Liverpool were the opening weekend’s big winners as they demolished West Ham 4-0 at Anfield, while Chelsea, Tottenham and both Manchester clubs also kicked off the campaign with victories.
The Premier League’s new boys had a tough weekend, with both Cardiff and Fulham on the back of 2-0 defeats at the hands of Bournemouth and Crystal Palace, and Wolves drew with Everton.
Elsewhere, Watford saw off Brighton 2-0 whilst Southampton and Burnley saw out a goal-less draw at St. Marys.
But who were the stand-out performers from the weekend’s action? Have a look below and see if you agree …
Joe Hart – Burnley
Many were bemused by Joe Hart’s arrival at Burnley last week given that the Clarets already have both Nick Pope and Tom Heaton on the books. However with the duo injured, Hart was brought in simply to fill the void – and that he did quite wonderfully at the weekend. The Englishman pulled off a string of impressive saves in the 0-0 draw against Southampton, and his performance would have given Sean Dyche plenty of food for thought as to whether he could be the main man between the sticks for his side this season.
Ricardo Pereira – Leicester City
Leicester’s new boy had an impressive start to Premier League life against Manchester United despite being on the end of a 2-1 defeat. Pereira, who joined from Porto this summer, kept Alexis Sanchez quiet all night and his powerful runs forward caused trouble for United all evening, especially in the final moments when he provided the cross for Jamie Vardy’s late goal.
Aymeric Laporte – Manchester City
Laporte was given the nod by Pep Guardiola ahead of Nicholas Otamendi for yesterday’s visit to Arsenal, and the young Frenchman didn’t disappoint. The former Athletic Bilbao star was an omnipresent force in the heart of City’s defence, heading clear just about every ball that came into the box. He almost got on the scoresheet too, but was denied brilliantly by Petr Cech late in the first half.
Jan Vertonghen – Tottenham
It wasn’t a convincing performance for Spurs against Newcastle, in-fact Mauricio Pochettino’s side were quite fortunate to end up the victors thanks to the wonders of goal-line technology. It was Vertonghen’s header that sealed the win, crossing the line by just nine millimetres, but the Belgian was brilliant at the other end too, making a number of crucial interceptions to stop the Magpies getting through clean on goal.
Luke Shaw – Manchester United
Not bad for ‘fat boy’ ay, Jose? Luke Shaw’s performance on Friday night would have silenced a number of his critics, and none less so than Jose Mourinho. Not only did the Englishman score United’s second against Leicester (and his first ever career goal), but he ran up and down the left flank all night like a man possessed, both defending superbly and adding a potent threat in the final third. Could this finally be his season?
James Milner – Liverpool
Liverpool fans can be forgiven for thinking Forrest Gump had shaven his beard and nicked James Milner’s shirt during yesterday’s 4-0 win over West Ham such was the amount of ground the Red’s number seven covered. Milner just kept going, and going, and going at Anfield, having an astonishing 122 touches and completing 93.1% of his passes. He also bagged himself an assist for Sadio Mane’s first. Who’d believe he is 32?
Naby Keita – Liverpool
Jurgen Klopp has previously insisted Philippe Coutinho, who left for Barcelona in January, is irreplaceable. Naby Keita will beg to differ. The Guinean was Liverpool’s star man on Sunday, and already proved he is capable of filling the creative void left by Coutinho – playing a key role in Liverpool’s opener, as well as in the build-up to the second. More than just a playmaker however, Keita won the ball back from the opposition eight times, more than any other player on the park.
Ruben Neves – Wolves
After a brilliant season in the Championship last year, the biggest question asked of Ruben Neves was “can he do it in the Premier League?” Yes. Yes he can. Neves starred as Wolves’ opened the season with a 2-2 draw with Everton on Saturday, first thumping home a trademark free-kick, before later providing a pinpoint cross for Raul Jimenez to level the scores late on. Keep up that kind of form, and he’ll be a wanted man come January.
Sadio Mane – Liverpool
Sadio Mane simply loves the opening day. In his first season with Liverpool, the Senegal star scored what proved to the winner in a 4-3 win over Arsenal. Last season he was on the scoresheet again in a 3-3 draw with Watford. This time around, the 26-year-old bagged two as Jurgen Klopp’s side dispatched West Ham with ease. Mane managed 20 goals in all competitions last term, and you can bet he’ll be aiming to beat that total this time around.
Richarilson – Everton
Everton paid a lot of money for Richarlison this summer – the fee could end up being as high as £50 million. That’s a lot of money for a fella who scored just five times last term, however the Brazilian flew out of the gates for his new side on Saturday, scoring a brace in the 2-2 draw with Wolves. The first was a poachers finish, but the second was a thing of beauty. Cutting in from the left-flank, Richarilson bent the ball round defender Conor Coady and perfectly into the bottom corner beyond the helpless Rui Patricio.
Pedro – Chelsea
Pedro was Chelsea’s star player in pre-season and was rewarded with a new deal at Stamford Bridge subsequent to his performances. And the Spaniard continued that fine form against on Saturday, scoring Chelsea’s third in a 3-0 win over Huddersfield. At 31, it was expected Pedro would play a bit part role under Maurizio Sarri this season, however the former Barcelona star already looks like he could be a key man for the Blues.