance under Antonio Conte and is duly emerging as one of the club’s best performers.
The Nigerian international has already chalked up two goals from the wing in 11 league games this season, and produced another impressive display in yesterday’s hard-fought victory at Middlesbrough. His days on the fringes of the Blues’ set-up already feel like a distant memory.
Victor Valdes (Middlesbrough)
Joining Manchester United may be a dream for some players, but the Old Trafford experience turned out to be something of a nightmare for the Spaniard, who featured just twice for the first-team and was regularly forced to play with the club’s Under-21s by the dictatorial Louis van Gaal.
But the three-time Champions League winner has revitalised his career at the Riverside, with Boro shipping just 13 goals in the league so far – the best record outside the top-half of the table, and fewer than second-placed Liverpool.
The string of saves he produced in the 0-0 draw at Arsenal last month marks his most impressive display, but consistency has been his biggest achievement – with one assured performance after another helping the Prem newboys find their feet in the top-tier.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing