Oh, how we’ve missed the Premier League. With the first 20 matches now complete, we’re already beginning to see a number of plot threads emerge, some of them returning from last season, and some completely new.
From doom and gloom at Arsenal, to Palace’s profligacy and Brighton seemingly shattering their apparent xG curse, the talking points are already coming to life, reminding us that there’s almost never a dull moment in the greatest football league on Earth.
Some of the standout results in this weekend’s round of fixtures included Chelsea establishing themselves as pace setters with a comfortable win over Arsenal, and West Ham continuing their fantastic start with a dominant victory over Leicester. Plenty of options to choose from for our second edition of Stars of the Week, but who makes the cut?
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Premier League – Stars of the Week – Gameweek 2
Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur)
We’re yet to see an outstanding, eye-catching display from a Premier League goalkeeper this season. In Tottenham’s narrow win over Wolves on Sunday, however, it was Hugo Lloris who made the crucial difference.
Although Wolves’ shooting was wayward for the most part, Lloris managed to keep the hosts at bay with a couple of routine saves, before making what proved to be a match-defining save in a 1-on-1 situation with Adama Traore.
It was Lloris’s 300th Premier League appearance for Spurs, and a very positive one that underlined his continuing importance to the North London side. They have kick-started the Nuno era with back to back 1-0 wins, with the club captain being at the core of the team’s success.
Defender: Reece James (Chelsea)
Chelsea defender Reece James may have only played a bit-part role during the team’s opening match of the season, but on Sunday against Arsenal the wingback made all the difference.
A menacing threat down the right flank all afternoon, James gave Kieran Tierney a torrid time and stretched the Gunners to a point where they simply couldn’t cope. The England international fired a pinpoint cross towards the six-yard box to give Romelu Lukaku the simplest of debut goals, before registering a goal of his own with a clinical finish into the top corner before half time.
We’ve seen Reece James become an increasingly important player for Chelsea over the last 18 months or so, and on this evidence, the young defender’s stock is only going in one direction.
Midfielder: Yves Bissouma (Brighton and Hove Albion)
There was much debate towards the end of last season as to whether midfield general Yves Bissouma would remain on the South Coast or seek a new challenge elsewhere, and the Brighton star underlined his quality once again with a dominant display in the Seagulls’ 2-0 win over Watford on Saturday.
After his team took an early lead against Watford, Bissouma ran the Brighton show from start to finish, shielding the back four expertly and making more tackles and interceptions than anyone else on the pitch. Shortly before half time, it was his quick thinking and rapid pace that robbed Watford’s Tom Cleverley of possession to set up an easy goal for Neal Maupay, effectively sealing the win for Brighton.
With two wins from two, this has been Brighton’s best ever start to a top-flight season, and Bissouma has unsurprisingly been a key piece of the puzzle.
Forward: Michail Antonio (West Ham United)
Although the 25 goals scored in this weekend’s action fell far short of last weekend’s high tally of 34, the greatest entertainment was saved until last this time around with West Ham’s exceptional 4-1 battering of Leicester City, in which Michail Antonio was the star of the show.
It took a while for West Ham’s main man to get going, but once he did, Leicester simply couldn’t deal with him. Some great awareness following an awful back pass allowed Antonio to set up Said Benrahma and claim an easy assist, before his strength and skill brought him two brilliant goals of his own, making a mockery of the Foxes’ backline and finishing them off in the contest.
The new occupant of the number 9 shirt, Antonio has made no secret of his desire to earn and maintain the main striker role at West Ham. Having become The Hammers’ record Premier League goalscorer last night, it certainly looks like he won’t be dislodged from that position any time soon.
Manager: David Moyes (West Ham United)
We may only be two games into the 2021-22 season, but what a blistering start it has been for West Ham. Sitting pretty at the top of the table, The Hammers have already fired in eight goals in their first 180 minutes of action, surpassing the expectations of even the most optimistic fans.
For this, David Moyes once again deserves tremendous credit. Seen by many as the deserving winner of the Manager of the Season award last year for taking his team to the brink of the Champions League places, many questioned how they might cope now that star attacking midfielder Jesse Lingard has returned to Manchester United. Moyes has reshuffled the pack expertly, with the likes of Benrahma and Pablo Fornals taking on the attacking burden and continuing to drive the team forward.
For those who thought West Ham might be a flash in the pan after last season, think again – on this evidence, they’re showing no signs of slowing down, especially with Moyes doing such a stellar job at the helm.
Manchester City and England fan. Writer of opinion and features on all things Premier League and beyond.