Maya Yoshida

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Sneaky good: Early “stars” of the Premier League

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I have a “smell test” for players who leap off the pitch when taking the eyeball test during Premier League play.

If, upon moving to advanced statistics sites for performance reviews, these players are still shining, then there’s a good chance they are as important to their club as it seems at first blush

[ MORE: Stats of Premier League wkend ]

Of course guys like Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba, Kevin De Bruyne, and Sergio Aguero are going to pass muster. But what about some guys a bit off the radar?

Are there names the numbers say we should be watching a bit more closely, so it’s not a surprise when guys like Idrissa Gana Gueye or Sam Clucas net surprising transfer fees or international acclaim?

It seems logical, and we’ve to a pair of sites which use different algorithms to rank Premier League players and saw who turned up high in both…

Lukasz Fabianski, Swansea City
WhoScored: 37th
Squawka: 1st

Paul Clement‘s side sits 14th with only two goals scored, which is possible when your backstop doesn’t allow much to beat him. Fabianski was outstanding as Swans held Spurs scoreless this weekend.

Ben Davies, Tottenham Hotspur
WhoScored: 15th
Squawka: 16th

The 24-year-old defender is averaged 3.3 key passes per game, better than everyone in the league not named Mesut Ozil, Cesc Fabregas, David Silva, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. They aren’t defenders.

Maya Yoshida, Southampton
WhoScored: 56th
Squawka: 14th

Playing behind Oriol Romeu — and without Virgil Van Dijk — Yoshida has a goal to go with his six clearances and 3.8 aerials won per game

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Crystal Palace
WhoScored: 22nd
Squawka: 26th

The on-loan Chelsea man was wanted by Rafa Benitez at Newcastle and a number of other locations, and has thrived despite only appearing in three matches and being on a troubled team. He’s averaged 4.7 dribbles a game and has been fouled 4.3 times per match.

Christopher Schindler and Aaron Mooy, Huddersfield Town
WhoScored: 10th (CS), 14th (AM)
Squawka: 24th (CS), 37th (AM)

It’s possible that Town has just been an analytics darling, as Steve Mounie and Laurent Depoitre also have good marks, but the Terriers have conceded just three times this season in front of Jonas Lossl. These two are a big part of the limited chances faced by the keeper, and Mooy has been holding it down for a continent the last two years.

Nicolas Otamendi, Manchester City
WhoScored: 11th
Squawka: 4th

His goal this weekend shows his capacity in the final third, but Otamendi has been a steady part of the defense as Pep Guardiola sorted out mercurial youngster John Stones and dealt with the health of Vincent Kompany.

Jamaal Lascelles, Newcastle United
WhoScored: 35th
Squawka: 49th

His numbers may be tilted by a pair of match-winning goals for high-flying Newcastle, but the big man had to get in the box to get them.

Huddersfield 0-0 Southampton: Terriers hang on for a point

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  • Huddersfield on 7 points
  • Both teams remain unbeaten
  • Bertrand, Redmond have chances
  • Kachunga, Mounie close for Terriers

Huddersfield and Southampton played out a tense 0-0 draw at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday.

Both teams remain unbeaten in the Premier League and it was probably a fair result given the fact that the Terriers had the better chances in the first half and the Saints dominated for large periods of the second.

Ryan Bertrand had a late header cleared off the line as Saints pushed hard for the win but Huddersfield will be more than happy with seven points from their first three Premier League games of the season.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Southampton had a glorious chance early on as Nathan Redmond put his shot just wide of the far post.

Saints continued to pour forward and Dusan Tadic set up a chance for Steven Davis but it was wasted.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Huddersfield finally got going with Maya Yoshida making a superb block from Elias Kachunga and then Fraser Forster denied Steve Mounie

Kachunga then broke free again and Rajiv Van la Parra was denied by another super block from the Saints defense. Before the break Tom Ince forced Forster into a save across his goal as the home team were doing all of the pressing as Forster fumbled a cross and then saved well from Kachunga.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Southampton started the second half brightly and Manolo Gabbiadini had a decent chance saved by Jonas Lossl.

Huddersfield then hit Southampton on the break with Kachugna and then Aaron Mooy went close but Saints’ defense blocked another effort. Forster saved well from Ince and then Southampton pushed for a winner late on and had a big shout for a penalty kick.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

James Ward-Prowse broke free and Mathias Jorgensen came across to close him down with the Southampton man going down under pressure but referee Stuart Attwell waved the calls away.

Saints continued to press late on as Redmond bent a shot towards goal which Lossl saved well and then Yoshida almost tapped home but he was in an offside position anyway.

