Demba Ba, Luis Suarez and the 5 Biggest Stars of Premier League Saturday
What an afternoon of football it was, with the English Premier League once again delivering on its promise to provide fascinating and enthralling matchups.
From the come-from-behind victories of Chelsea and Manchester City—both away from home—to the unbelievable scenes at Old Trafford where Tottenham Hotspur toppled Manchester United, Week 6 of the Premier League was a week to remember, and it isn't even over yet!
Let's take a look at the five biggest stars from EPL Saturday.
All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com
Demba Ba, Newcastle United
Newcastle United might have left Madjeski Stadium with just one point after the 2-2 draw with Reading, but the star of the afternoon was once again Demba Ba, who has started this year's Premier League in the same dominant fashion that he started last year's also.
The striker netted both goals for the Magpies in only three shots, and also created two opportunities for his teammates, although they could not finish those chances.
With Chieck Tiote behind him pulling the strings, Ba proved again that he is a world-class striker and simply must face significant defensive attention if he is to be stopped.
Of course, that is likely to open up the door for Papiss Cisse to net his first goal of the year—a duo that, if they can get going at the same time, could become one of the most fearsome striker duos in the English Premier League.
Jan Vertonghen, Tottenham Hotspur
What cannot be lost in amongst all what will be said about Tottenham Hotspur's incredible victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford is the excellent performance by Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen.
The former Ajax defender and captain made a move to the North London club over the summer transfer window this year, promising defensive stability and assurances, as well as the attacking threat when needed. And he did just that on Saturday.
Playing as a left defender, Vertonghen netted the opening goal of the game after just two minutes when his shot deflected off Jonny Evans and into the United goal—raising the prospect that we could well see an upset at Old Trafford.
But as far as defensive contributions go, Vertonghen was sound also, making five successful tackles (second in team), three interceptions (second in team) as well as 14 clearances for the match.
If Spurs are going to be a genuine threat this season, then their defense will be the key. We know they have attacking talent that can pull open the best defenses in the Premier League, but without a strong defense, could be left trying to win games in an attacking shootout.
The performance of Vertonghen on Saturday helped to ensure that it wouldn't be the case this weekend.
Peter Crouch, Stoke City
How Peter Crouch was allowed to get a free header in the box off a corner at the score tied 0-0—that I will simply never know.
Of course the former Liverpool striker made the Swans pay for their poor defending and, in what is quickly becoming typical Crouch fashion, netted another goal later in the first half to double the lead of the home side heading into the interval.
It would be a lead that Swansea could not overrun in the second half, and Crouch's brace would be enough to give the Potters their first win of the 2012-13 Premier League season and further enforce that the Britannia Stadium is an incredibly difficult place to win football games.
With a pressing defense and a clear home-ground advantage, Stoke could have all the pieces to be a real sleeper team in the EPL. Having said that, they'll need attacking work and goals to capitalize on those two factors, and if Crouch can stay healthy and dominant, then they might just have the final piece they need to succeed this year.
Juan Mata, Chelsea
Despite Eden Hazard, despite Oscar—despite all of Chelsea's activity over the summer transfer window to strengthen their squad this year—their best player is once again proving to be already existent in the Blues' starting lineup.
The Spanish international dominated again against Arsenal, and has potentially even overtaken Hazard as the Blues' best player through the season so far.
Mata was instrumental in attack—netting his first goal of the season and picking up another assist—and gave the drive and creativity required throughout midfield to beat what was the toughest defense to break down in the Premier League.
The 24-year-old had more touches than any other Chelsea player, yet still averaged over 92 percent pass completion percentage, and also managed to lead the team in interceptions for the match.
Mata is the key for the European champions' chance at success this season, both domestically and internationally, and if he can continue to lead their attack like he has done so far this year, there's no reason why they can't have another very successful year in world football.
Luis Suarez, Liverpool
Yet despite all the brilliant performances on EPL Saturday, you simply cannot go past the perfect match from Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, who was the star in the Reds' maiden win of the season.
Suarez netted two goals in the opening 40 minutes before striking a third just after time to make the scoreline 4-1 and end any chance at the Canaries coming back into this one.
The Uruguayan also created three goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates—finishing with an assist also to go with his three goals and man of the match award.
And perhaps it is that, along with the fact he only turned the ball over once the entire match, that is most encouraging for Liverpool fans—their star striker bringing the rest of the team into the attack and thriving together as a unit.
We know Suarez has skill and talent, but it is his ability to bring the rest of the team alongside him and allow players like Nuri Sahin and Raheem Sterling to impact on defenses that will be the biggest help for the Merseyside club this season.
Who, for the record, are no longer in the relegation zone.
Who was the star of EPL Saturday for you?
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