EPL 2016-17: 5 standout players from Week 1
After what seemed like a long wait, the Premier League is back! And it’s been a fascinating opening round of matches, with Arsenal vs Liverpool clearly the pick of the lot. Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United got off to a winning start as they will look to battle each other for the title, while Leicester City and Tottenham had to endure disappointing results.
We take a look at the standout players from the first week of Premier League action:
1) Erik Lamela
The Argentine has already done enough to justify the substantial transfer fee Tottenham paid Roma for his services a couple of years ago, and is now beginning to thrive. He had a great pre-season and was a livewire in Spurs first game, buzzing around, winning the ball back and looking to create chances.
His endeavor was rewarded when he beat Mason Holgate to a header and scored to earn his team a point at Goodison Park. This could be a standout year for the 24-year-old who already has 22 Argentina caps to his name.
2) Philippe Coutinho
Inter Milan have been crying out for a player of his invention and creativity and how they must rue letting the Brazilian leave for Anfield for a pittance. Coutinho was mesmerizing at the Emirates Stadium and his free kick especially was a thing of beauty. His passes constantly tore the Arsenal defence to shreds as well, and the 24-year-old Vasco De Game youth product could be entering the prime of his career.
Coutinho scored 8 Premier League goals in the last campaign; he now has 2 in 1 appearance. How many more could he net under Klopp’s Liverpool?
3) Raheem Sterling
It’s not been a good last year for Sterling, he’s come under some vile criticism for his performances for Manchester City and the national team. Pep Guardiola has been effusive in his praise for him however and constantly assured him that he has the Spaniard’s confidence.
Sterling still has a long way to go to reach the level of play he showed when he burst onto the scene with Liverpool but City’s opening game was a step in the right direction. Sterling won the penalty that Aguero tucked away to give City the lead and looked a lively presence throughout.
4) Sadio Mane
Sadio Mane’s transfer fee was often given as an example of how players prices have shot up in recent times, but if you watched him embarking on his sensational run to score Liverpool’s 4th goal you’d have said he should be worth more than the £30 million pounds plus outlay that was spent. Mane’s performance against Arsenal was far more than the extraordinary goal he scored as well, and almost every touch he made looked effortless and accurate.
Klopp’s reaction when Mane scored said it all really; the German was stunned and delirious. Liverpool fans should look forward to more moments like that from the Senegalese.
5) Eden Hazard
They were a lot of players that looked sharp for Chelsea in their win against West Ham, but Eden Hazard is the one that makes our cut. He looked very near to his best, shimmying past players with ease and using his immaculate ball control and pace at every opportunity he got.
Hazard smashed home Chelsea’s penalty to give Antonio Conte’s side the lead, and even went on a couple of gorgeous solo runs so reminiscent of his barnstorming season a couple of years back. If Chelsea are to challenge for the title again this season, it’s imperative that this version of the Belgian winger turns up as often as possible.
Honourable Mentions: Nathan Redmond and Ander Herrera