Premier League Player of the Week: Mohamed Salah’s hat-trick to grab the honours?
Who gets your vote this week?
The Premier League is well and truly back, with the first weekend of fixtures done and dusted after Monday night’s games.
Liverpool got their title defence off to a winning start at home to last year’s Championship winners Leeds, while Arsenal, Leicester and Chelsea breezed to wins to set the early pace out in front.
Elsewhere, Newcastle, Wolves and Crystal Palace also managed three points, while Everton shocked Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham in North London.
But which players stood out in the opening run of games? We’ve picked out for of this weekend’s star performers that led their team to victory.
After finishing four goals back in his race for a third Golden Boot in succession last season, Mohamed Salah has started this season with aplomb.
His three goals led defending champions Liverpool to a narrow and hard fought 4-3 win over Leeds United, becoming the first Liverpool player to score a hat-trick in the opening game since John Aldridge in the 1988/89 season.
A fourth minute penalty opened the scoring, followed by an emphatic half volley from the edge of the area that gave Liverpool the lead at the break, before a second penalty of the night in the 88th minute sealed all three points for the title holders.
Chelsea’s loss down the right flank is Arsenal’s gain, and the Brazilian veteran wasted no time in showing his new club exactly what he is still capable of, even at the age of 32.
Although Willian failed to score on his debut for the Gunners, hitting the post with a trademark curling free kick, the former Chelsea man inspired the North London side to a comfortable 3-0 win at Craven Cottage with two assists.
While also playing an instrumental part in the opener, sweeping the ball goalward before Alexandre Lacazette finished it off, Willian whipped in a perfect corner that landed straight on Gabriel’s head to make it 2-0, before a cross field ball played in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to make it 3-0.
Newcastle United had all three of their big money transfers on show at the London Stadium, with Jamal Lewis keeping a clean sheet and Callum Wilson scoring the opener, but it was Jeff Hendrick who shone the most.
Signed on a free transfer from Burnley, Hendrick slotted straight into the midfield and looked at home. The Irishman looked clever on the ball and came alive when in the penalty area too.
His deft flick on from Javier Manquillo’s blocked cross put it on a plate for Wilson to open the scoring, before striking a beauty from just inside the box into the top corner to seal all three points for the Magpies.
It wasn’t a vintage Chelsea performance that saw them pick up three points away at Brighton, looking slow, flat and lethargic throughout.
But after the Seagulls equaliser, the Blues needed a hero to lead from the front and inspire a victory. They got it, and to the surprise of many, it was right-back Reece James that stepped up.
Just 100 seconds after Leandro Trossard’s equaliser, James hit a sublime strike from 25 yards to put Frank Lampard’s side back ahead, before whipping in a delicious outswinging corner right onto the foot of Kurt Zouma, who swept home a deflected effort to increase their lead.
Honourable mentions go to Romain Saiss for his role in Wolves’ 2-0 win over Sheffield United, Vicente Guaita and Wilfred Zaha for taking down Southampton and Tariq Lamptey for his assured performance for Brighton against his former side Chelsea.
But who gets your vote? Let us know on our poll.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication.