Kevin Palmer reveals his top 10 players of the Premier League season so far
The first quarter of the Premier League season is complete and here is a look at the 10 stars that we believe deserved to be acclaimed as the stars of the show so far.
1) Anthony Martial (Manchester United)
Minutes played: 877
It took Cristiano Ronaldo 39 games to score five goals for Manchester United, but this French teenager has managed to reach that total after just nine appearance since his £36m transfer deadline day move from Monaco.
United boss Louis van Gaal has hinted that he would use Martial sparingly as he found his feet in English football, but his form has been such that he has commanded a regular place in his team despite his inexperience.
Many are now calling for him to replace a faltering Wayne Rooney in the United forward line ahead of Sunday’s game against Manchester City.
2) Riyad Mahrez (Leicester)
Minutes played: 618
After scoring just four goals in 30 Premier League appearances last season, he has already gone past that total in nine games of this campaign and Leicester will be fearing that the big-money hawks will swoop to sign their star man in the January transfer window.
With pace, energy and attacking verve, this Algerian international has found his feet in the top flight and he has been the heartbeat of Leicester’s impressive start to the season.
3) Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace)
Minutes played: 783
The signing of this brilliant French international midfielder always looked likely to move Palace onto another level and Cabaye has not disappointed with some sparkling displays.
Palace boss Alan Pardew has suggested his success in signing the player he worked with at Newcastle was evidence that Palace should be expecting to push for top six finishes in the Premier League and plenty of observers believe him now.
4) Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
Minutes played: 686
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho in enduring the most miserable season of his career and the sight of this Belgian forward lighting up the Premier League and Champions League with Manchester City is not helping his mood.
Mourinho opted to off-load De Bruyne soon after he returned as Chelsea manager in 2013, but this attacking star had hit the ground in impressive fashion since returning to English football.
5) Chris Smalling (Manchester United)
Minutes played: 1,150
Many have expressed doubts about Smalling’s ability to emerge as a leader of United’s defence, but his manager Van Gaal has put great faith in this England star and he has delivered.
Elegant on the ball and looking increasingly assured under pressure, Smalling has been one of the stand-out defenders in the Premier League so-far this season.
6) Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)
Minutes played: 973
It took Sanchez some time to find his feet after a summer spent helping Chile win the Copa America, but this masterful performer has exploded into life in the last few weeks.
Goals, brilliance and that elusive X Factor are provided by Sanchez at Arsenal and they need to try and keep this class act fit to sustain their push for the Premier League title.
7) Jamie Vardy (Leicester)
Minutes played: 802
This unlikely hero was playing non-professional football just three years ago and now he is the Premier League’s top scorer and playing for the England national team.
Vardy’s form this season has cemented the belief that he is the real deal. His nine goals have come against opponents of varying qualities, with the dynamism he has added to Claudio Ranieri’s surprise guys making him the shining light of their sparkling start to the campaign.
8) Willian (Chelsea)
Minutes played: 687
Very few Chelsea players have shown a desire to fight for their cause in a start to the season that has left manager Jose Mourinho and his squad in a state of disarray, but this Brazilian midfielder has risen above their mediocrity.
Willian's panache from free-kicks has been especially significant for Chelsea and Mourinho will be hoping this under-rated performer's lead can be followed by a few more of his failing stars in the coming weeks.
9) Dimitri Payet (West Ham)
Minutes played: 835
West Ham’s colourful owners have a habit of suggesting they have signed a world-beater every time they announce the arrival of a new player, but they may well have hit the jackpot with Payet.
Confident, rugged and with the ability to turn a game with an unexpected burst of magic, Payet has caught the eye since his big money move from Marseille.
10) Romelu Lukaku (Everton)
Minutes played: 967
Chelsea have been in need of a powerhouse target man to lead they line this season and more than a few of their fans may have pondered that their former charge Lukaku may have been the perfect man for the job as he has come to life at Everton.
This was always going to be a big season for a Belgian forward who struggled to impress last season and he has answered the call so far.