See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting opening weekend in the Premier League. Manchester United provide three players, while there are two from Hull City and Liverpool and one from Everton, Manchester City, Southampton and Swansea City.
Maarten Stekelenburg (Everton)
The summer signing from Fulham had seldom to do in the first half but came up trumps with two excellent saves – from Victor Janssen and Erik Lamela – in the dying embers of the game as Everton held on for a draw. Little he could do about the goal, and looked assured between the sticks. The Toffees needed someone this season to take over the gloves from Tim Howard and the Dutchman looks like the perfect replacement.
Antonio Valencia (Manchester United)
When Valencia first popped up at right-back, everyone thought his place there would be short-lived when a proper right-back was signed, but Ecuadorian showed on Sunday he is capable of making the position his own. He carried his fantastic pre-season form into the new campaign and was United’s outlet throughout the game, bombing up and down the right flank whilst delivering dangerous crosses into the box.
Eric Bailly (Manchester United)
Eyebrows were raised when United decided to splash the cash on a defender who had never played in the Premier League, but he looked like a seasoned pro on Sunday. He was imperious at the back and rarely looked flustered or challenged. The Ivorian was supremely composed through the game as he brushed his opponents aside. A performance that suggests the 22-year-old is the heir to Nemanja Vidic. A real bargain for £30m?
Curtis Davies (Hull City)
With all the uncertainty surrounding the club, Hull City needed a leader for their baptism of fire and Davies duly delivered a huge display as captain. He intercepted countless attempted through balls and marshalled a makeshift back four brilliantly. He was also a threat at the opposite end and drew a world class save from Kasper Schmeichel in the build-up to the Tigers’ opening goal.
Stephen Kingsley (Swansea City)
Francesco Guidolin decided that Neil Taylor wasn’t ready for the opening game after his busy schedule during the Euros with Wales and handed the spot to Kingsley. On what he showed against Burnley, he may very well hold his starting position. The young Scot was superb when going forward and worked very hard at the back to deny Sean Dyche’s men on numerous occasions. Was arguably one of the standout performers in Swansea’s win.
Robert Snodgrass (Hull City)
The last time Snodgrass was in the Premier League, he missed the whole season with a horrific injury but the return to the top flight was almost worth the wait. The Scottish winger produced the moment of magic to seal Hull’s win on a day that saw him regularly trouble Leicester City with a tireless display. His never give up attitude resonated with the rest of his squad and was given just rewards for his wonderful performance.
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)
Jurgen Klopp needed one of his players to wake up against Arsenal after a woeful opening 45 minutes and boy did Coutinho deliver. The Brazilian’s magical free-kick single-handedly dragged Liverpool back into the game and he was the driving force behind the spectacular recovery in the second half. He did something which it’s hoped he will do more of this season: grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck. His two goals and the wonderful flick to release Georginio Wijnaldum for Liverpool’s second rounded off an excellent afternoon for the Reds talisman. Player of the week!?
Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
One of several England flops from the summer, Sterling seems like a player reborn under Pep Guardiola. It may not have been his most inspiring performance, but he was the brightest spark in an otherwise slow and uncertain City side. He dribbled without fear, attacked the byline, did brilliantly to win the penalty which led to Sergio Aguero’s opening goal and was a constant thorn in the side of both Sunderland full-backs.
Nathan Redmond (Southampton)
Claude Puel spent the day before Southampton’s opener talking up Redmond’s talent, and the possibility of him playing as a central striker – going so far as to make a comparison with Thierry Henry. And against Watford, the £10m summer arrival from Norwich City didn’t disappoint. He was a constant menace up front with his dribbling abilities and forced some excellent saves before rifling in a wonderful volley to salvage a point.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United)
Ibrahimovic can not go anywhere without grabbing the headlines, can he? On a day where United cruised to a well-deserved victory, the Swede provided a moment of magic to continue his remarkable run of debut goals across Europe’s top leagues. What a strike it was. On top of his goal scoring ability, he didn’t put a foot wrong throughout the game and provided some lovely link-up play for United up front.
Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Debuts do not come much better than this, do they? Probably Liverpool’s most notable signing of the summer, Mane proved his worth in the win over Arsenal on Sunday. His goal was outstanding but his all-round play was just as good. Liverpool have been crying out for some pace and width in their side in recent seasons and Mane now seems like the man to deliver those qualities for the Reds.
Subs: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City), Gareth McAuley (West Bromwich Albion), Jake Livermore (Hull City), Etienne Capoue (Watford), Gaston Ramirez (Middlesbrough), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Diego Costa (Chelsea).
This article is written by Shantanu Ambekar, you can follow him on Twitter at @ShantanuAmbekar. What are your thoughts? Let us know by dropping a comment via our comments box below. Make sure you follow us on Twitter, Google+, Instagram and like us on Facebook.