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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.

PL roundup: Unstoppable Man City; Reds, Spurs held

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Sergio Aguero’s hat trick helped Manchester City put pressure on their neighbors, as a 6-0 win boosted City atop the Premier League table by three points before Manchester United takes the pitch Sunday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Elsewhere, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur failed to turn dominant performances into wins, allowing Newcastle United (!!!) into the Top Four mere weeks after the Magpies started their season 0-2.

What a league.


Watford 0-6 Manchester City — RECAP

Sergio Aguero scored a hat trick and Man City made it 15 goals in three matches following a 4-0 thumping at Feyenoord in the Champions League and last weekend’s 5-0 win over 10-man Liverpool. Nicolas Otamendi, Gabriel Jesus, and Raheem Sterling also scored for City.

Liverpool 1-1 BurnleyRECAP

The Reds outshot their visitors 35-5, but only Mohamed Salah found the score sheet after Scott Arfield gave the Clarets a first-half lead.

Newcastle United 2-1 Stoke CityRECAP

The Magpies sit fourth after starting 0-2, as Christian Atsu scored his first Premier League goal and captain Jamaal Lascelles acquired a second-straight match-winner following Xherdan Shaqiri‘s pretty equalizer.

Huddersfield Town 1-1 Leicester CityRECAP

Laurent Depoitre scored his first Premier League goal, but Jamie Vardy‘s penalty was his fourth of the season as the Terriers and Foxes split the points at the John Smith’s Stadium.

 

Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Swansea CityRECAP

The hosts boasted a load of quality chances, attempting 25 shots, but Swans backstop Lukasz Fabianski helped make sure the visitors’ zero shots on target were enough for an away point.

West Bromwich Albion 0-0 West Ham UnitedRECAP

Gareth Barry played in his 632nd Premier League match, making his 600th start. Only Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs played as many matches, and no one has started as many. The game, unfortunately, made sure Barry’s achievement was the only thing of note.

Crystal Palace 0-1 SouthamptonRECAP

Roy Hodgson’s first match in charge of the Eagles oversaw an infamous record, as Palace became the first time in Premier League history to open its season with five-straight scoreless performances. Steven Davis scored for Saints.

USMNT’s Yedlin discusses red-hot Newcastle, his injury absence

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A hamstring injury cost DeAndre Yedlin the first four matches of his Premier League season, but the American right back looked anything but rusty in his return.

Yedlin passed and moved well, a significant part of pivotal defensive and attacking play as Newcastle moved into the Top Four with a 2-1 win over Stoke City at St. James Park on Saturday.

[ RECAP: Newcastle 2-1 Stoke City ]

The 24-year-old University of Akron product says Rafa Benitez made it clear that the side’s energy would put it on the front foot in the game and with the boisterous home crowd.

“It’s one of the things the gaffer talked about before the game – we have to show team spirit and get the fans behind us,” Yedlin told nufc.co.uk. “And they were behind us the whole game, credit to them. Even when (Stoke) tied it up, we kept fighting and the fans got louder and louder, and eventually we got the winning goal.”

Yedlin’s absence didn’t just hamper Benitez’s plans for the start of the season, the American speedster was missing for the USMNT’s poor international break.

He spoke about his time away from the pitch.

“Obviously I injured my hamstring early in pre-season, came back for a little bit and injured it again. The thing with a hamstring injury, or any muscular injury in your leg, is that you have to be careful – especially the type of player I am,” he said.

“It’s a big asset to me. Sometimes, it can be a little bit scary to go out and sprint and jump and do those athletic sorts of things, but I thought I was fine today. I think the medical staff have done a great job with me, so credit to them for getting me back fit and healthy. I’m looking to push forward from here.”

If Saturday was any indication, the U.S. is getting an already in-form player back. Newcastle next meets up with Brighton and Hove Albion in the lone PL match on Sept. 24.

Newcastle United 2-1 Stoke City: Three-straight for Magpies

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  • Atsu gives NUFC lead
  • Shaqiri equalizes
  • Lascelles nabs winner

Jamaal Lascelles scored late and Christian Atsu nabbed his first Premier League goal as Newcastle United held off Stoke City to win its third-straight with a 2-1 decision at St. James Park on Saturday.

Xherdan Shaqiri scored for Stoke, and was the center of attention for much of the match.

Newcastle rises fourth for the time being with nine points, while Stoke sits 13th with four points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Rob Elliott intervened in the fifth minute as Stoke made its first dangerous charge into the Newcastle end.

While Stoke was in control, many American eyes were focused on DeAndre Yedlin as the right-sided man returned from injury. Deployed as a right back, he made a huge interception outside his 18, then fired an overlapping run alongside Matt Ritchie to find the ball in the Stoke end moments later.

And Newcastle scored on a counter, with Ritchie delivering the ball to Atsu.

Joselu didn’t realize the time he had with Chancel Mbemba‘s cross into the box, flicking a first-time effort wide of the far post against his former club.

Ritchie had a 31st minute free kick from the right, but his effort cruised into Butland’s arms.

Joselu had another crack at it in the 34th minute, but couldn’t push the effort beyond a sliding Butland. That turned into another free kick from the right, but Erik Pieters blocked the hard-hit cross.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Joselu continued his snakebitten day versus Stoke in the 46th minute when Atsu found him inside the 18 only to watch the Spaniard blaze over the bar.

Stoke leveled it up through Shaqiri, who had been remonstrating at the referee during the first half and carried that fire and the ball for a 58th minute strike that curled around Elliott.

Ayoze Perez had a goal ruled offside a minute later. And Atsu was denied a goal and the crowd a penalty when Kurt Zouma got the slightest of touches on an intervention before chopping down the attacker.

Newcastle reclaimed the lead through its captain, as Lascelles rose high for a corner to nod off Kevin Wimmer and into the net. It was 2-1 in the 70th.

PL AT HALF: Man City running riot, Newcastle leads Stoke (video)

Owen Humphreys/PA via AP
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Manchester City’s UEFA Champions League midweek match hasn’t bothered it at all on Saturday.

[ LIVE: Stream Premier League live ]

Pep Guardiola‘s men are rolling in one of five Premier League 10 a.m. ET starts following Southampton’s 1-0 win at Crystal Palace.


Watford 0-3 Manchester City — STREAM

Kevin De Bruyne to Sergio Aguero. 1-0.

David Silva to Sergio Aguero. 2-0.

Sergio Aguero to Gabriel Jesus. 3-0.

Which side played at midweek and who’s on the road?

Liverpool 1-1 BurnleySTREAM

Chris Wood‘s tiny flick helped Scott Arfield put the Clarets in front, but Mohamed Salah leveled the score within three minutes at Anfield.

Huddersfield Town 0-0 Leicester CitySTREAM

USMNT midfielder Danny Williams looks decent in his first Premier League start, hitting a shot wide from 25 yards as Town looks to break down City.

West Bromwich Albion 0-0 West Ham UnitedSTREAM

Gareth Barry makes Premier League history at the Hawthorns.

Newcastle United 1-0 Stoke CitySTREAM

Christian Atsu‘s first Premier League goal has come from Matt Ritchie service, and USMNT back DeAndre Yedlin has looked good for the Magpies in his first start since an August leg injury.