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Premier League Player Rankings After Week 1: Fabregas, Man City Players Star

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterAugust 18, 2014

Premier League Player Rankings After Week 1: Fabregas, Man City Players Star

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Welcome to the first edition of our Premier League player power rankings, returning for another season in 2014-15.

    The criteria is simple: We pick the top 20 players on the basis of form and performances in league games only. At this stage, after just a week, we're really ranking the top 20 performances early on.

    Take a look and see if you agree with our selections, and if you feel we've missed anyone let us know in the comments below!

Honourable Mentions

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    Ron Vlaar, Aston Villa

    Diego Costa, Chelsea

    Jordan Henderson, Liverpool

    Ryan Bertrand, Southampton

    Martin Skrtel, Liverpool

    Mile Jedinak, Crystal Palace

    Aiden McGeady, Everton

    Lee Cattermole, Sunderland

    Ki Sung-yueng, Swansea City

    Wayne Rooney, Manchester United

20. Simon Mignolet, Liverpool

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    Clint Hughes/Getty Images

    Simon Mignolet was the opening day hero once again for Liverpool, making a stunning last-minute save to deny Morgan Schneiderlin's would-be equaliser.

    Almost a year ago to the day he made his Reds debut and saved a penalty in the closing stages against Stoke City to preserve a 1-0 lead; Anfield now expects Mignolet heroics in August.

    He looked much improved in the air, too, dropping his first cross claim but never missing a beat after that.

19. Saido Berahino, West Bromwich Albion

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    Clive Rose/Getty Images

    Who needs £10 million man Brown Ideye when Saido Berahino can score crucial braces and win you points?

    With the Nigerian acquisition breathing down the necks of West Bromwich Albion's strike force, Berahino rose to the challenge and netted two smooth goals from close range.

    He's an intelligent player and has obvious footballing IQ; if the finishing continues to improve, England and Alan Irvine have themselves a player.

18. Allan McGregor, Hull City

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    Steve Bardens/Getty Images

    Clean sheet to start the season? Check.

    Penalty save to ensure you impress on the opening day? Check.

    Not a bad day at the office for Allan McGregor, who produced a momentous piece of karma to deny Charlie Austin from the spot after James Chester was wrongly called up for a handball in the box.

    He was great last season but saw his campaign end early due to injury. There doesn't seem to be any rust.

17. Calum Chambers, Arsenal

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    David Rogers/Getty Images

    Calum Chambers put in his most assured performance yet at the heart of the Arsenal defence, adapting further to his role as a centre-back in lieu of Per Mertesacker.

    The Crystal Palace goal wasn't his fault, and although the Gunners never truly made it out of second gear in this one, Chambers looked smooth and calm on the ball.

    Arsene Wenger believes the Southampton youth product can challenge both Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny for a spot in the team and is delighted with his progress. He told reporters:

    It's impressive because he hasn't got a long history in this position because he was a right back and I think if all goes well he has a good career in front of him.

    He can challenge both centre backs and that's what you want. You cannot play with two centre-backs the whole season; that means he will play.

16. James Chester, Hull City

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    Steve Bardens/Getty Images

    James Chester narrowly avoided having his perfect day spoiled by a poor refereeing decision, but Allan McGregor's penalty save following a "handball" saved him.

    Hull City impressed defensively last season, and Curtis Davies was a big factor at the back. Chester, a lesser-known but still very talented former Manchester United trainee, could be the next star to rise under Steve Bruce's tutelage.

15. Aly Cissokho, Aston Villa

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    Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

    Aston Villa were the butt of a lot of jokes after unveiling Aly Cissokho as their newest signing, but if his debut is anything to go by, he's got a lot to offer when the spotlight of a title challenge isn't bearing down on his shoulders.

    For once he was a good attacking outlet, happy to take the ball and cross with accuracy. He was also very defensively stable, outmuscling wingers and standing up tall against shots and opposing balls into the box.

    A very encouraging showing.

14. Raheem Sterling, Liverpool

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    Clint Hughes/Getty Images

    Liverpool were hoping Raheem Sterling would turn into a game-winner like Luis Suarez, and if the first week's action is anything to go by, he's already filling his boots.

    His opener was coolly taken, slipping inside Nathaniel Clyne and tapping home in the face of the onrushing Fraser Forster. Then, leaping highest (somehow) in the box to win a header late on, he was able to put Daniel Sturridge's easy finish on a platter.

13. Aaron Cresswell, West Ham United

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    When you cost £7 million from the Championship all eyes are going to be on you, but if you're a full-back who costs that much the scrutiny becomes even more intense.

    Strikers cost more, everyone knows, so Leonardo Ulloa going to Leicester for the same amount is easy to stomach. But a left-back? He better be good.

    Luckily, it seems as though he might be. Unless Aaron Cresswell has gone full-on Antonio Luna and peaked dramatically in the first game, he could be well worth the money Sam Allardyce has spent on him.

12. Edin Dzeko, Manchester City

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    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    Edin Dzeko played an important yet slightly unsung role in Manchester City's win over Newcastle United on Saturday.

    His overall play was superb, he battled all game and his clever flicked assist for David Silva's opener ensured City broke the lock before the half-time interval.

    Manuel Pellegrini told reporters after the game:

    For me Edin was the best player of the game.

    He won a lot of aerial duels, he’s a very good team player. It’s not strange for me to see him play like that. He finished last season playing very well.

    He has grown. I’m very happy for him—and that’s why he’s renewing his contract. He has a very important duty in our team. I don’t think it’s 100 percent finished but, yes, he will renew his contract.

    He’s a very important player for us.

