Bryan Gunn picks the best XI from an entertaining first weekend of the new Premier League.
GK: Maarten Stekelenburg (Everton)
The Dutchman was one of two Everton players making their debuts on Saturday, and he immediately impressed the Goodison Park faithful with several impressive saves.
The summer signing from Fulham, who seems to follow new Everton gaffer Ronald Koeman wherever he goes, capped a memorable start to life on Merseyside with an acrobatic effort to deny Érik Lamela’s deflected cross in the closing minutes.
RB: Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool)
He may not have been Roy Hodgson’s cup of tea this summer, but Nathaniel Clyne remains an important part of Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool revolution.
In a frantic game full of goals, it was clear that Clyne would make his mark in the Arsenal half. He did just that in the 56th minute with a superb forward run and precise low cross to pick out Philippe Coutinho, who turned the ball home.
CB: Jake Livermore (Hull)
In a Hull team struggling to field a full side, Jake Livermore was drafted in as a makeshift centre-half. National hero Jamie Vardy was ready to resume his famous party, but an inspired performance from the former Spurs midfielder meant there was no new material for the producers of the eagerly anticipated Vardy movie.
A superb goal line clearance from a Vardy shot was the highlight of a remarkable performance from Livermore in an unfamiliar position.
With ball playing centre-halves being all the rage, the question now is…can money buy you Livermore?
CB: Curtis Davies (Hull)
Unlike Livermore, he’s a Hull centre-back playing in his natural position – nothing remarkable here. Wrong. Curtis Davies had arguably the toughest task of any defender this weekend, and he more than delivered.
He took charge of a well-oiled but inexperienced Hull defence, and denied a frightening Leicester attacking line.
Seemingly bored with his defensive duties, Davies also provided a threat from set-pieces in the Leicester box throughout.
LB: Luke Shaw (Manchester United)
After a year in the treatment room, many would have allowed Luke Shaw time to settle back into the Manchester United side – but the young Englishman has other ideas. A solid performance in a rejuvenated United side will give the youngster a bit of a boost for the season ahead.
A Bournemouth attack full of pace is a tough ask for any defender, but Shaw handled himself exceptionally well.
Manager José Mourinho’s preferred system is a change for Shaw; but he looked composed in defence, and his abilities going forward are not to be overlooked.
RM: Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
Disappointing for England in the summer, seemingly replaced in the City team by the likes of Nolito and Leroy Sané since, you would forgive the nation for asking: what next for Raheem Sterling? The answer arrived at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.
Playing in a bizarre formation from Pep Guardiola in his first competitive game in charge, Sterling looked comfortable and composed, notably winning an early penalty that Sergio Agüero converted.
Perhaps Pep is just what Raheem needs.
CM: Ross Barkley (Everton)
After failing to make an impact with England during the Euros, Ross Barkley has a point to prove this season.
With only five minutes gone in the season opener, the Evertonian did just that. A goal from a cross that evaded everyone, including Hugo Lloris, will give Barkley plenty of confidence going forward.
CM: Robert Snodgrass (Hull)
Perhaps the most impressive performer in the biggest shock of the opening day of the season, Robert Snodgrass was a part of everything that was good about Hull City.
He capped off a superb performance with the winning goal – a drilled shot into the bottom corner of Kasper Schmeichel’s net. Hull will need Snodgrass to continue this impressive form if they are to avoid the drop this season.
CM: Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)
The star man in a game full of extraordinary moments. The diminutive Brazilian produced the goal of the opening weekend; a stunning free-kick to level the game just before half-time.
He did not stop there, as a brilliant flick from a Nathaniel Clyne cross gave him a second goal of the game. Unfortunately, an injury scare saw him replaced in the 70th minute, and Liverpool fans will be hoping that the change was only a precaution.
If Coutinho’s form continues, Liverpool will be dangerous opposition this season.
LM: Sadio Mané (Liverpool)
The latest man to arrive at Anfield via St. Mary’s had a debut moment to savour. Quiet in the first half, the Senegalese produced a moment of magic in the 63rd minute, outrunning Calum Chambers before cutting inside to find the top corner with a left-footed shot.
Liverpool fans will be hoping that this is just the start. What else can Mané give us this season?
ST: Zlatan Ibrahimović (Manchester United)Embed from Getty Images
The excitement from football fans across the land was warranted. Zlatan has arrived in the Premier League with an almighty bang.
Cute flicks round the corner, commanding aerial play, and a spectacular strike made this the ultimate debut for the Swede, as he led the line in a comfortable Manchester United performance.
Let’s be honest, though – did anyone expect anything else?
Written by Jack Everitt
Follow Jack at @jackE93