Shane Long then set up Saints’ best chance of the game as he dinked the ball towards the back post but Bertrand’s header was cleared off the line by Tommy Smith as the Terriers held on.

Southampton lands $19 million Dutch CB Hoedt

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Southampton’s added another defender who checks all the boxes, and used its press release to cement its status on the future of want-away center back Virgil Van Dijk.

Saints added Lazio center back Wesley Hoedt on Tuesday, with the reported fee in the neighborhood of $19 million for the 4-times capped Dutch international.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Gooch scores for Sunderland ]

The 6-foot-4 defender is 23 years old, and played 23 matches for i Biancocelesti last season.

Here’s Saints vice chairman Les Reed:

“Finding a naturally left-footed player is even more difficult. We have been tracking central defenders on our target list for the past 12 months and Wesley has always been at the top of that list, so it was important to act when the opportunity came.”

As our own Joe Prince-Wright pointed out, Saints aren’t exactly rolling out the red carpet for Van Dijk’s departure.

Saints also have Maya Yoshida — who won a penalty for Saints this weekend — Jack Stephens, Maya Yoshida, Jan Bednarek and Florin Gardos in their corps.

Will Van Dijk stay? Betting sites have him at 5:6 odds to stay at Southampton, but somehow 1:1 to join Liverpool and 7:1 to head to Chelsea (Man City gets 24:1 odds).

At this point, we’d love to see Van Dijk stay and buck the summer’s (actually much longer than that) gossip as Saints fight for a Top Six place.

Brace-bagging Chicharito soured by officiating at St. Mary’s

Adam Davy/ PA via AP
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West Ham United nearly pulled off a stunning comeback with 10 men, a late concession making Javier Hernandez’s two-goal day a little less sunny.

The ex-Manchester United man scored in both halves for his first scoring match day in the Premier League since 2014.

[ RECAP: Saints 3-2 West Ham ]

The first came after teammate Marko Arnautovic was sent off for an elbow, while Chicharito’s second marker was followed by Southampton earning its second penalty kick of the match when Pablo Zabaleta interfered with Maya Yoshida‘s attempted header in the box.

Hernandez was not pleased that the Hammers’ game effort down a man went for nothing on the table. From the BBC:

“When you are running most of the game with 10 men, the penalty decision is harsh. We spoke about Marko Arnautovic’s sending off, it is not completely a red card.

“It shows the character of this team that we do not give up. You have to look at the positives and to look forward. It is hard with 11 men but with 10 men it is even harder. I gained motivation and confidence and happy I scored two but the result is what stays in your head.”

Both goals were classic Chicharito, as the relentless Mexican striker was on the scene to beat his marker to two rebounds. West Ham now sits bottom of the Premier League table through two matches.

Southampton 3-2 West Ham: Late pen avoids Saints blushes

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  • Redmond, Gabbiadini combine for first
  • Arnautovic sent off
  • Tadic, Austin convert penalties
  • Hernandez scores twice

Charlie Austin watched as Southampton tossed away a 2-0 lead against brace-scoring Chicharito and 10-man West Ham United, then buried a penalty in stoppage time to give Saints all three points on Saturday at St. Mary’s.

Manolo Gabbiadini and Dusan Tadic scored to stake Saints to their lead, and Maya Yoshida won the penalty.

Marko Arnautovic saw red for violent conduct in the first half, and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez scored for West Ham before and after the break.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Nathan Redmond‘s through ball slid right into Gabbiadini’s stride, and the Italian spun the ball around Joe Hart and inside the far post.

Redmond then flicked a Dusan Tadic pass toward Hart, but the England keeper was wise to it.

Mark Noble should’ve put West Ham down to 10 men with an awful challenge just before the half hour mark, and then Marko Arnautovic earned a red card with an elbow to the neck of Jack Stephens.

Tadic converted a penalty on his 100th Premier League appearance, getting his 15th goal after ex-Saints star Jose Fonte hauled down Steven Davis in the box.

Hernandez netted his first West Ham goal when Fraser Forster pushed Michail Antonio‘s left-footed shot onto the path of the Mexican national team star.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

El Tri’s first class poacher was at it for the equalizer as well, as Forster saved another Antonio chance to Hernandez for a blast into the top of the net.

Nathan Redmond took a left-footed effort that deflected, forcing Hart to push the ball off the bar and out for a corner.

And Saints would break through with a second penalty given by Lee Mason. Pablo Zabaleta tried to get away with a veteran’s shove as Yoshida tried a header in stoppage time.