Sterling, Ramsey and Spurs new boy in team of the week
Goalscoring midfielders, a debutant and some established stars feature in the opening weekend's selection
The Premier League is back and after an opening weekend that produced only two home wins, for Arsenal and Liverpool, it is time to run the rule over the star performers from the opening round of games.
Louis van Gaal was given a rude introduction to the English top flight, courtesy of some upstarts from Wales, as Swansea stunned Man United at Old Trafford. Leicester salvaged a point against Everton with a late equaliser, and although Arsenal and Liverpool both won their victories were laboured.
But who were the stars of the opening weekend? Here's our pick of the experts' picks.
Hugo Lloris (Spurs). A clean sheet at Upton Park despite seeing one of his defenders sent off earns Lloris the nod over Alan McGregor of Hull. "New season, same old Hugo Lloris," says ESPN. "There he goes, saving Tottenham's bacon yet again." The Frenchman made two fine second-half stops from Stewart Downing and saw Mark Noble fire a penalty wide.
James Chester (Hull), Eric Dier (Spurs), Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa), Ashley Williams (Swansea). Hull defender James Chester produced an "outstanding performance" against QPR, says Garth Crooks of the BBC. He scored the winner and marshalled Loic Remy well. He was harshly penalised for handball in the box but Charlie Austin missed the resulting penalty. Youngster Eric Dier had a dream debut for Spurs and, along with Chester, was the highest-scoring fantasy league player this weekend. Not only did he help Spurs keep a clean sheet he "also had the audacity to score the winner", notes the Daily Mail. Ron Vlaar had a wonderful World Cup and kept up the good work for Villa as they saw off Stoke. "The 29-year-old displayed why he has become so coveted since Brazil," says ESPN. Ashley Williams was just as influential as Swansea stunned Man United at Old Trafford. He was "superb" says the Daily Mail and "looks set to have another stellar season" for the Swans.
Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), David Silva (Man City). The rise of young Sterling continues after he scored Liverpool's opener against Southampton. "This lad is looking better with every game but it is his coolness in front of goal that is most impressive," says Crooks of the BBC. Sigurdsson marked his return to Swansea colours by orchestrating the downfall of Louis van Gaal. He was involved in the first goal and "capped a fine performance with a neat finish" to win the match for the Swans, says the Mail. Another Welsh hero who scored his side's winner was Aaron Ramsey, who picked up where he left off last season. He may not have bossed the match, but as ESPN points out, "mediocre performances can be elevated to pivotal ones in the blink of an injury-time eye". David Silva, who scored against Newcastle, is "back to his best" says Crooks. "He was commanding and keen to score goals," and that is an ominous sign.
Saido Berahino (West Brom) Steven Naismith (Everton). The West Brom youngster notched an impressive 13 fantasy points with two goals against Sunderland. ESPN points out he was the only player to score twice this weekend. Everton forward Naismith covered 7.7 miles for the cause against Leicester and notched a goal as well. "The winger will be central to Roberto Martinez's plans this season," reckons the Mail. ·