3 Up, 3 Down: Featuring Manchester United and Arsenal stars
What a weekend of Premier League football. In a throwback to old days, there were eight matches on Saturday afternoon which produced 29 goals and some mesmerising games. Manchester United, City, Liverpool and Arsenal all produced huge wins, the latter sensationally swatting aside Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium.
Stoke, Sunderland and West Ham all continued to flounder as well; Stoke and Sunderland letting in a late equaliser and winner respectively at home, whilst the Hammers were destroyed by a Southampton side who look to be clicking under Claude Puel.
Bournemouth recorded a great win over Everton, whilst Spurs kept up their unbeaten start to the season with a 2-1 win at Middlesbrough, which was much more comfortable than the scoreline suggests.
But who excelled and who struggled in particular this week?
Up: Paul Pogba
For the first few weeks after Paul Pogba’s return to Manchester United, he barely looked like he was worth £8.9 millio, let alone the figure ten times that the Red Devils paid for him. However, against Leicester on Saturday, the Frenchman started to look like he may just have a big impact in the Premier League this season.
It was not just his goal, which was an unstoppable bullet header, that was impressive, but his overall performance. Partnered by the exceptional Ander Herrera, who is a much more mobile and suitable midfield partner than Marouane Fellaini ever will be, Pogba controlled the game from the middle of the park, playing in Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Juan Mata on numerous occasions whilst taking chances from deep himself.
If Pogba can replicate this kind of form every week, the price tag won’t be so much of an issue by the end of the season.
Up: Son Heung-Min
It is completely baffling that Spurs were rumoured to be willing to let this guy go in the summer.
After returning from the Olympic games with South Korea, Son has hit the ground running in the Premier League, scoring a fabulous double against Middlesbrough which took his goalscoring tally up to four goals in three league matches; a ratio currently better than Sergio Aguero, Diego Costa, or indeed anyone in the division.
Not only is Son scoring goals, they are of sumptuous quality as well. His first was almost Lionel Messi-esque as he dribbled round numerous defenders in the area before thumping home left footed. His second was a mixture of excellent pressing and a stunning finish, bending in a stunning strike on the turn from the edge of the area.
If he keeps this up he will soon become indispensable to Mauricio Pochettino.
Up: Shkodran Mustafi
Central defenders don’t often get a lot of praise for a solid performance, it is their job after all, but Shkodran Mustafi has settled in so well at Arsenal that he deserves a great deal of credit.
Chelsea didn’t have a sniff at the Emirates from the first whistle to the last, with Michy Batshuayi having their only shot on target. A large part of that was down to a pathetic Blues display, but a greater reason for it was the excellence of Mustafi and his partner Laurent Koscielny, who marked Diego Costa out of the game.
After conceding four on the opening day against Liverpool, the arrival of Mustafi has transformed the Arsenal defence into a unit again. The blossoming partnership at the back between the German and his French teammate could be the push Arsenal need to challenge Manchester City this season.