The Top 10 Stars from Week 7 of the English Premier League
Another week of the English Premier League is in the books, with some of the usual suspects as well as some of the not-so-usual suspects starring for their respective clubs over the weekend.
No victory or draw was complete without tremendous performances from certain players, and we've got the top 10 players from Week 7 of the Premier League right here for you.
Read on to see who did, and didn't, make the list this week.
Wayne Rooney, Manchester United
Wayne Rooney might not have scored for Manchester United in their 3-0 victory over Newcastle United, but the England international certainly made his presence felt throughout the match—picking up two assists and terrorizing the Magpies' defense throughout the match.
With Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa featuring in the lineup, Rooney was forced to shift back to the right-winger role, but showed he was more than capable of adapting to the formation and positional change—proving once again his class and importance to this United squad.
Rooney had more shots on target than any other player in the match and was not disposed once during the match, nor did he turn the ball over at all.
He played more accurate long balls, through balls and crosses than any other United player as well, and proved to manager Sir Alex Ferguson that he can coexist in the same starting lineup as Kagawa and Van Persie—and still achieve excellent results.
Newcastle is not an easy place to travel to in the Premier League, but thanks to their opening blitz, the Red Devils walked away with a comfortable victory and a huge boost to their confidence and belief for the rest of the season ahead.
Much of that can be put down to the excellent work of Wayne Rooney.
Aleksandar Kolarov, Manchester City
With Roberto Manicini leaning more and more towards a 3-5-2 formation for the reigning Premier League champions, the pressure and expectations on City's outside backs will naturally increase also.
Thus players like Aleksandar Kolarov will definitely have to step up this season, and judging by the defender's performance against Sunderland, it seems that he has already made that step up into the upper echelon of defenders in the Premier League.
Kolarov netted a sublime free-kick early in the first half before laying on an assist later on, but his defensive contributions were perhaps most noteworthy—a goal-saving tackle on Adam Johnson worth particular mention.
He was definitely the best player on the pitch for City.
Aaron Lennon, Tottenham Hotspur
The 25-year-old Tottenham Hotspur midfielder put in an excellent performance against Aston Villa on Sunday, showing why he is a deserved entry into this list and one of Spurs' top players through the seven Premier League matches so far.
Lennon netted the second goal in Spurs' 2-0 victory to continue their run of good form, but was huge in attack and defense right throughout the match.
He led the team in goal-scoring opportunities created with five, completed his passes at 90 percent for the match and also picked up two tackles and two interceptions to help out Spurs' defense and midfield pressure against Villa.
Lennon can be inconsistent at times, but that simply cannot be said of the winger so far this season and in particular, of his performance this weekend.
Adam Lallana, Southampton
Despite playing in a side that didn't end up winning this weekend, Southampton's Adam Lallana was superb for me, right throughout the match—particularly with his defensive pressure.
The Saints employed a very successful press right across the pitch against Fulham, forcing their opponents into turning the ball over and allowing the home side to break and create attacking chances—with Lallana one of the best at doing this.
Lallana led the team in goal-scoring opportunities created, accurate crosses and accurate through balls, but also made five tackles and four interceptions to go with his attacking contributions.
He was simply everywhere for the Saints, who definitely deserved to walk away with at least a point in this match.
James Milner, Manchester City
James Milner might have netted a late goal against Sunderland to put the icing on the cake for Manchester City, but his performance was far more dominant than just one attacking shot, and his entry on to this list is based on far more than just that one, lucky goal.
Milner was the spark for City throughout midfield—opening up Sunderland with relative ease at times—and gave the Citizens their drive and go-forward when they needed it most.
He created an incredible eight goal-scoring opportunities in this match, and notched up over 100 touches of the ball—completing his passes at a strong 88 percent in the process.
Throw in three tackles and three interceptions to lead the team as well, and Milner's midfield performance ranks as perhaps the greatest of the week, and a definite star of Week 7 in the Premier League.
Santi Cazorla, Arsenal
It seems almost obvious that Arsenal's Santi Cazorla will somehow make his way on to any list about the best players of the Premier League, but once again, the Spanish international earned his spot in the top 10 players through his strong attacking contributions against West Ham on Saturday.
The midfield maestro brought the Gunners' midfield into the match and allowed the North London club to gain the ascendancy throughout the middle over their opponents—though the balance between he and Mikel Arteta is perhaps still a few weeks away from truly coming together.
