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Coral’s early-season Premier League awards

Who have been the standouts so far?

The Premier League season is only seven games old but the pieces are already starting to fall into place.

Manchester City and Manchester United are likely to be competing for the title at the end of the campaign, with Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur in hot pursuit.

At the other end, it already looks like Crystal Palace could have a long season ahead.

The league is currently paused for the international break, which provides a good chance to reflect on what’s happened to date.

The Coral News Team have been watching all of the action. Here’s the best (and worst) of the Premier League so far…

Player of the Season – Kevin De Bruyne

If the season started in September, Harry Kane would have won here. Instead, it’s going to Kevin De Bruyne.

The Belgium international is playing in a deeper role for Manchester City this season. His superb displays set the tone for Pep Guardiola’s side. His passing, technique and vision have been integral to City’s current position at the top of the table.

The 26-year-old has created 24 chances, more than any other player in the division. And his long-range effort made the difference against Chelsea last weekend.

Signing of the Season – Romelu Lukaku

Manchester United signed Romelu Lukaku to score goals and that’s exactly what he’s done. The £75m signing is leading the scoring charts with seven Premier League goals so far this season.

United drew a league high 15 games last season. They’ve won six from seven so far this term. Lukaku provides the cutting edge that can make the difference in tight games.

Best Under-21 Player – Anthony Martial

After a frustrating second season at Old Trafford, Anthony Martial is showing why he’s such an exciting young talent this term.

The 21-year-old has scored three goals and registered two assists in league action so far, despite only making one start. He’s got the best goal return in the top flight at present, averaging 1.85 goals per 90 minutes.

He’s catching the eye with his dribbling too. There can’t be many more terrifying sights for tired defenders right now than a fresh Martial coming on.

Most Improved Player – James Tarkowski

After selling Michael Keane to Everton for £30m, Burnley boss Sean Dyche didn’t go out and spend big on a replacement. Instead, he gave James Tarkowski the chance to step up.

Tarkowski only started four league games last season. The 24-year-old has played every minute so far this season and the Clarets are reaping the rewards. They’re riding high in sixth and have only conceded five goals.

Many defenders are now selected for their ability on the ball ahead of their defensive quality. But Tarkowski seems to relish stopping the opposition. He’s made the most clearances (73) and blocks (17) in the league so far.

Surprise of the Season – Fabian Delph

Fabian Delph was almost the forgotten man at City last season. Injury and competition for places limited the midfielder to just two league starts.

Delph scored a brilliant goal during a brief substitute appearance against Palace last month. And  the England international could be key for the league leaders over the next few months.

Benjamin Mendy’s injury leaves City short at left-back. And Guardiola has opted for Delph as his replacement. The former Aston Villa captain was excellent in the unfamiliar role during the win against Chelsea. He had the most touches in the game (101) and his smart use of the ball helped his team to control the game.

Game of the Season – Arsenal 4-3 Leicester City

For sheer entertainment, the very first game of the campaign is still the standout. It was a breathless match featuring two sides who were dangerous going forward but shaky at the back.

Arsenal’s record signing Alexandre Lacazette opened the scoring after just two minutes. But Leicester responded almost immediately through Shinji Okazaki. Jamie Vardy then scored to give the Foxes the lead, before Danny Welbeck equalised just before the interval.

Another Vardy goal made it 3-2 to Leicester. Arsene Wenger threw on Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud to turn things around. Both substitutes scored in the final 10 minutes to complete a dramatic comeback.

Disappointment of the Season – Everton

Where to start with Everton? The optimism around Goodison Park in the summer feels like a distant memory. The club spent over £130m but have seen little evidence of improvement. Ronald Koeman is now 4/6 favourite to be the next Premier League manager to leave.

The Toffees are 16th and have only picked up one point in the Europa League so far. They look short of pace, ideas and are too open at the back. Things should improve as the campaign goes on but it looks like this will be a wasted season.

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