The Premier League is BAAAAACK and with it comes dreams of glory and butterflies filled with nervous energy. Matchday 1 is the perfect thirst trap for our football appetite and our human instinct to jump to conclusions 90 minutes into the season. It can go horribly wrong (sorry, Brighton) or picture perfect (sup, Crystal Palace?).
While I’m not jumping into any brash conclusions in this weekly blog, I do want to highlight the Outside the Six Team of the Week. I’ll highlight some stats from each of the 11 players on the team sheet and pick out the three stars of the week. No. 1, obviously, being the most impressive.
This blog is a hobby of mine and sometimes I don’t get the time I need to watch every game, so from here on out, I’ll use WhoScored.com as an assistant as I break down who deserves to be on the list. Let the inaugural team sheet begin! But first, stars!
3. Richarlison, Left Winger — Everton
Marco Silva came to Everton and bought a player with a price tag so high that a magical target appeared on that player’s back. Maybe it was the PTSD from last season for Everton fans that emerged after spending so much in the transfer window and then finding themselves in the regulation zone after a few weeks into the season. Or maybe it’s generations of self-loathing and doubt. But it’s fair to say people were skeptical with the arrival of Richarlison.
But the $50 million man proved he’s on a path to live up to the price tag by bagging two goals in Everton’s opening match against Wolverhampton.
Richarlison found himself in the middle of a set-piece-induced-goalmouth-scramble and snuck Everton’s opening goal by keeper Rui Patrício. It was just the appetizer.
Richarlison’s encore came after Phil Jagielka was kicked out and Wolverhampton leveled the score before halftime. In the 66th-minute, Richarlison played a beautiful give-and-go with striker Cenk Tosun that found him in the box one-vs-one with a defender. Richarlison fired low and to the right and curled the ball inside the far post. 2-1 Everton.
2. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Right Back — Crystal Palace
Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s rise to the starting lineup at Palace was by happenstance. The injury crisis that struck the Eagles last season made its way to the right back position with starter Joel Ward and backup Timothy Fosu-Mensah both going down. That left Wan-Bissaka, a 20-year-old former right winger, as the only option. He played seven games and blossomed as the best option for Palace going into the 2018-19 season.
Wan-Bissaka passed his first test against Fulham with flying colors. He was tasked with shutting down rising English star Ryan Sessegnon. Wan-Bissaka came out on top, not only outplaying the Fulham winger defensively but showing more skill in the offensive half.
Wan-Bissaka made a tackle and received the ball as the second half ticked away. He made a 50-yard run down the center of the pitch before unleashing a perfect through ball for Wilfried Zaha for Palace’s second goal. It was Wan-Bissaka’s first senior team assist and kept the momentum moving forward for the rising Selhurst star.
1. Roberto Pereyra, Midfielder — Watford
Roberto Pereyra began his third year in the Premier League with a bang. In the 35th minute, Possum Pereyra hung around 10 yards outside the box during a Watford corner. Abdoulaye Doucouré played the ball short to José Holebas and Pereyra crept toward the box, unmarked. Holebas spotted the wide-open run a whipped in a perfected cross. Boom. Pereyra struck the ball with a perfect volley and put it top shelf. 1-0, Watford, bookmark it as a nominee for the Goal of the Season.
Nine minutes into the second half, the Holebas-Pereyra connection struck again as Holebas rolled the ball to Pereyra in the box and the Argentinian slotted it home. Watford could be out to a fast start again this season.
Matchday 1 Team of the Week
Callum Wilson — Bournemouth
- One goal on six shots
- One assist, 24 total passes and 67 pass percentage
- Four successful dribbles, three dispossessions and drew one foul
Richarlison — Everton
- Two goals on two shots
- Five aerial wins, three tackles
- Drew three fouls and two dispossessions
- 31 total passes and 77.4 pass percentage
Joselu — Newcastle
- One goal on two shots
- Seven aerial wins
- 24 total passes and two key passes
Roberto Pereyra — Watford
- Two goals on four shots
- Three successful dribbles, three dispossessions and drew three fouls
- One key pass, 35 total passes and 82.9 pass percentage
Rúben Neves — Wolverhampton
- One goal on three shots
- One assist, 91 total passes and 83.5 pass percentage
Ryan Fraser — Bournemouth
- One goal on two shots
- Three key passes, 47 total shots and 78.7 pass percentage
José Holebas — Watford
- Two assists
- Five key passes and crosses, 31 total passes, 87 pass percentage
Aaron Wan-Bissaka — Crystal Palace
- One assist, 28 total passes and 68 pass percentage
- Four tackles, four interceptions and six clearances
James Tarkowski — Burnley
- 10 aerial wins
- 15 clearances, two tackles and four blocks
Patrick van Aanholt — Crystal Palace
- One assist, two key passes in 37 total passes and 81 pass percentage
- Four clearances and one interception
Wayne Hennessey — Crystal Palace
- Six saves
- Clean Sheet