Man City started the defence of their Premier League title with a resounding 5-0 victory over West Ham United on Saturday. Raheem Sterling was the star of the show, scoring a hat trick while Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus also got in on the act, netting the other two goals.
A day earlier, Liverpool had also gotten off to a flying start, beating Norwich 4-1 at Anfield. A goal apiece from Muhammad Salah, Virgil Van Dijk and Divock Origi coupled by Grant Hanley’s own-goal did the damage for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
In the headline fixture of the opening weekend, Man United humiliated Chelsea 4-0 on Sunday thanks to a brace by Marcus Rashford and a goal each from Anthoney Martial and debutant Daniel James.
Arsenal and Tottenham also kick-started their campaign with victories. The Gunners required a second-half Aubameyang lone strike to scrap past Newcastle United 1-0 while Spurs came from behind to defeat stubborn Aston Villa 3-1 at home. Star-player Harry Kane helped himself to a brace after debutant Tonguy Ndobele had levelled matters for Spurs.
Burnley and Brighton were the other winners on the opening weekend, defeating Southampton and Watford 3-0 respectively. The other three fixtures all ended in draws.
Here are the XI players who stood out for me this past weekend in a 3:4:3.
GK: David De Gea (Man United)
We all know how good De Gea can be and he was at his best in the win over Chelsea on Sunday. The Spaniard made 7 saves against the Blues, three more than any other goalkeeper on opening weekend.
CB: Chris Mepham (AFC Bournemouth)
Mepham opened the scoring in Bournemouth’s 1-1 draw at home to Sheffield United and in the process, became the club’s third-youngest goal scorer in the Premier League.
CB: Van Dijk (Liverpool)
Arguably the best defender in the world currently. Van Dijk put out another brilliant performance in the 4-1 win over Norwich on Saturday, scoring the third goal, making three clearances and 5 interceptions.
CB: Harry Maguire (Man United)
The most expensive defender in the world and he on Sunday, he showed why United paid 80m for him. Maguire won 71% of his seven duels against Chelsea, while also making a match-high seven clearances.
MF: Ainsley Mitland-Niles (Arsenal)
Four tackles won, three clearances, three interceptions and the assist for Aubameyang’s winner, was as good as Mitland-Niles got in the 1-0 win over Newcastle United. He may not be a finished product yet but if he can put in such displays week in and out, then Hector Bellerin will have good competition for the right-back spot once the Spaniard returns to full fitness.
MF: Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)
He is back and slowly getting to his best. De Bruyne was a consistent menace to West Ham and assisted one of the five goals in the 5-0 win over the Hammers on Saturday.
Since his Premier League debut for Manchester City in September 2015, only Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen (49) has more assists in the competition than De Bruyne (46).
MF: Paul Pogba (Man United)
Despite talk linking him to a move away from Old Trafford, Pogba looked unbothered as he made two assists in the 4-0 win over Chelsea on Sunday.
The two assists mean than Pogba has been involved in 18 Premier League goals – 10 goals and eight assists – since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took charge of Manchester United.
MF: Tonguy Ndombele (Tottenham Hotspurs)
Ndombele marked his Spurs debut with a superb strike to pull his side level and set the stage for Kane’s late double.
The France international became the first player to score on his Premier League debut for the club since Eric Dier against West Ham in August 2014.
FW: Raheem Sterling (Man City).
Sterling was outstanding in his side’s 5-0 win over West Ham and became the eighth player to score a hat-trick on the opening weekend of a Premier League campaign.
The England international scored 17 league goals last season and after this start you would not back against him exceeding that tally this time around.
FW: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspurs)
Kane scored twice as Spurs came from a goal down to defeat Aston Villa 3-1 on Saturday. Kane has now scored six goals in six Premier League appearances against Villa, netting four in his last two league meetings with them.
FW: Ashley Barnes (Burnley)
Barnes enjoyed the second-highest goal scoring season of his career last time out and might fancy his chances of doing even better in the 2019-20 campaign.
His double against Southampton took his Clarets tally in the Premier League to 34 – 14 more than any other player for the club.