Cazorla's strike to seal the victory for Arsenal was phenomenal; as was his 114 touches for no turnovers or times dispossessed—not that we would expect anything less from the Spanish superstar.
He was again terrorizing defenses, again getting the Gunners attack flowing throughout midfield and again creating goal-scoring chances for his teammates. For that, he simply must be mentioned as one of the top players from the EPL this week.
Juan Mata, Chelsea
The same can almost be said again here for Juan Mata—Chelsea's answer to Santi Cazorla, if you like—who played perhaps his greatest match of the season against Norwich City.
The Spanish winger was only credited with two assists from the Blues' four goals; "only" being the key word there, considering that Mata was in everything that the European Champions generated going forward down either side of the pitch.
He made over 100 touches of the football at a 92 percent completion rate to lead all players—creating several goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates on either crosses, long-balls or through-balls, all of which he featured prominently in.
But Mata's performance was more than just numbers on a sheet, for they simply do not tell the full story of just how dominant the Spanish international was here and how dominant he can be for the Blues this season in the English Premier League.
He has seemingly endless time on the ball and a myriad of attacking options around him—all of which can yield great success for the Blues. And yet, in all of that, he knows which option to choose in order to bring about the best result, and it should therefore come as little surprise that Chelsea sit undefeated on top of the table so far this year.
Eden Hazard, Chelsea
It might seem strange to laud the praises of Juan Mata as the heart and soul of Chelsea's midfield and then state that Eden Hazard was one of the stars this week, but considering that the Belgian international hasn't been particularly strong in the past few weeks, he definitely deserves a mention here.
In fact, whilst Mata might have done a lot of the creating, it was Hazard who was taking it to the next level—either scoring the goal or laying on that final pass for a teammate to score, as reflected in his numbers at the end of the match.
Hazard also had 100 touches at a 92 percent completion percentage, but had more shots, more shots on target and created more goal-scoring opportunities than Mata, and actually finished with a higher average match rating than the Spanish star.
Hazard was sublime through the opening two weeks of the Premier League, but had gone a little bit quiet of late as the likes of Mata and Oscar flexed their muscle and midfield skill; but perhaps Hazard just showed that he's still a force to be reckoned with this season and definitely one of the players to watch in the Premier League this year.
Steven Pienaar, Everton
Out of all of Everton's attacking depth and talent, Steven Pienaar was the best on the ground against Wigan Athletic—ahead of Nikica Jelavic, ahead of Kevin Mirallas and ahead of Marouane Fellaini.
Why? Simply put, Pienaar was the player who brought all of their attacking talent together and funneled it into successful midfield moves and forward progress.
The South African created six goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates—one of which was the opening goal for the Toffees—and managed to lead the team in shots on target also, with a deflected shot in particular a close call for Wigan Athletic in the second half.
The Merseyside club are a very strong team this year and could well have secured all three points in this match had some key refereeing decisions gone their way, but even still, their attacking class was on display for all to see—as it has been nearly every week so far this season.
And whilst we might be quick to laud the praises of Fellaini or Leighton Baines when they finish the moveor hit that magical pass, let us also be quick to praise the players who hold it all together and continue to throw the Toffees forward into attack.
Players like Pienaar, who played superbly against the counter-attack of Wigan defensively and brought the Toffees into the match in attack.
Olivier Giroud, Arsenal
And wrapping up our list this week is Arsenal's Olivier Giroud who played easily his best game in the Premier League so far—picking up his maiden EPL goal and finally showing the attacking prowess that had many Gunners fans excited about his arrival at the start of the season.
Giroud was back to his attacking best in this one—hitting a team-high four shots on target and winning more aerial duels than any other Arsenal attacker in the match.
Defenders don't quite know what to do with the French international in the box just yet, who can score off either foot and who also brings a great aerial presence to the Gunners attack.
Against West Ham, the same proved to be true again, with Giroud firing Arsenal to another Premier League victory and perhaps, opening up the floodgates of his goal scoring at the North London club.
Either way, it was good to see the 26-year-old not looking frustrated with himself or his performance and if his confidence remains high, Giroud could well show the Premier League why he was so sought after in the summer transfer window in the first place.
Agree? Disagree? Who would make your top 10 from the EPL Week 7?
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All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com