Week 9 of the Premier League largely saw a return to normalcy in England’s top division. Each of last year’s top four won on the weekend, and Tottenham was able to pull off a tie on Jurgen Klopp’s debut as Liverpool manager.
Surprises included a Newcastle victory, their first of the season, and a West Ham defeat of Crystal Palace, thus keeping the Hammers in a European spot. However, as is always the case, the stars shone brightly above all in Week 9, and here are three of the best from the Premier League.
Georginio Wijnaldum, Attacking Midfielder, Newcastle United
For the first time this season, a Newcastle player has graced the three stars, and what a performance it was from the young Dutch midfielder. Wijnaldum joined an elite group of Premier League players on Sunday when he scored four goals for the Magpies as they defeated Norwich 6-1.
Wijnaldum is part of a long line of players that new manager Steve McClaren brought in during his first transfer window as Newcastle manager, and while results have been hard to come by in the early goings of the season, McClaren will be hopeful that Wijnaldum’s breakout game will signal good things to come for the former PSV Eindhoven man.
As Newcastle looks toward a Tyneside derby with Sunderland next weekend, this is the perfect time for McClaren’s side to hit their form, and the Magpies look poised to take down a struggling Sunderland side and alleviate some of the anxiety and dismay that seems to characterize the Newcastle fan base.
Morgan Schneiderlin, Defensive Midfielder, Manchester United
After a shocking defeat against Arsenal in Week 8, Manchester United was able to bounce back, taking down Everton 3-0 on Saturday. Much of the improved result can be attributed to a more defensive lineup, where Louis van Gaal deployed both Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger in midfield, hoping to contain the attacking players on the Tofees.
The link up play between Scheiderlin and Schweinsteiger was incredible, as the Red Devils displayed all the tactical ability that was distinctly absent from the game against Arsenal. If Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger improve on their chemistry and can maintain this kind of defensive form, United are going to be an extremely difficult side to break down in the latter stages of the Premier League.
Raheem Sterling, Winger, Manchester City
This season, it’s hard to find a week where a Manchester City player doesn’t deserve a nod in the three stars of the weekend. In Week 9, that man was Raheem Sterling, the young English winger that City purchased from Liverpool this summer.
While Sterling is normally deployed as a wing, this weekend he was placed at a removed striker position, just above Wilfried Bony with Kevin De Bruyne on the wing. By halftime, Sterling grabbed a hat trick, putting together by far the best performance of his young City career.
Many EPL fans questioned if Sterling was worth the money Man City shelled out to him, as he is undoubtedly a talented player, but has yet to come into his own as a truly world-class attacker. Far fewer of those naysayers exist now, as Sterling has developed even further this season with City, and now seems poised to help the Manchester club challenge for the title this season.