And just like that, the opening weekend of the new Premier League season is over.
Time flies by when you’re having fun, right? Unless you’re a Manchester United fan of course. Spare a thought for those who genuinely thought a ‘new era’ was coming to Old Trafford.
We’ve already seen it all. Shock results, debut goals and teams desperately trying to get off to a strong start at all costs – to varying degrees of success. And among all the madness, a number of players have caught the eye.
Be it Arsenal kicking off the weekend in supreme style with a convincing win over Crystal Palace on Friday night, Liverpool being humbled by Fulham in Saturday’s early kick-off or Erling Haaland running wild at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon, we really have had one brilliant first gameweek.
If the season continues in the manner we saw the opening weekend play out, then we’re in for a wild ride. Except United fans, who could just be in for a bumpy one that ends with four flat tyres and a dead battery – again.
Of course, nothing is decided in the first week of the season. Like, at all. The campaign is a long and gruelling one, and with the added caveat of teams having to negotiate a winter break for the 2022 World Cup, twists and turns are almost guaranteed.
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But, with one weekend out of the way and some teams off to a flyer, it means we’ve seen the best and the worst of several players already. Football stats site WhoScored have crafted a Premier League Team of the Week using their player ratings from the opening weekend, and it makes for intriguing reading.
There’s no way to please fans of every club, ultimately, with so many stellar performances through the weekend and only 11 places up for grabs. However, some of the names missing from the team are very surprising. Be sure to check it out below.
Quite a striking XI from the off, which includes no less than three Newcastle players and two players from promoted sides in Fulham and Bournemouth.
Aleksandar Mitrovic was excellent in Fulham’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool both in front of goal and away from it, making Virgil van Dijk’s afternoon a complete nightmare. He clocks in with the highest rating out of all the players named, with an astonishing 9.61.
Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton were both impressive as Newcastle made light work of Nottingham Forest, while Dejan Kulusevski looked bright against Southampton. Danny Welbeck was also solid away to United, but the absences of both Haaland and Darwin Nunez are rather surprising.
Both Haaland and Nunez scored on their respective Premier League debuts, with the former running riot against West Ham and the latter proving pivotal from the bench to rescue a point for Liverpool. The XI has done the rounds on Reddit and prompted some discussion among fans. Let’s take a look.
Pascal Gross scoring a brace at Old Trafford but not getting into the XI feels extremely harsh also, while there is some surprise of the inclusions of Edouard Mendy, Oleksandr Zinchenko and even Ben White, with fellow Arsenal defender William Saliba earning player of the match on Friday night.
The season is long, though, and plenty of players will be able to make their way into WhoScored’s infamous, stats-based Team of the Week through the course of the campaign. Although for the likes of Haaland and Gross – who both scored a brace – it seems as though the bar is set rather high.