With another international break in the books, the Premier League started once again, and it appears that a top-four spot is more achievable than ever. Former relegation candidates Leicester City sit at the top of the table, while title defenders Chelsea seem to be climbing out of the hole they dug themselves slowly but surely.
With a number of marquee matchups on the docket this weekend, the Premier League was ripe with stars in Week 14. Here are three of the best from the weekend.
Jamie Vardy, Striker, Leicester City
Who else but Jamie Vardy to lead the three stars this week. Vardy broke Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record this weekend with his 11th straight game with a goal in the Premier League, and he did it against none other than van Nistelrooy’s old club, Manchester United. Vardy’s performance wowed the fans at the King Power Stadium who were delighted to see a man who just few years prior was playing non-league football achieve such a prestigious record, all while helping the mighty Foxes tie the most decorated club in English football history.
To say Leicester is the story of the season would be the understatement of the century. Just a year ago, the Foxes sat at the bottom of the Premier League, and now they’ve risen to the top. The attacking combination of Vardy and Riyad Mahrez has been nothing short of incredible, and represents one of the fastest attacking duos in the entire Premier League.
Claudio Ranieri’s men have to be ecstatic with this season’s start, but a strong finish could change the economic realities of the club forever. Neutrals around the globe will be watching as former minnow Leicester City attempts to accomplish the impossible.
Kurt Zouma, Center Back, Chelsea F.C.
While Chelsea haven’t exactly had the season many fans were expecting, the development of Kurt Zouma is one of the few bright spots on what has otherwise been a disastrous campaign. Zouma produced another fantastic performance in the London derby against Tottenham this weekend, and was able to contain a Spurs attack that has been on fire as of late.
In a season in which Chelsea have seemingly leaked goals for sport, Zouma has become somewhat of a rock in the middle of the defense over the past few months. As John Terry continues to age and grow further and further from the player he was in his prime, Zouma appears ready to take the reins at the middle of the Chelsea defense as a strong positional defender at the back, and a large target for set pieces. Chelsea fans can look forward to watching this French international for a long time.
Kevin De Bruyne, Central Midfielder, Manchester City F.C.
Once a Chelsea reject, De Bruyne has once again found a home in the Premier League with Manchester City. City fans can delight in the way he delicately passes the ball, all while tenaciously searching for goals as he motors through the midfield for 90 minutes.
De Bruyne has quickly stepped up as the engine of the Manchester City midfield, and it seems not a week goes by that he doesn’t produce an assist or a goal. Since the start of last season, no player in Europe’s top five leagues has produced more assists than the Belgian international, which speaks to his work ethic, and willingness to create for others.
It appears that De Bruyne was money well spent for City, who have made some questionable buys throughout the years, and with another three points in tow from the weekend, Manuel Pellegrini’s men will once again mount their title challenge.