This Premier League season was hotly anticipated after the managerial changes at most of the top clubs – in came Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte. Surely one of them at least would struggle, and the key to the season would as ever be making the most of the players at their disposal. So who are those players that have made an immediate impression, and have any of the players from outside the top sides had a stunning start? Here we look at the most impressive performers from the first three rounds of the Premier League 2016-17.
Sterling’s career seemed to have ground to a halt following his big money move from Liverpool to Man City in 2015 – while appearing regularly for the Citizens, his ability to be a game-changer seemed to have gone under Manuel Pellegrini. Under Guardiola however it’s been a different story. Still only 21, he looks reborn and is playing with the kind of confidence last seen when he came to prominence at Anfield. Two goals in three games for the winger, in a City side that has won every game and netted 9 goals in the process, is an impressive return.
If Zlatan says he’s going to score goals, he’s going to score goals. And 3 in his first three matches at the Old Trafford side has proven any doubters – or haters as he probably calls them – that he can indeed ‘cut it’ in the Premier League, even at the age of 34. An important part of a 100% start to the season for Jose Mourinho, Ibracadabra has already spread his magic, earning him a first trophy of the season in the Community Shield, where he score the winner.
‘Conte puts trust in his players and now we are good after an ugly season last year. I’ve always been the same player but Conte knows how to treat players having played at the highest level himself.’ Therein lies the reason behind Hazards return to form after an anonymous season in 2015-16. This thinly-veiled attach on Mourinho suggest the Belgian is enjoying his football much more under the former Juventus footballer and coach, having netted twice already this term – that’s 50% of the goals he scored in the whole of last season. His fantastic solo goal against Liverpool showing just how much confidence he has this season.
Deservedly placed among some of the great and good of world football is Curtis Davies, central defender for beleaguered Hull City. For a side that started the season with only 14 fit senior players, 2 wins from their first 3 outings is a top return, and down in no small part to their resolute defence. Hull secured an impressive opening day 2-1 win over Champions Leicester, and 2-0 away to Swansea in which centre-back Davies claimed an assist. They may still be relegation favourites, but if Davies keeps up this form, the bookies may have to reconsider before long.
If anyone expected Drinkwater’s crucial role in Leicester City’s Premier League triumph last term to be a one season wonder, they will need to amend their views. Drinkwater has picked up where he left off, managing the Foxes midfield, and displaying his excellent range of accurate passing. His assist for Jamie Vardy against Swansea will be among the top assists of the season.
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