11. Gael Clichy, Manchester City

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    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    Gael Clichy continues to excel in his right-back role for Manchester City, deputising for the jaded Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna. 

    With the two given more time to recover following FIFA World Cup 2014 commitments, Clichy has used his freshness over the summer to usurp Micah Richards and play on the "wrong" side.

    He finished the win over Newcastle United with a remarkable eight tackles and four interceptions, per WhoScored.com.

10. Philippe Senderos, Aston Villa

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Paul Lambert may have pulled off a coup without us even realising. Philippe Senderos looked badly out of place at the FIFA World Cup 2014 for Switzerland but excelled on his debut for Aston Villa at the Britannia Stadium.

    Alongside Ron Vlaar, he adopted a "thou shalt not pass" attitude and shut down every Potter who ambled his way. Even Bojan, who enjoyed a great pre-season, had no answer to his anticipation and positioning.

9. Cheikhou Kouyate, West Ham

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Cheikhou Kouyate enjoyed a very strong debut, imposing his physicality on Tottenham Hotspur in midfield and surging forward to create early on.

    His passing isn't perfect but better than you'd expect, and he filled in rather aptly at centre-back once James Collins had been sent off for two bookable offences.

    "Kouyate was Man of the Match for me today," his boss enthused to journalists in the post-match press conference. The stadium's official selection was Aaron Cresswell, but you can see exactly why Sam Allardyce loved what he saw on Saturday.

8. Aleksandar Kolarov, Manchester City

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Manchester City were struggling to make a breakthrough against Newcastle United until Aleksandar Kolarov popped up, willing to commit on the left and hit the byline to cross.

    His dominance over Daryl Janmaat forced Yoan Gouffran to switch to the right and help, but nothing was stopping the Serbian as he continually forced his way forward and gained ground for his side.

    If he continues in this fashion, Gael Clichy won't get a look-in switching over from right-back to left-back. The two have time-shared the role for three seasons, but Kolarov's excellence and impact is tough to ignore.

7. Eric Dier, Tottenham Hotspur

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    Sang Tan/Associated Press

    Eric Dier, the "hero" of the day according to Mauricio Pochettino, has started life in the Premier League in jaw-dropping fashion.

    The young centre-back, last seen by a broad English audience in the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2013, showed poise, positional skill and calmness beyond his years in a cauldron at Upton Park.

    His slaloming, skillful winner—taking it round Adrian and slotting home—sent the 30,000-plus in the stadium into a stunned silence.

     

6. Fernando, Manchester City

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    David Rogers/Getty Images

    Fernando played superbly in his Premier League debut for Manchester City, mopping up everything in midfield and shielding his back four superbly.

    He tackles so firmly and strongly that no one has a chance against him when the ball is on the line, and City looked even more impressive when he was paired with Fernandinho in a 4-2-3-1 to see off the game.

    When people say City haven't done good business this summer, they're clearly forgetting about this man.

5. Hugo Lloris, Tottenham Hotspur

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    We ranked Hugo Lloris third among Premier League goalkeepers ahead of the new season, but if he plays like he did on Saturday every week, he'll be challenging Thibaut Courtois and Petr Cech for those top two spots with ease.

    Nothing got past him, and it was his proactivity and willingness to relieve pressure on a deep defensive line that kept Spurs in it until the last minute.

    A keeper so positive is worth his weight in gold.

4. Gylfi Sigurdsson, Swansea City

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    You get the feeling Gylfi Sigurdsson is "home" at the Liberty Stadium, back to where he's played his best-ever football in England and the Premier League.

    Garry Monk will give him the keys to the attack behind Wilfried Bony, so he's the main man in town. It's already paying dividends, with his winner at Old Trafford sending the Swans to an unexpected opening day victory over Manchester United.

    We weren't the only ones he impressed; Matt Morlidge of The Daily Mail wrote:

    Not many players can claim to be a match winner at Old Trafford, but Gylfi Sigurdsson capped a fine performance with a neat finish on Saturday.

    The Icelandic midfielder, in his second spell at the Swans, summoned Van Gaal to an humiliating opening day defeat.

3. Morgan Schneiderlin, Southampton

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    Christopher Lee/Getty Images

    Morgan Schneiderlin (and midfield partner Victor Wanyama) may have been on the sore end of a 2-1 defeat, but it shouldn't diminish their performance; Schneiderlin added majesty and clean passing to Wanyama's brawn and physical style.

    This pass from Schneiderlin, in particular, was jaw-dropping.

    Focusing on him for a bit, his form on Sunday will come as a morale boost for both the club and supporters after a summer in which the team lost several star names.

    Schneiderlin himself is at the centre of a potential transfer link to Tottenham, as Oliver Todd of the Daily Mail reported, but Saints fans will be praying he remains with the club beyond the close of the summer window.

2. Cesc Fabregas, Chelsea

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Welcome back to the Premier League, Cesc Fabregas!

    A stunning display at Turf Moor left every fanbase in awe as the Spaniard bossed play from midfield, grabbed two assists and overwhelmed Burnley with ease.

    His feint to shoot then pass for Andre Schurrle's strike was absolutely ridiculous, so much so that some have already labelled it the goal of the season—in the very first week!

1. Victor Wanyama, Southampton

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    The early leader in our Premier League player power rankings is Victor Wanyama of Southampton.

    The Kenyan defensive midfielder crushed Philippe Coutinho and Co. every time they went near him, locked down the central zones and showed visibly improved mobility and range when spreading across and covering targets.

    His remarkable nine tackles and two interceptions, per WhoScored, puts him on par with traditional statistical monster Mile Jedinak for Week 1.

     

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