The opening weekend of the Premier League season saw last season’s top two begin in ominous fashion, champions Manchester City and Liverpool both registering comprehensive wins.
Manchester United announced their intentions for the season with a 4-0 thrashing of anticipated top-four rivals Chelsea at Old Trafford, whilst life at Brighton began well for new manager Graham Potter as they shocked Watford 3-0 at Vicarage Road.
Here in an attacking 3-4-3 formation, is the Football Faithful’s Team of the Week…
Goalkeeper: Ederson – Manchester City
Manchester City might well have ran riot at West Ham on Saturday lunchtime, with the champions beginning their defence of the title with a 5-0 ‘hammering’ of Manuel Pellegrini’s side at the London Stadium.
City’s attacking options may have taken the headlines, but Brazil international Ederson demonstrated a timely reminder of his qualities in the second period.
With the game poised at 2-0 the goalkeeper made a fine double save, first parrying a Javier Hernandez effort before reacting quickly to claw away Manuel Lanzini’s follow-up header.
It’s enough to earn the 25-year-old his place in our side.
Centre-back: Aaron Wan-Bissaka – Manchester United
Filling in as our right-sided centre-back is Manchester United’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who enjoyed a fine debut for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side at Old Trafford.
World-record signing Harry Maguire may have taken most of the headlines, but the England U21 international demonstrated just why he is so highly-rated with a series of timely tackles and interceptions.
The 21-year-old showcased his pace and ball-winning ability during one brilliant recovery tackle on Chelsea’s Ross Barkley, and part of a new back four alongside Maguire that could help end United’s defensive woes.
Centre-back: Harry Maguire – Manchester United
The world’s most expensive defender slotted seamlessly into the United defence on Sunday, his record-breaking £80m move seeming to have added no extra pressure to his broad shoulders.
‘Slabhead’ marshalled United’s back four well, showing a calmness and composure not often seen in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s defence last season.
Many criticised his huge fee, though if the England international continues to bring this level of assuredness to the United defence his price-tag will soon be forgotten.
Centre-back: Lewis Dunk – Brighton
Many (myself included) had tipped Brighton to struggle this season, however, Graham Potter’s reign began with an impressive 3-0 win at Brighton on Saturday.
Central to their fortunes was defender Dunk, who shone in the heart of the Brighton defence. The 27-year-old blocked one shot on the goal line and was a threat at the other end, producing the assist for debutant Neil Maupay’s goal.
Midfield: Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City
It all seemed to come easy for the Belgian midfielder during Manchester City’s thrashing of West Ham, the midfielder seemingly capable of opening up the host’s defence at will as they capitulated in the second half.
De Bruyne played his part in a wonderful City goal that was disallowed through VAR, though registered his first assist of the season by playing in Raheem Sterling for City’s second.
Injuries hampered the 28-year-old’s season last term, and a fully-fit De Bruyne will only improve the champions hopes of a third successive title.
Midfield: Paul Pogba – Manchester United
The France international undoubtedly has his fair share of critics, but when the 26-year-old keeps his game simple he undoubtedly one of the most complete midfielders in the Premier League.
After an intense summer of transfer speculation, United will be delighted that Pogba remains at Old Trafford, the former Juventus star showcasing his ability with a perfectly lofted pass for Marcus Rashford’s second goal on Sunday.
The weight of pass and technique was superb, and he turned provider again for Daniel James’ debut goal after a surging run. If United are to have a successful season, Pogba will be key to their hopes.
Right-wing: Mohamed Salah – Liverpool
Winner of the Golden Boot in successive seasons, Mohamed Salah began where he left off with a first goal of the campaign in Liverpool’s opener with Norwich at Anfield.
His goal was typical Salah, a darting run inside from the right and a calm left-footed finish stroked into the far corner. The Egyptian later turned provider, his corner headed powerfully home by Virgil van Dijk as Liverpool hit four before half-time.
Salah and Liverpool’s performance slowed in the second period, but the 27-year-old looks primed for another productive season.
Left-wing: Raheem Sterling – Manchester City
The reigning FWA Footballer of the Year showed just why he is likely be considered for the game’s highest individual honours once more this season, hitting an opening day hat-trick in City’s 5-0 win at West Ham.
The England international has developed into one of Europe’s finest attacking players, his movement and finishing having improved immeasurably working under Pep Guardiola.
Sterling was at his flying best at the London Stadium, hitting two calmly placed finishes either side of a delightful dinked effort following a Riyad Mahrez pass.
The 24-year-old became just the eighth player to hit an opening day hat-trick, and it is likely there are many more goals to come.
Forward: Marcus Rashford
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has placed his faith in Rashford and fellow forward Anthony Martial, sanctioning the sale of Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan without signing a replacement.
The duo justified their manager’s decision on Sunday, scoring three goals between them as United thrashed Chelsea at Old Trafford.
Rashford showed he is ready to take added responsibility by stepping-up to score United’s opener from the penalty spot, before racing onto a pass from Pogba to put United three-up and in control in the second half.
The 21-year-old hit double figures for Premier League goals for the first time last season, Solskjaer will need the youngster to show similar ruthlessness to this weekend if he is to improve on that total this time around.
Forward: Ashley Barnes – Burnley
In times where strike partnerships are a sadly a rarity, Burnley battering-rams Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood continue to unsettle and unnerve Premier League defences.
Against Southampton, it was Barnes who set Burnley on their way to a comprehensive 3-0 win, netting a fine double to put the hosts in charge at Turf Moor.
The 29-year-old capitalised on a mistake from Jannick Vestergaard to fire home a superb opener, before meeting Erik Pieters’ cross with a controlled first time finish to put Burnley in control.
Barnes and strike partner Wood will be vital to the hopes of Sean Dyche’s side this season, Barnes having now scored 10 goals in his last 16 appearances for the club.
Forward: Harry Kane – Tottenham
Newly-promoted Aston Villa threatened to cause an opening weekend shock at Spurs on Saturday, leading for much of the contest before being pegged back by debutant Tanguy Ndombele’s impressive strike.
A point would have proven a fine result for Dean Smith’s visitors, though England captain Kane broke Villa hearts with a late double.
Jack Grealish’s dithering in possession saw Kane fire Spurs ahead, before another perfectly placed finish sealed the result late on.
Kane’s 17 Premier League goals last season was his lowest total since becoming a Spurs regular, he will hope to improve on that tally as he bids for a third Golden Boot this season.
This weeks Premier League TOTW is brought to you in association with our friends at Carling, who’ve just launched a superb new inter lockable glass that allows you to carry four pints easily. Now if that’s not an innovation we can all get behind, we don’t know what is!