21/08/2014 10:08 BST | Updated 20/10/2014 06:59 BST

Player Focus: Newcomers Impress on the Premier League's Opening Weekend


England's top tier is regarded by many as the best in world football, so the chance for any player to ply their trade in the Premier League is often too hard to turn down. A number of performers were handed their league debuts this weekend, and while adjusting to the rigours of English football is often easier said than done, there were plenty that impressed in the opening round of matches.

With that in mind, and using our unique rating system, analyses the highest-rated newcomers from their first game of the season.

Patrick van Aanholt - Sunderland (8.50)

Patrick van Aanholt made five top-flight appearances during his time with Chelsea and Wigan, but it was difficult to judge the Dutchman given that, as a youngster, he was not first choice with either team. After Marcos Alonso's successful six-month loan spell with Sunderland, manager Gus Poyet clearly wanted to bring in a left-back who could provide a similar offensive threat from defence

In the 23-year-old, the Uruguayan appears to have done just that. 43% of Sunderland's attacks in the 2-2 draw with West Brom on Saturday came down the left and Van Aanholt was evidently key to Poyet's gameplan. Pressing for an equaliser late on, the Dutchman was high enough up the pitch to cut back for Sebastian Larsson to tap home from close range. An offensive outlet throughout his Sunderland debut, Van Aanholt impressed on the left flank - making more interceptions than any other player on the opening weekend (8) - and Poyet will be hoping the defender can use his display as a springboard for success on Wearside.

Eric Dier - Tottenham (7.98)

Tottenham were largely on the backfoot following Kyle Naughton's early red against West Ham, but stood firm to come away from Upton Park with all three points and the north London side had debutant Eric Dier to thank for that. Making his competitive debut for Spurs, the 20-year-old started at centre-back, but was moved to right-back after his compatriot's dismissal.

Dier made the dream start to life back in England, netting the winner late on to land the WhoScored man of the match award. The young defender was a solid performer at the back, making one tackle, one interception and four clearances, and adhered to the demands of manager Mauricio Pochettino and his possession-based game, completing 88.6% of his 44 attempted passes. Presumably signed as backup to Jan Vertonghen and Younes Kaboul, Dier was given a baptism of fire to kickstart his career in England, but proved he can stand the heat of the Premier League.


Alexis Sánchez - Arsenal (7.80)

Crossing the north London divide, Alexis Sánchez was one of the marquee summer signings in England. Arsenal beat off competition to secure the signature of the Chilean from Barcelona and big things are expected of the 25-year-old at the Emirates this season. Sánchez provided the assist for Laurent Koscielny's header on the stroke of half time and was a constant menace throughout his debut.

Only Joey Barton (6) played more key passes than Sánchez (5) on the opening weekend of the season, while Crystal Palace clearly realised his influence on the wing with the attacker drawing three fouls. The former Barcelona ace brought some much-needed tenacity to the Arsenal attack, making three tackles, while only Craig Gardner (3) won possession more times in the attacking third than Sánchez (2) in the first round of fixtures. His Premier League debut may have been overshadowed by Aaron Ramsey's late goal, but Sánchez showed enough glimpses of quality to suggest he will be a great acquisition for the Gunners.

Andrew Robertson - Hull City (7.75)

The young defender joined from Dundee United this summer in a bid to solidify an, at times, leaky Hull defence. Deployed at left wing-back, Andrew Robertson impressed in the Tigers' 1-0 away win at QPR on Saturday, earning a WhoScored rating of 7.75. Hull's away form last season was one of the worst in the league - only Cardiff (10) and Norwich (9) took fewer points on the road than Hull (12) last term - and victory at Loftus Road was the perfect start for Steve Bruce's side this campaign.

Robertson played a crucial role in this, making more tackles (4) than any Hull player and was frequently tested by QPR, with 37% of the Hoops' attacks coming down their right side. The 20-year-old was the only player to make a clearance off the line this weekend to ensure Hull came away from west London with the win, helped in part by Allan McGregor's late penalty save to deny Charlie Austin.

Javier Manquillo - Liverpool (7.70)


Liverpool began life post Luis Suarez in routine fashion, securing a 2-1 win over a much-changed Southampton side. Javier Manquillo made his league debut in the victory and was given a stern examination by the south coast outfit from the off. 46% of Saints' attacks came down their left side, presumably to get summer signing and creator-in-chief Dušan Tadić on the ball as much as possible.

Nevertheless, Manquillo was evidently unfazed by the pressure from the outset, turning out a commendable display on Sunday. The young Spaniard made more tackles (6) and interceptions (4) than any Liverpool player and was able to limit Tadić's impact, the Serbian's only real contribution - the assist for Nathaniel Clyne's goal - coming when he switched to the opposite flank.

Which Premier League newcomers were you impressed with from the first first round of fixtures? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below

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