So, what to do with a two week break.... the obvious answer is to unfairly judge the new signings in the premier league!
Who have been the star turns thus far, who have hit the ground running and who are unfazed by the incredible pressure on new players in this league.
7 Of the Best
Santi Cazorla - A no brainer really, one of the best signings of the summer, and he is already proving to be integral to the Arsenal cause this season. With three appearances under his belt, the single goal and assist in no way truly represent his influence. With 4 key passes per game, the second highest in the league this season (behind Baines), 1.3 accurate through balls per game (the highest in the league thus far) and a pass completion rate of 92.3%, he has found his feet instantly and could well be a player of the year candidate when the season is over.
Eden Hazard - Three games and three wins for Chelsea, and that has an awful lot to do with the mercurial young Belgian. Unlike in the case of Cazorla, assists and goals do go some way to telling the story; 4 assists and 1 goal in three games is a fantastic contribution, and this does not include the two penalties he has drawn. In terms of Chelsea’s season this means that Hazard has directly influenced 7 of the 8 goals the team has scored. Hazard also finds himself the joint second most fouled player in the league (10 fouls against, behind Jonas Gutierrez on 12) - coaches had clearly seen him play for Lille and sought to stop him in any way possible. 2.7 key passes per game places him in the top 15 players in the league, an impressive achievement when you consider he is averaging 3 dribbles per game, the highest (by some way) of all players who have equal or more key passes per game. 1.7 interceptions per game is also impressive, but no tackles suggest he could do with getting stuck in a bit more.
Michu- A revelation for Swansea, like Hazard, Michu has been an integral part of his team’s offensive output; with a very impressive 4 goals and 1 assist this means he has scored or assisted 50% of his team’s outstanding 10 league goals so far. With 6 of 6 long balls reaching their target, and a pass completion rate of 82.3% he is already showing that he has the ability to play the ball around, although with no accurate through balls from three attempts he could maybe do with a little more practice with Laudrup! A very impressive debut into the league, made even more impressive by his measly 2mil transfer fee, I am sure the Swans will be hoping for more bits of transfer wizardry from the Boss.
Geoff Cameron- Stokes new American midfielder has already proved to be a hit; although he has only played two games this season he has already managed 15 tackles, averaging 2 more a game than anyone else, and with an impressive 8 interceptions he is already proving to be a fantastic player when it comes to getting the ball back! 3 shots blocked show that when it matters he can be in the right place at the right time. An impressive debut against Arsenal saw him get a Who Scored rating of 7.82, which was only topped by Arteta on 8, helping his team to a 0-0 draw. With another solid performance against Wigan the Potters will be very hopeful that this kind of form continues.
Robin Van Persie - We all know about this guy right....? Good I can be brief, 4 goals from two starts, including a game winning hat-trick against Southampton, shows just why Fergie chased him all summer. Adjusted well to new surroundings, but will probably think twice about taking another pen like that again. A lot has been said about this guy, so I will stop here.
Claudio Yacob - West Brom’s flying start to the season was in no small part thanks to the contribution of new man Yacob, at least according to Gareth McAuley (West Brom defender). The Argentine midfielder has played every minute of West Brom’s bright start to the campaign, two wins and a draw against very strong opposition (Spurs, Liverpool and Everton), and has received praise not just from his team mates but pundits alike. A pass accuracy of 90.4% is a team high (not including Rosenberg who has 4 from 4). And with 11 tackles, 5 interceptions and 7 clearances he is demonstrating his ability to both defend, and help his team retain possession. A very solid start to the season and one I am sure his manager will be very happy with. He could prove to be a key player if West Brom can keep up this form.
And last but not least...
Ron Vlaar- An odd one I agree, but one who I think deserves a mention. He moved to a team in trouble - last season was a car crash for Villa, with the second fewest wins in the league, and a scrap to stay in the top division meant investment was needed. Vlaar is an experienced player and a good player, injuries have hurt his career but when he has played he has been solid, and this has been shown for Villa despite an indifferent start to the season. A solid debut was followed by a very good performance against Everton, all be it in a 3-1 loss. Another solid performance against Newcastle helped his side to their first point of the campaign. If Villa are to stay in the top flight this season they will need the form of Vlaar to continue.
Some players who are worth a mention, if just to explain why I have kept them out...
Chico - A great name and a fantastic start to his Swansea career, however the blight of that tackle and the high boot which got him a red card means he misses out on my elite list. A pass completion rate of 91.8% and a Who Scored rating of 7.41 thus far shows serious potential, just kick those tackles out! The downside (other than watching too many Jet Li movies) is an aerial duel success rate of only 50%; maybe he should use his time off to practice winning those headers!
Mladen Petric - Dempsy who? Petric exploded onto the scene with a hugely impressive performance in the 5-0 drubbing of Norwich. A bit slow after this, which is why he doesn’t quite make the list. Consistency is key!
Honourable mention has to go to Dembele, possibly the best player so far this season, and a transfer to Spurs does technically mean he could be on the list, but with only one appearance, and that made as a sub for Tottenham he does not quite fall into the category.
"Money back? Go on, I still have the receipt?"
Robert Green - A shocking start to the season, which has included plenty of errors, would not have been helped with news of the legendary Brazilian stopper Cesar arriving at the club. What does the future hold at QPR for the ex England international? We will just have to wait and see, but Hughes will be hoping that Cesar has a significantly better debut.
Vurnon Anita - Giving away a penalty against Chelsea on your full debut is never going to endear you to your fans, and with three fouls in the game Anita will surely want to forget this full debut. An indifferent performance against Villa followed, The Magpies will expect more from their summer acquisition, but so far he has been less than impressive.
Gylfi Sigurdsson - All that fuss early on, and for what, three appearances one as a sub, and he has failed to finish 90 mins so far. A fantastic season for Swansea last term, but so far failing to bring any of that to a struggling Tottenham side. The arrival of Dembele could be trouble for Gylfi, who I am sure will be hoping he can regain some of the magic that made him so dangerous for Swansea.
Any comments are welcome, cheers for reading!